Since its launch in 2009, Casa Dragones has focused on preserving the rich history of Mexico and its culture. Made using exclusively small-batch production, Casa Dragones also became known as one of the first super-premium tequilas to emerge ahead of the U.S.’s current “tequila craze.”

Produced in Jalisco but headquartered in San Miguel de Allende, the brand was originally founded as a means of competing against other luxury spirits like whiskey and Cognac. Now, the brand is committed to making spirits that deserve to be admired in their own right by hand-selecting each agave plant used and hand-crafting every bottle. In its 14 years on the market, the tequila house has become a staple at numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and has been cited as the preferred spirit of one highly prominent book club leader — but more on that later.

Now that you know the basics, here are 12 more things you should know about Tequila Casa Dragones.

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  1. Who founded Casa Dragones?

    Casa Dragones was founded by Bertha González Nieves, the world’s first Maestra Tequilera. At 22, González Nieves was a business administration student in Mexico City when she decided to apply for Ship for World Youth, a program seeking to invest in future leaders so they can thrive in a globalized environment. After being selected to represent Mexico as an ambassador to Japan, González Nieves traveled across her home country to learn more about tequila and how to effectively discuss the spirit on the opposite side of the world. This was when she decided to pursue a career in the tequila industry.

    After a decade spent working for Jose Cuervo, González Nieves left to start her own tequila brand — Tequila Casa Dragones — and was named a Maestra Tequilera, the top recognition from the Mexican Academy of Tequila Tasters. In an interview with Katie Couric Media, the co-founder revealed that when she got the news of her certification from the organization, she had no idea she was the first woman to be bestowed with the title. Now, many in the industry fondly refer to González Nieves as “the First Lady of Tequila.”

  2. A chance meeting at a house party made Casa Dragones a reality.

    Media mogul Robert Pittman, co-founder of MTV Networks and iHeartMedia, came to join the business thanks to a serendipitous run-in with his future co-founder. Pittman, who owns a property in San Miguel de Allende, discovered his love for tequila during his many stays in Mexico — and in the back of his mind, forged a dream of starting a label for himself.

    Sometime in the late aughts, Pittman found himself in the same room as González Nieves at a mutual friend’s anniversary party in Brooklyn. While chatting at the event, the two realized their shared goal of making their own tequila. However, González Nieves left the party under the impression that their dream tequila brand was strictly party talk, and it would likely never see the light of day. The next day, she received an email from Pittman’s secretary requesting a meeting, and the foundations for Casa Dragones were laid.

  3. Unlike many other tequilas, Casa Dragones’s first release was not a blanco.

    Renowned for its easy-drinking, easy-mixing, and agave-forward qualities, tequila blanco is an easy choice for brands selecting their first expression to launch onto markets. But in an attempt to stand out among competition in the burgeoning tequila category, Casa Dragones selected a joven as its flagship release. While many tequilas masquerading as these gold tequilas are pumped full of additives, Casa Dragones’s Joven comes from 100 percent Blue Weber Agave and is aged for five years in American oak casks. The resulting spirit carries the beloved notes of silver tequila — vegetal agave, delicate florals, and sharp citrus — and the robust and sweet profile that only comes from aging the spirit.

  4. In September 2022, the brand debuted a revolutionary new tequila.

    Casa Dragones launched its newest expression last fall: Casa Dragones Reposado Mizunara, the first tequila in the world to be aged exclusively in Mizunara casks. Native to Japan, Mizunara oak casks are incredibly rare — not to mention difficult to treat — and are traditionally used in their native country for aging Japanese whisky. The brand first imported the barrels in 2018 to explore how the wood may impart new flavors on the tequila aged within, and now collaborates with the sole independent Mizunara cooperage in Japan to produce new casks with a custom char level made specifically for Casa Dragones. Each batch of Reposado Mizunara is aged for up to one year, and is said to carry notes of orange blossom, apricot, and butterscotch.

  5. How many expressions does Casa Dragones produce?

    In addition to its flagship release and Reposado Mizunara, the label also offers a blanco and an añejo for tequila enthusiasts to enjoy. After producing strictly joven tequila for five years, in 2014 the brand released its blanco, which imparts grapefruit and vegetal aromas with flavors like pepper and clove. Five years later, the brand innovated again with the release of Casa Dragones Añejo Barrel Blend, a blend of two tequilas: one aged in French Limousin oak and the other rested in American oak. After aging for just over a year, the tequila takes on floral notes with a nutty, slightly spiced finish.

  6. Is Casa Dragones additive-free?

    Casa Dragones is not certified additive-free on the leading database, Tequila Matchmaker, however brands may choose to not pursue certification for any number of reasons. That said, Tequila Matchmaker does note that the agave used to produce the tequila is cooked using acid-thermal hydrolysis and the spirit is extracted via diffuser. A number of users on the platform have reported bubble gum notes and “fake sweetness” that masks the aromas and taste of agave, which would align with possible use of additives.

  7. The brand’s packaging has a multitude of hidden meanings behind it.

    To reflect the care taken during the distilling process, González Nieves knew the bottles housing the spirits had to be equally thoughtful. As such, she traveled through her home country visiting a number of flea markets and museums searching for the perfect glassware, which she eventually found in antique apothecary bottles at Mexico City’s Museo de Arte Popular. The pieces inspired her to create a tequila bottle in the shape of a decanter. Each Casa Dragonas bottle is hand-made by artisans and individually engraved in the pepita or “little seed” technique, which employs a stone or wheel to carve out small, seed-like shapes. The brand’s unique etching depicts an agave plant from a birds-eye view as an homage to the spirits’ origins. Additionally, each bottle across all four expressions is labeled, numbered, and signed by hand in an effort to show the brand’s commitment to quality.

  8. Where does the name Casa Dragones come from?

    In the 19th century, the Dragones Calvary of San Miguel de Allende was instrumental in winning the war against Spain for Mexican independence. González Nieves chose the name Casa Dragones in an effort to pay homage to the rebellious nature of the cavalry, which helped earn Mexico its freedom in 1810. And while production occurs in Jalisco, the brand chose San Miguel de Allende as its “spiritual home,” with its headquarters taking up residence in the 17th-century stables that were once used to house the calvary’s horses.

    Every bottle of Casa Dragones also features a “16” on the label. That’s partially in reference to Sept. 16, the date of Mexican independence, but the number also nods to the address of Casa Dragones’a home at Recreo 16 in San Miguel de Allende. To honor the historic calvary further, the brand’s signature blue shade is identical to that of the uniforms worn by the soldiers.

  9. Casa Dragones boasts the world’s smallest tequila bar.

    At Casa Dragones’s spiritual home, one can find a custom-made tasting room, also known as the world’s smallest tequila bar. The room, which seats just six people, was constructed with 4,000 obsidian tiles sourced from the agave fields in Jalisco in an effort to convey the tequila’s terroir while visitors imbibe. Reservations must be made ahead of time, but once seated at the bar, visitors are welcomed with a guided tasting of the brand’s expressions.

  10. The brand’s ecological commitments are some of the finest in the industry.

    Though Casa Dragones uses the hotly debated diffuser method of production, its commitment to lowering its carbon footprint has been celebrated by fellow tequila professionals. In fact, Casa Dragones is recognized by the Tequila Regulatory Council as being the most efficient and sustainably produced tequila in the industry. By utilizing steam and water for liquid extraction, the distillery is able to use less water and less energy during production while simultaneously producing less waste. The solid waste produced is then recycled to use as a fertilizer in the agave fields, while the process’s liquid waste is refined and used for irrigation.

  11. The tequila is beloved by award-winning chefs and celebrities.

    Upon its launch, Casa Dragones made it a brand mission to work with celebrated chefs around the world to showcase the spirit’s ability to complement food. Chef Gabriela Cámara, of Mexico City’s Contramar, serves Casa Dragones Joven with a tuna tostada on her menu. And chef Thomas Keller, who holds a total of eight Michelin stars at four restaurants, chooses to pair the Joven with his chocolate tart recipe. The spirit has also found the favor of a multitude of icons: Casa Dragones was cited by Oprah as her personal favorite tequila, and in 2022, Martha Stewart teamed up with Baccarat to release glassware specifically designed to serve her Martha-rita, a cocktail she prefers to be made with Casa Dragones Blanco. The tequila house also partnered with supermodel Lily Aldridge that same year to develop the Lily Margarita, which is now served at La Cava del Tequila at Epcot in Walt Disney World in Orlando.

  12. Who owns Casa Dragones?

    Casa Dragones is majority owned by BDT Capital Partners. The tequila brand reached an agreement with the financial firm in 2018 with the intention of accelerating growth and reaching more markets in the United States and internationally. González Nieves owns the second-largest share in Casa Dragones and currently serves as the brand’s co-founder and CEO.