Tequila From Jalisco — The Lowlands and the Highlands: A Brief Overview

Tequila is soaring in popularity. But have you found your perfect tequila? People once asked the same questions about beer and other spirits. That gave rise to craft breweries and craft distilleries. Aceves Spirits can help you create your own private tequila label customized to fit the tastes of your customers.

We have been cultivating the finest blue agave plants in the highlands (Los Altos) of Jalisco for three generations. Aceves Spirits is a branch of Casa Aceves. We provide complete farm to bottle service. We use our years of experience to help you build your brand.

It’s important to understand what we are not. First, we do not sell tequila in bulk. We are not a distillery. And, we don’t blend our tequilas with cheaper ingredients. We provide bespoke authentic Mexican tequila for you.

Introduction to Tequila

How Is Tequila From the Highlands of Jalisco Different?

Among tequila aficionados, there has been a long debate about which is better — lowland tequila from El Valle (the valley) or highland tequila from Los Altos. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Though studies show a slight preference for highland tequila, it really depends on individual tastes.

Lowland tequilas have a more earthy, peppery, and herbal taste. Highland tequilas have a sweeter taste that’s sometimes described as fruity or floral. There are several reasons these tequilas have a unique taste. Two of the most important reasons are that the soil and climate of very different in the two regions.

The lowlands or valley aren’t very low since they’re at an elevation of about 3,500 feet above sea level. The highlands are at an elevation around 6,000 to 7,200 feet above sea level. Both regions are in the state of Jalisco. The lowlands are north and west of Guadalajara, while the highlands are to the east and northeast of Guadalajara.

Differences in Soil

The lowlands are near the Tequila Volcano. While this 9,646-foot volcano has been dormant for hundreds of thousands of years, its lava is the reason for the very rich soil in that region. The soil in the highlands is very different. The highlands of Jalisco has iron-rich red clay soil. These differences in the soil are one reason for the difference in taste.

Differences in Climate

The climates are very different in the two regions, even though the difference in elevation is only 2,500 feet. The highlands had substantial snow storms in 1997 and 2016.

The lowlands have an average year-round temperature of 71-78 degrees. The lowlands get about 37 inches of rain per year. The plants grow into the 66-100 pound range there.

The highlands have an average year-round temperature about 10 degrees cooler than the lowlands. In the winter, the temperatures often drop into the 30s. The highlands of Jalisco get less rain than the lowlands. Less rain means the blue agave roots grow deeper and the plants take about a year longer to mature. These plants grow much larger than those in the valley, reaching up to 154 pounds each.

Other Factors Can Affect Taste

There are many factors that can affect the taste of tequila. For example, how close farmers plant the blue agave matters. Are pesticides or herbicides used? It isn’t just the farming. The production processes matter too.

At least one study shows that drinkers prefer tequila that has been stone-ground over modern industrial processes to crush the agave plants. Aging of the tequila affects the taste too.

The Consejo Regulador Del Tequila (CRT), an organization of tequila professionals, requires that the aging process take place in oak barrels. But have the other spirits been stored in the barrels? For example, some distilleries use barrels previously used for whisky or red wine aging. Does that matter?

Considering all these confusing variables, there is a best way to determine if you prefer highland or lowland tequila. Since blanco tequila isn’t aged, choose a blanco version from each region. By choosing the non-aged versions, the difference in the tastes is more pronounced. A better idea might be to try a few different blanco versions from each region. Testing is the only way to know your preference.

Create Your Own Premium Tequila From Jalisco Mexico

Who makes tequila? You could learn how to make your own tequila, but Mexican law says it is not authentic unless produced in the state of Jalisco or in some cities in four other Mexican states. You would also have to deal with tequila suppliers if you make your own tequila. Supply chain issues can be tough these days.

So you have an idea what you would like in a tequila. Should you go to a distiller in Jalisco and ask them to create a tequila designed for your specifications? There are several problems with this approach. One problem you’ll have is their minimum order quantities requiring a large investment. A better idea is to use an integrated beverage developer like Aceves Spirits. We choose our clients based on the potential for their product, not the size of the order. A distillery house will help you with taste design and bottle filling. We do much more, including:

· Product assessment

· Legal help

· Tequila design

· Supply chain issues

· Bottle filling

· Logistics assistance

· We provide finished product guarantees

We show you how to produce tequila. We take the heavy-lifting from you so you can focus on providing your customers with the best tequila.


The blue agave plants grown in the highlands of Jalisco produce a rounder and more fruity tasting tequila than in the lowlands. It’s not a question of the quality being better. It’s simply a matter of personal taste. Studies show a slight preference for tequila produced in the highlands.

Aceves Spirits is an integrated beverage developer based in the highlands of Jalisco. We have been doing this for three generations. We invite you to take advantage of our expertise to create your private label and your private brand. Submit your project today to Aceves Spirits. We would enjoy the privilege of working with you.

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