Long-term sustainability of the Blue Agave species: This is somewhat of a 'hot topic' at the moment for those in the tequila community. Because the blue agave used for tequila production is essentially a monoculture (each plant is almost completely genetically identical), each plant is resilient to all the same things, but also potentially susceptible to all the same diseases/pests/etc.
The goal with the Bat Friendly Program is to try to reintroduce genetic diversity into the blue agave by letting the quiote grow and flower. As the flowers open during the night time, the idea is that bats (being nocturnal) will help cross-pollinate the plants, and thus help naturally reintroduce genetic diversity in the Blue Agave species. This project may take 50 years or more to see results and also means a great deal of lost profits due to the fact that when agaves’ quiotes are allowed to grow, these agaves can not be used for tequila production.
The long-term sustainability of the blue agave as a species is a significant potential issue to those in the tequila community. Carlos is one of two tequila producers committed to reintroducing genetic diversity in the species, in order to help hedge against the potential risk of the entire species being put at risk by one single disease.
A bit more on this program:
The "Bat Friendly" agave program was created with the aim of sustaining and enhancing the population and migratory patterns of our agave pollinating friends. Bats feed on the agave's quiote, or flower, and pollinate over 180 species of agave and several other plants throughout Mexico. Tequila producers typically prevent the agave from going to flower, as once the quiote grows, the plant is no longer of use for Tequila production.
Bat Friendly Tequila Producers have agreed to let at least 5% of their agave's flower, allowing the bats to feed on the quiote and do their magic. La Alteña, where Ocho is produced, is one of the first two distilleries to participate in the Bat Friendly Program, and hope to be a catalyst for more producers to take notice and help to sustain Mexico's agave crop for generations to come.
In short, this all comes down to respect for the agave, reverence for the land, and an initiative to protect the future of tequila.
Do you want to support this program?