San Juan del Rio

San Juan has a number of destilerías along the river. The Alipús destilería belongs to the Cruz family. The distiller is Rodolfo Juan Juarez.

the iglesia
the municipio
the cimiteria
the patriarch, Don Joel

We started out working with Joel Antonio Cruz. Two years ago, he made 30,000 bottles of Alipús. Rather than try to further increase production, the Cruz family decided to focus on the Mexican market and turned over distillation for export to Joel’s younger cousin Rodolfo Juan Juarez.

The Cruz destilería has four copper pots.  It’s a co-op: the whole clan makes use of them, and so do several outsiders.

One of two hornos.

Cordwood stockpiled for roasting.

Cutting up roasted agaves for milling.

The mill, its wheel wider than most.

The end of fermentation, in a fairly large vat. The bucket is for moving the material into the still.

One of the stills. Note the red cloth strip used to seal the joint in the tube.

Pitchforking out the bagasso (agave fibers) after a distillation run.

Wild agave tobalá along the road to San Juan del Rio.

Photographs by Katherine Lewis