The Chefs, Artists, and Tequila Makers of Guadalajara
The Patrón Hacienda was built in 2002. The company funds two local orphanages, has an on-site chapel and a shuttle service for its employees, and supports numerous environmental initiatives, including a reverse-osmosis system that recycles water from tequila production and, earlier this year, a reforestation effort that involved planting 10,000 trees.
At the Patrón Hacienda, a Spanish-colonial-inspired campus and distillery in the high plateaus outside the city that serves as the company’s headquarters, Bravo is a hornero, cutting up 80-pound agave hearts for baking and distilling. Rather than grow their own, Patrón buys its agave from area farmers, and hundreds of plants are delivered each week. To make tequila, the hearts are baked in large ovens, then crushed with an ancient tahona mill or a slab of volcanic rock to extract the juice. The liquid is then fermented, distilled, and, in the case of some specialty tequilas, aged in handmade barrels for more than a year.
Cobain runs Patrón’s compost and recycling operations. The distillery uses the discarded fibers from agave processing—roughly 30,000 tons a year—to fertilize farms in the region and a large vegetable garden on the Hacienda property that helps feed the company’s 1,600 on-site employees. Cobain mountain-bikes in the trail systems of Bosque La Primavera—an ecological preserve 45 minutes outside Guadalajara. “It’s known as the lungs of the city,” he says.
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Urrea, who works for the production company Green Is Good, surfs as often as he can, especially on the Pacific breaks around Sayulita and San Pancho, an hour west by plane. The best food in Guadalajara? “I Latina shouldn’t be missed,” he says.
As a sports PR agent, fitness adviser, and athlete—she recently competed in the Xterra Race in Tapalpa—Serur spends a lot of time mountain biking and trail running at Barranca de Huentitán, a nature reserve in a 16-mile-long canyon northeast of the city. Then she refuels at Tacos Providencia. “I want to teach people that they can have a healthy life, but with balance,” she says.
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Santillanes has played the saxophone in jazz festivals from Montreal to Vienna. But once a week, the Guadalajara native still performs on Chapultepec Avenue, which hosts a street festival every Wednesday.
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For as long as anyone can remember, Manuel worked as a jimador, harvesting agave grown around Guadalajara—where the plant is said to be larger and better tasting than anywhere else in the world—for tequila. Manuel now works in the gardens at the Patrón Hacienda.
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Fonseca grew up riding horses and tending sheep in Guadalajara’s highlands. “I’m still a cowgirl sometimes,” she says, though she’s now Patrón’s executive tour host and brings restaurant owners and chefs from all over the world to the Hacienda. The company produces roughly two million cases of tequila per year.
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