Olmeca and Altos Tequila: Brand Guide

By: Michael Prentice

Olmeca logo
  • Founded: 1967
  • Owner: Pernod Ricard
  • Owner headquarters: Paris, France
  • Cases sold in 2022: 1.1 million
  • Bottles sold: 13 million
  • Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM): NOM-1111
  • Distillery: Colonial de Jalisco, Arandas, Jalisco
  • Region: Highlands

Olmeca is the tenth highest selling tequila brand in the world.

Olmeca and Olmeca Altos tequila sales have grown moderately over recent years to 1.1 million cases in 2022. A case is made up of 12 bottles. This represents a growth rate of 3.6% over 2021. This is slower than many of the top brands which are growing at double digits. Olmeca has a tequila market share of about 1.9%.

Chart with sales volumes for Olmeca tequila
Sales of Olmeca and Olmeca Altos have grown slightly in recent years.

Olmeca Tequila Brand History

Olmeca tequila was founded in 1967 by Seagram Company, known for its gin. In the 1990’s Seagrams had the distribution agreement for the fast growing Patrón tequila brand, now the number 2 selling tequila worldwide.

Patrón had outgrown its first distillery, Siete Leguas, and so Seagrams commissioned a new distillery to support production, to be known as Colonial de Jalisco distillery. Just four months after completion of the facilities in 1997, Seagrams lost the distribution agreement for Patrón. So instead of producing Patrón, Seagrams switched its Olmeca and Mariachi brands to Colonial de Jalisco. Pernod Ricard acquired Olmeca in 2001 from Seagrams.

Pernod Ricard has the seventh highest sales of tequila worldwide, with sales of its Avion brand also contributing.

Similar to Patrón, Altos uses the tahona method plus roller mills for crushing the agave piñas. Tahonas are two ton stone discs. Tahona wheels were traditionally pulled by donkeys or mules (and still are in mezcal production) but motors are used to drive stone for this production process.

Jesus Hernandez is the maestro tequilero, or master distiller, for Olmeca. The Altos line was created in 2009 in collaboration with famous UK bartenders Henry Besant and Dre Masso.

Olmeca Tequila Product Range

Olmeca has two brand categories, Olmeca (mixto tequila) and Olmeca Altos (100% agave). The Olmeca range has Blanco, Gold (mix of blanco and aged tequila), reposado and añejo. There is also a dark chocolate and tequila mix.

In the Olmeca Altos line are blanco, reposado and añejo. Olmeca Altos recently released two flavored tequilas which are currently just available in Mexico. There is one coffee infused joven tequila at 35% ABV and a citrus infused joven tequila also at 35% ABV.

How Much is Olmeca Altos Tequila? Price Guide

How Much is a Shot of Olmeca Altos Tequila at a Bar?

A shot of Olmeca Altos blanco or reposado costs about $7 at a bar or restaurant in the US in 2024. The price may range from $6 to $12.

A shot of Olmeca Altos añejo costs around $12, with a range of around $8 to $16.

This is based on a review I made of tequila menus from 19 bars and restaurants in different states across the US.

A standard shot is 1.5 ounces, but bars can serve 1 to 2 ounce shots which can impact the price of shot of Altos tequila.

How Much is a Bottle of Olmeca Altos Tequila?

Olmeca Altos tequila costs an average of $28 per bottle for the blanco and reposado in 2024 for a 750ml bottle. The añejo costs around $39.

Further Questions About Olmeca Altos

Who owns Olmeca Altos tequila?

Olmeca Altos tequila is owned by Pernod Ricard of France. Pernod Richard acquired Olmeca Altos in 2001 from Seagrams.

Does Olmeca Altos tequila have additives?

Olmeca Altos is probably additive free but this is not confirmed. The brand has not explicitly stated that they don’t use additives, just that they don’t use additives that may contain gluten.

Where is Olmeca Altos tequila made?

Olmeca Altos tequila is made at NOM-1111 at Pernod Ricard Mexico’s Distillery in the town of Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico.

What Olmeca Altos tequila is the best?

Olmeca Altos tequilas are all fairly good and each of their expressions gets similar ratings from tasters. If I had to pick one it would be the añejo.

What type of tequila is Olmeca Altos?

Olmeca Altos tequila is made from 100% agave. The tequila is made using traditional methods including partly with a tahona. Olmeca Altos makes blanco, reposado and añejo tequilas.

Does Olmeca Altos tequila go off?

An unopened bottle of Olmeca Altos tequila will never go off, provided it is stored away from direct sunlight and high temperatures. Once opened Olmeca Altos should be drunk within a couple of years.

Is Olmeca Altos tequila gluten free?

Yes, Olmeca Altos tequila is gluten free. Like all tequilas (including mixtos) Olmeca Altos contains no gluten.

Is Olmeca Altos real tequila?

Yes, Olmeca Altos is real tequila made from 100% agave using traditional methods. The brand also has the Olmeca line which is a mixto tequila. This is not made from 100% agave so many would not call it a “true tequila”. Both Olmeca Altos (100% agave) and Olmeca (mixto) are certified Tequilas.

Is Olmeca Altos tequila Kosher?

Olmeca Altos is not certified Kosher, however as a 100% agave tequila it would be acceptable as Kosher. Olmeca mixto tequilas are not considered Kosher.

What is Olmeca Altos tequila ABV?

All Olmeca Altos tequilas sold in the US are 40% ABV (80 proof). In Mexico they are 38% and 35% for the infused range. Almost all tequila sold in the US is 40% ABV.

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