New Website and Membership Launch May 2015
The new Tequila Interchange Project wants to include everyone in the conversation and develop strategies for sustainable growth of the industry and preservation of the spirit and plant we love.
Through facilitating cutting edge research and connecting all individuals in the chain of production, from the fields to those pouring the spirit, we intend to be a voice for the love of agave.
What’s a TIP member?
TIP is overhauling its membership structure and website! TIP’s major issue since inception has been member engagement. So many passionate, talented people want to be involved but there has not been a clear way to engage the organization.
On May 15, 2015 TIP will launch a new membership structure and website. For an annual contribution to TIP members will gain access to special events, online resources, monthly newsletters, exclusive interviews from the industries most respected voices, access to TIP leadership and an invitation to help move the organization forward.
In addition to opening up membership we will also be considering and nominating Agave Advocates across the country to activate their local communities and take the lead in their region. Lead TIP in your city or region!
TIP Members will have access to:
*TIPster Calendar (submit your events!)
*Bi-Weekly Podcasts with El Presidente
* Exclusive interviews with industry experts you want to hear from
*Translated Academic works
*Exclusive videos and pictures
*Private TIP forum for discussion
*Submit comments or questions to the Board
*Present initiatives or suggestions to the Board
*Educational materials to share with your customers or staff
Exploring the possibility of Pre-Hispanic Distillation
TIP is working with Archaeologists Dr. Fernando Gonzales and Dr. Laura Alemendros of INAH (National Institute of Archaeology and History), Dr. Pat McGovern (Biomolecular Archaeologist, University of Pennsylvania) and Dr. Dan Healan (Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Tulane University). In December 2013 we facilitated an exchange of samples from INAH’s recent excavation of a Capacha site to Dr. McGovern to analyze at his lab at UPenn. In December 2014, Dr. McGovern will be joining us again in Jalisco and Colima to help Dr. Gonzales and Alemendros plan and begin the remainder of the excavation site.
A Healthy Industry is Healthy Jimadores
The Tequila Interchange Project seeks to facilitate a multidisciplinary, Public Health style study on Social Determinants of Health in partnership with farmworkers in the agave industry. In the Spring of 2015 a team of researchers and interns will conduct outreach, focus groups and in-depth interviews to document the perspective of the agricultural workers in relation to our research questions.
TIP and its partners believe these people and their families are the foundation of the industry and the knowledge they hold could prevent our industry from exhausting the land, the agave, and the people. “Jimadores” are the traditional caretakers of the agave plant and an iconic symbol of the tequila industry. We seek to understand what their role is today; if there are “traditional” jimadores as depicted in marketing and how a transition to wage labor has affected their well-being and the well-being of the industry. Since the unprecedented agave shortage in the early 2000s the farm workers in the tequila industry have lost their prestige, influence, and have systematically been pushed into exploitative wage labor.
Teaming up with Batman
Many in the industry know about the dangers and damages, realized or anticipated, to the agave plant due to mono-cropping in the Tequila Denomination of Origin but there is not much conversation about other ecosystem effects. Dr. Rodrigo Medellin is a leading expert on bats and specializes in the “Tequila bat” which has evolved a symbiotic relationship with the agave over hundreds of thousands of years. When agaves are cloned and mono-cropped they are not allowed to shoot their qiote and reproduce sexually. This narrows the gene pool for the species and weakens its integrity against disease and infestation. Additionally, this eliminates the major food source for an integral part of Jalisco’s ecosystem, the bat.
TIP is working with Dr. Medellin to plan and implement a “Bat Friendly Tequila” certification which will verify that plantations allow 2% of their crop to flower which will dramatically enhance the genetic variation of the agave and give the bat a sustainable food source. Because agaves flower at night they depend on the bats for pollination and the bats rely on the agaves in the tequila corridor as they migrate north and south throughout the year. Stay tuned for details of this project as they develop!