Tequila: Laws & Regulations

04. Modern Growth


Nom Identifiers

Created to ensure that a tequila is an authentic product made in Mexico, the Norma Official Mexicana del Tequila identification number is a way to trace all tequilas to the distiller responsible for their production. Known as NOM numbers, these four-digit codes preceded by the letters NOM are assigned by the CRT and appear on all tequila bottles — both 100% de agave and tequila.

Registered in the system today are about 2,270 brands, responsible for 4,313 different expressions of tequila. Many distilleries produce more than one brand. Hacienda Patrón is signified by the NOM 1492 — we only make Patrón tequilas at our distillery, and Patrón tequilas are made at no other distillery.

Check out our interactive tool updated daily to find out which NOMs make which tequilas at: knowyournom.com

Patrón Silver bottle with the NOM part of the label highlighted

NOM — numbers are assigned by the CRT and appear on all tequila bottles — both 100% de agave and tequila.

Modern Growth

Thanks to the more rigorous quality standards imposed and enforced by the CRT, coupled with strategic government partnerships that regulated the sale of adulterated tequilas, the category’s reputation started to improve again in the mid-90’s and early 2000’s. Annual production tripled between 1995 and 2008 and the market for high-end tequilas grew larger than demand for mixto tequilas (at least since the CRT started tracking that information). And while in 1995 there were only a handful of 100% de agave tequilas exported to the United States, by 2018 100% de agave tequilas composed 55% of total production of tequila.

In 2012, NOM-006-SCFI-2012 was published, updating regulations. This NOM states that blanco tequila may not have additives; extra añejo tequila is allowed to have an age statement on the label; bulk tequila can only be made by authorized producers, and distribution of bulk tequila through vending machines is prohibited; and finally, it included a requirement that agave be registered during the calendar year of its planting, and updated every year.

Today, tequila is a global phenomenon. As of 2018, the CRT reported 155 authorized producers and 1,438 certified tequila brands making the spirit in Mexico. 1,139,000 tons of agave were used to make 309.1 million liters of tequila in the same year.