Like many liquor brands Patrón started with its tequila made by third-party distillers, but the company built its impressive distillery, Hacienda Patrón where since 2006 it has made its own tequila. This move not only enabled the company to be in full control of the quality of its tequila, but it also marked a turning point in philosophy with Patrón believing that the company’s growth, environmental and social responsibility should all develop hand in hand.
Hacienda Patrón lies on the edge of a small Mexican town, Atotonilco El Alto, where it is by far the largest employer. As the distillery has grown so it has become increasingly integrated the local community with the company contributing to the building of schools and other local facilities. Patrón employs 1,200 workers in Mexico.
The company’s continuing effort to diminish its production footprint starts with how the Weber blue agave plants, the raw material for making Patrón, are cultivated and harvested. Great care is taken of the plants during their infancy to help ensure they are free of chemicals and fertilizers at the time of harvest. Patrón partner with agave growers, mostly family farms, to leverage regional knowledge passed down through the generations with the company’s agronomists supporting these farmers from planting through to harvest.
Tequila production inevitably produces waste so it is after harvest, during the production process that Patron’s commitment to the environment is most evident, going far beyond that required by legislation. Thousands of gallons of potentially harmful stillage are produced during distillation and Patrón process this by-product to ensure it is not harmful but actually benefits the community. Reverse osmosis technology is used to treat the stillage with 70% recycled into clean water used to cool the condensers during distillation and to water the agave fields. The remaining 30% is combined with used bagasse (agave fibre) to create a rich organic compost which is given to neighbouring famers to fertilise their agave fields.
Patrón’s commitment to environmental issues extends to its packaging which is made using recycled materials.