Don Felipe Camarena was born into a family that had distilled tequila since back in the early 1800s. The family’s original distillery was destroyed and abandoned during the Mexican Revolution. Don Felipe began his career by growing and selling agave plants to other distillers. But since tequila making was in his blood, he started distilling his own tequila, selecting only the ripest plants and using equipment from his family’s original distillery.
In 1937, Don Felipe opened La Alteña Distillery in the mountainous region of Jalisco, Mexico, known for producing the best blue agave. His passion for doing things just right inspired his family to continue handcrafting Tapatio so it could be enjoyed by future generations.
Don Felipe passed the business to his son, Felipe J. Camarena Orozco, who in turn passed it on to his daughters, Lilianna and Gabriela, and to his son, Carlos, who today, as Master Distiller, maintains the standards of excellence set down by his grandfather, Don Felipe.
La Alteña Distillery reached a proud milestone on July 7, 2007 — 70 years of handcrafting one of the world's finest tequilas.
‘Tapatio’ is a Mexican word referring to a man from Jalisco, the tequila-producing state of Mexico. Women from the region are known as ‘Tapatias’. At the La Alteña distillery, the methods of production are the same as they were a century ago, with a large stone wheel (known as a Tahona) turned in a pit to crush the cooked agave plants. The juice and agave fibres are then mixed in a barrel by foot before fermentation and distillation.
The spirit from La Alteña is the only 100% blue agave tequila double distilled at 80 proof and bottled without any additional water to preserve the tequila's real flavour. Other tequila makers distil to a high proof and then dilute the tequila with water to bring it down to 80 proof.
Over the past four years the tequilas from La Alteña distillery (including the Tapatio, Ocho and El Tesoro brands) have become a phenomenon in the UK on-trade and they now enjoy an unrivalled reputation for quality, integrity and authenticity amongst bartenders and tequila connoisseurs.