Estate San Jose of the Refuge
House of Tequila Horse-shoe
Founded in the Valley of Amatitán Jalisco, Casa Herradura is more than a brand;forged in a meeting of two cultures,it is a saga about tradition, work and quality that takes us back to the beginning of a craft, produced with care and attention to even the smallest detail,and perfected over the years in order to make a superior tequila.
The first person to have his story recorded was Feliciano Romo (179?-1861) whose work started somewhere around the year1826. A Catholic priest in charge of religious services in the town of Amatitán, and the collection and administration of the tithe donated by parishioners in Tequila, Jalisco,he used this money to acquireland and to construct what today is known as “La Hacienda San José del Refugio.”On the area surrounding the Hacienda, he grew agave, corn, and beans, had many heads of livestock and produced wine made from mescal. Each time his holdings grew, he needed more workers to help him.
While Romo was still alive, Josefa, Leandra y Máxima Salazar Romo´s “foster daughters” inherited “El Rancho de San José del Refugio” which was also known as the “Hacienda del Padre.” Around 1874, Josefa Salazar (182?-1883) was the landlord of almost all of Father Romo´sproperties. Needing help, Josefahired Felix Lopez to manage andbe in charge of production at the mescal vinery. Over the course of time, because of his good work, the Salazar sisters gave López part of their holdings and then sold the rest. Among the assets, were “El Rancho de San José del Refugio” and a mescal tavern.
Lópezbegan to acquire more land and greatly increased the production of wine. When Félix Lópezwas 45 years old, he married Carmen Rosales who was only 20 years old. They had two children: Aurelio and María de JesúsLópez Rosales. Félix died seven years after he married and namedhis children as heirs to his wealth, and his wife as their guardian and executor of the will. At her husband’s death, Carmen Rosales (1851-1921) quite young and with two children, was confronted with managing her late husband’s properties and business, so she asked her brother Ambrosio Rosales (184?-190?), to help her manage her husband’s wealth. With his wife (María Elisa Gómez Cuervo 187?-1917) and his children, David, Ernesto, Alfonso and María Esther Magdalena, David Sr.helped Señora Carmen until Aurelio and María de Jesús were of legal age. When he that felt he had done his work, Ambrosioleft his son David to help his aunt and cousins and then retired to Sayula, Jalisco. When Aurelio López Rosales “El Cristero” (1874-1950),reached legal age hebecame responsible for his family´s assets and the vinery.He relied heavily on his first cousin David´s help in order to ensure atequila that consisted of 100% agave and which was subsequently named “SupremoMezcal de la Fábrica de San José del Refugio.” In 1904 El SeñorAmbrosio Rosales had the tequila registered in Mexico City as “Tequila Herradura” made with 100% agave grown in this region of Jalisco. During this era the tradition of Tequila Herradura 100% agave competed with the best tequilas or mescal wines.
Aurelio y María de Jesús who had profound religious convictions,and morally and economically supported a movement in Mexico known as “El MovimientoCristero” (1927), and because oftheir beliefs, they left “El Rancho de San José del Refugio” and Mexico as well. For a long time they lived in Rome, and consequently, the Hacienda was also known as “La Hacienda del Cristero.” Before leaving for Europe, Aurelio and María de Jesús named their cousin David Rosales, son of Ambrosio and María Elisa, as the general director of “El Rancho de San José del Refugio.”(188?-1956).Eventually he inherited all of his cousins’ assets.
During his administration, at his own expense, Rosales successfully drilled the town’s first water wells, and then installed water pumps on street corners and in the town´s plaza. This was the first time the town had running water. Señor David was a great connoisseur of agave and quite meticulous when it came to the production of tequila. At this time, mescal wine or tequila made from what tequila makers call the honey which may be found in the heart of the Agave gained fame in the state of Jalisco and eventually in Mexico.
In two ways, the railroads helped spread this great drink. First, as the railroads grew, many people were displaced from their homes and migrated to Amatitán. Each time the town’s population grew,more tequila was needed to be produced. Second the rail system became the fastest and most efficient way to transport tequila all over Mexico. This “elixir” began to be the favorite drink of revolutionaries and the majority of Mexicans.
In his will, David Rosales left everything to his sister María Esther Magdalena Rosales Gómez Cuervo (189?-1973). Shemarried Fernando de la Peña and hadfourchildren: Cristina, María Elisa, Fernando y Gabriela de la Peña Rosales. Upon David´s death in 1956, María Esther inherited the property and took charge of the tequila business. During this period, the business experienced serious financial problems that were resolved when Gabriela de la Peña Rosales (1917-1994) inherited a third of the Tequila Herradura Stock and the rest, she bought from her mother. After these purchases, she became the owner of “Tequila Herradura, S.A. de C.V.” and took control of the estate.
Gabriela married Guillermo Romo Celis and theyhadfourchildren: José Guillermo, Luz Gabriela, María Elisa, Luis Pedro Pablo Romo de la Peña. SeñorRomoCelis brought his business knowledge and the capital necessary to pay off the debts and help the business get ahead. He promoted the exportation of tequila to countries outside of Mexico. The two sons Don Guillermo y Don Luis Pedro Pablo Romo de la Peña were innovators who were at the forefront of the tequila business. They modernized the management of the company andto attract new consumers, they began to create otherproducts. Also the exportation and distribution of Tequilla Herradura in Mexico and in other countries was continued: it began to be recognized as one of the greatest drinks in the world.
Mexican companies that adapt this century old vision of their ancestors will produce tequila and products of the highest quality. In 2004 Don Guillermo retired and his son Guillermo Romo Romero took his place. Guillermo and his uncle managed the business until January 18, 2007 when the Brown - Forman Corporations bought Casa Herradura. Guillermo and his uncle closed one of the most important transactions in the history of the tequila industry.
Casa Herradura is only 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Guadalajara.
For 139 years Tequila Herradura has been a solid company, and a leader in its industry that has respected all legal, labor, and company procedures.