Tequila: Laws & Regulations

03. The CRT is Established

Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) Building on a sunny day

CONSEJO REGULADOR DEL TEQUILA (CRT) — A governing body formed to regulate and protect tequila production as it emerged as a national icon.

The CRT is Established

In 1994, the regulation of tequila was transferred from Mexico’s Commerce Department to a newly formed non-governmental body called the CRT (El Consejo Regulador del Tequila, or the Tequila Regulatory Council.) This council became responsible for establishing, verifying and certifying compliance with the normas that are created by the Mexican government to regulate the tequila industry; officially called Norma Oficial Mexicana,” or NOM for short.

The CRT works to guarantee the authenticity of tequila wherever it is sold in the world, and their purview includes tequila producers, agave growers, bottlers, marketers, and the Mexican government. The new standard set in 1994 was similar to ones previously dictated, requiring a minimum of 51% agave sugar and introducing definitions and minimum aging requirements for blanco, reposado and añejo tequila categories. Some of the other regulations included:

  • Every agave plant must be registered with the CRT at time of planting and at harvest
  • Distilleries must test and record chemical analysis of the product at various stages
  • Each barrel of aging tequila must be sealed by a CRT official (and can only be removed the same way).
Logo: CNIT Cámara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera

CÁMARA NACIONAL DE LA INDUSTRIA TEQUILERA (CNIT) functions as the tequila industry’s Chamber of Commerce.

Restrictions on other production methods were not established at this time, so choices like how to crush, cook and distill tequila was left to each company’s discretion. The council’s new role as industry watchdog set the stage for a new era of professionalism and sophistication in the manufacture of tequila. The CRT was formed at the urging of an earlier organization, the CNIT — Cámara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera — which functions as the tequila industry’s Chamber of Commerce.