Making the best tequila takes skill, patience, and luck. Patrón's seven-step process can take three years.
In the Jalisco Highlands, agave plants are hand-harvested on farms that meet the Mexican Tequila Regulatory Council's strict standards (TRC).
The agave (a plump, cactus-like plant) must be harvested at the right time to be sweet without being tart, bitter, or bland.
Too early or too late agave harvesting affects tequila quality. When agave is six to eight years old, it has the most sugar.
After being harvested, agave is slowly cooked in a distillery. Pias, or agave hearts, are steamed in brick ovens to extract the plant's natural sugars (see Patrón's distillery below).
Patrón crushes the agave twice after 79 hours of baking. A large volcanic rock wheel crushes roasted agave to extract juice for the Roca lineup. Roller mills shred and crush agave for core expressions.
Juice ferments for 3 days. The hearts are then distilled in copper pot stills, leaving only the purest and most flavorful heads and tails. The silver expression is bottled as is, while the aged expressions are aged in French oak, Hungarian oak, and ex-bourbon barrels.
The reposado spends two months, the best anejo a year, and the extra anejo three. The tequila is then bottled, sealed, and shipped. Every batch of Patrón is distilled by hand.