buy Don Pilar

Crafting Don Pilar

Don Pilar and his distillers create a tequila of exceptional quality.
What defines a good tequila? In some aficionado circles, there is a tendency to dismiss tequilas produced using so-called ‘modern’ methods and assume that any product made with ‘traditional’ methods is by definition a better tequila. Don Pilar’s tequila is produced with the aid of modern machinery like the autoclave, mill grinders and stainless-steel stills. That machinery can be used to quickly churn out lots of tequila, or one can use it with care and produce something sublime. Because he is a co-owner of the distillery, Don Pilar is able to use the distillery to his specifications. And when it’s time to make the tequila, take the time to do it right. Regardless of how it’s made, a spirit should be judged by what it offers the nose and palate. Our tequila has been made with much care and expertise. We think your palate will agree.

Agave Azul

Agave tequilana weber, variedad azul
In Mexico, there are over a hundred species of agave plants. Tequila can only be made from the Blue Agave variety.  Agaves are a succulent plant species of the Lily family. The plant has spiky, fleshy leaves and a heart or “piña” from which tequila is made. The agave, like all succulents thrives in warm temperatures, rich red clay soil and high altitudes. In optimal conditions, like in the Jaliscan highlands, the agave can grow to be as large as 200 pounds and mature in 6 to 8 years.

Estate-Grown Agave

The Highland Ranches of Don PIlar
Don Pilar is an estate-grown tequila. The agave is harvested from Don Pilar’s five ranches located around his hometown—San José de Gracia, Jalisco. Some of this land has been in the Contreras family for over a century. His ranches—Santa Rosa, La Cebolleta, La Capellanilla, La Hiedra, Baranquillas—at any given time contain over 300,000 agave plants on over 1,000 acres of land. The agave varies in age from newly planted to eight-year-old mature plants.


Harvesting the Agave
The agave is ready for harvesting after it reaches six-to-eight years of maturity. Hand-picked for readiness, Don Pilar's team of jimadores use traditional tools and techniques to extract the agave from the ground and prepare la piña—or heart of the agave—for production.

our distillery

name: LA TRASQUILA—grupo industrial tequilero de los altos de jalisco

location: san ignacio cerro gordo, jalisco

nom: 1443
Don Pilar is a ‘socio’ or partner of La Trasquila, a co-op distillery. It has been operating since 2001. Although, other brands are produced at La Trasquila, it’s important to point out that Tequila Don Pilar is not the ‘house juice’. We make Don PIlar to our own specifications, with our own distillers. Don Pilar has complete control of the facility during the times of the year when he is actively making his tequila.

kosher tequila

a sanitary production process
Once the freshly-cut agave arrives at the distillery, workmen thoroughly cleanse the plants. They steam-clean the agave hearts, and remove the cogollo or bitter sprout before cooking. These extra steps in cleanliness have been awarded with kosher certification. Rabbi Abraham Srugo annually reviews and grants Kosher Parve Mehadrin status for Tequila Don Pilar and allows the use of a kashrut seal.


Cooking the Agave
Don Pilar uses autoclaves—large pressure cookers—to cook his agave. This process requires slow-cooking the agave for 24 hours and another 24 hours of cool down to ensure an even, consistent roasting.

The amount of time used is important. Agave can be cooked in as little as 45 minutes if you’re in the rush to make tequila, but then again, rushing never results in quality.

Maestro tequileros

the distillers of don pilar
Leopoldo Solis Tinoco (center), Gabriel Espindola (right) and Alejandro Campos (left) are respected distillers in the tequila industry. They are both chemical engineers and artisanal masters. Having worked in the tequila industry for over 30 years, they have created numerous tequilas and introduced technical and artisanal improvements to the tequila-making process.


shredding & extracting
Once cooked, the agave is run through an extensive shredding process which separates the aguamiel or agave juice from the agave fibers. Once the agave juice is extracted, it is sent to fermentation while the unused fibers are discarded in an on-site composting plant.


the mozart method of fermentation
Fermentation is the magical process where sugars are converted to alcohol. Our distillery has fifteen fermentation tanks with a capacity of 20,000 liters each. The aguamiel or agave juice, is collected here, along with water and yeast and is allowed to ferment for over 200 hours. Don Pilar is fermented with champagne yeast which efficiently converts sugar without altering the flavor of the agave.

Our distllers insist on serenading the must with Baroque music (preferably Mozart) during the fermentation process to coax the conversion from sugar-to-alcohol. This technique is based on the research of Dr. Masaru Emoto, who has studied the effect of audio stimuli on fungal organisms. This practice may sound a bit wacky, but you can actually see the yeast effervescing and swaying to the music.


Tequila Don Pilar is double-distilled in stainless steel pot stills. Once the fermented mosto is converted to alcohol, it must be distilled and purified. The fermented juices are passed into stills, heated to a high enough temperature that evaporates the alcohol and separates it from impurities. Many distilleries use the heads and tails of the distillate to yield more tequila, but Don Pilar prefers to discard these and only use the heart of the distillate. This process is repeated once again to refine the alcohol. The result is a clear, 110-proof tequila.

Ask Gabriel, our master distiller, about tequilas that are three, four, even five times distilled, and he’ll smirk and comment that the only reason you would need to distill more than twice would be to make up for the mistake you made with the initial distillation.


New American Oak Barrel-Aging
Aging tequila is a masterful skill, one that’s more art than science. Our tequila is aged in new American White Oak barrels. The barrels are sourced from the McGinnis cooperage in Missouri with a medium toast. That amount of toast encourages a sweet, oak butterscotch profile.

Many tequila distillers use previously-used whiskey or bourbon barrels. Don Pilar only uses new barrels, so as not to introduce any other flavors that would interfere with the agave. The wood imparts a smoothness to the tequila, as well as infusing the tequila with wood oils.
© 2020 Agaves & Tequilas Don Pilar Inc., Belmont, CA, 40% Alc/Vol