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The Spirit for Independence Day – New Tequila Celebrates Unusual Aspect of America’s History


June 22, 2023 – What country does the jaguar come from?  We’re talking about the animal, not the automobile.  Did you know it is native to the Americas?  If you guessed Africa, don’t feel bad because that’s the popular misconception.  So what’s the connection between tequila, jaguars and Independence Day?  We’ll tell you.

Alma del Jaguar Tequila was developed with the mission to protect wild jaguars.  Most people don’t know that the jaguar is native to the United States, is the largest cat in the Americas and the third largest cat in the world behind the lion and tiger. Their present range extends from Argentina to Arizona, with increased sightings in the U.S. in recent years. Nevertheless, despite their awesome beauty, jaguars are endangered due to poaching and habitat destruction. 

Alma del Jaguar Tequila was founded by spirits entrepreneur McCauley Williams who was inspired by his uncle Rick Williams’ commitment to wild jaguar conservation in northern Mexico. A wildlife photographer who moved to Mexico in the ‘90s to study wild jaguars, Rick co-founded the Northern Jaguar Project (NJP), a bi-national effort between conservationists from the U.S. and Mexico to preserve and recover the world’s northernmost population of wild jaguars and their unique habitats.  

McCauley Williams is serious about producing spirits sustainably and having a positive impact on selected causes.  To this end, he founded Morningside Brands, Inc.   Alma del Jaguar is the first brand in a mission-based portfolio to be released and a percent of profits will be donated to conservation groups like NJP.

As serious conservationists, McCauley and Uncle Rick searched not only for a special producer using sustainable production practices in line with their mission, but who also made great tasting tequila.  The perfect partner was Sergio Vivanco, patriarch of the respected fifth generation tequila family Feliciano Vivanco y Asociados, S.A de C.V. distillery.

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Alma del Jaguaris 100 percent blue agave and certified additive free.  It is crafted using traditional methods designed to respect the agave and the land, using only mature Los Altos agave, brick ovens, roller mill extraction, well water, and copper pot stills. The tequila is bottled unfiltered by hand at the source.

What truly makes Alma del Jaguar special is that is a blend of two unique tequilas. The key difference between the two is their yeast. Eighty percent of the blend is tequila fermented from natural wild yeast, and the remaining 20 percent is tequila fermented from Champagne yeast imported from France. This blend allows Alma del Jaguar to pair bolder flavors and complexity from the wild yeast with the sweetness and subtlety from the Champagne yeast.

Speaking of yeast, the Vivancos play classical music to the open-air fermentation tanks to encourage the yeast to “dance.”  Sergio Vivanco charmingly describes this his “Mozart” method.

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Alma del Jaguar is available in 33 states and online at seelbachs. The MSRP for Blanco is $49.99 and for Reposado $59.99.  If restoring and increasing the habitat of this beautiful animal that has been here since the Pleistocene epoch seems like a worthwhile pursuit, enjoying a bottle of Alma del Jaguar will help.  Whether we knew it or not, Jaguars are a part of our heritage so adding them to the celebration of our history on July 4 seems fitting.

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