In the town of Bacanora, Sonora, located in the mountainous region of the state, the production of the traditional distilled agave beverage of northern Mexico began more than 300 years ago. The Agave Angustifolia plants that grow in the Sonoran highlands region bear the local name of Pacifica or Yaquiana, and is the same raw material used in the production of other distilled agave beverages in Mexico, except Tequila. Similar to tequila and mezcal, Bacanora is a beverage resulting from the juice of baked agave stems, fermented and distilled twice.
In the early 20th century, the production of distilled agave beverages in the state of Sonora was prohibited by the federal government, although many producers were shot and their products seized and destroyed, the tradition of bacanora making persisted underground, and for many years it was known as "the secret of Sonora".
In 1963, the Reglamento Sanitario de Bebidas Alcohólicas, promulgated by the state government of Sonora, recognized bacanora as a regional distilled beverage. Law 119 (1992) established the criteria for the production, distribution, commercialization, and consumption of bacanora in Sonora and the rest of Mexico. Finally, in 2000, the federal government included 35 municipalities in the state of Sonora in the Bacanora Denomination of Origin. The production, distribution and commercialization of Bacanora are governed by Mexican standard NOM-168-SCFI-2004.
Bacanora is currently very well accepted in the North American market. Bacanora-producing brands participating in the Asociación Nacional Mujeres del Mezcal y Agave de México market this traditional distilled agave beverage in several cities in the states of California, Arizona, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and New Jersey.
For the past few years, bacanoras from Sonora, Casa Tetakawi, Casa Desbocado, Xesewi and Tesopaco 1870 have been participating and winning medals in various distilled beverage competitions held in the United States. In the 2022 edition, the Agave Heritage Festival in Tucson, Arizona, presented an exciting program of cultural events featuring the women who are revolutionizing the agave distilled beverage industry and reshaping global production and consumption trends.
While producers of other distilled agave beverages in Mexico, such as Tequila and Mezcal, must compete with producers from numerous municipalities and several states, the Bacanora Denomination of Origin was only granted to 35 municipalities, so its competitive advantage lies in being the exclusive distillate of the state of Sonora. Currently, there are 50 commercial brands of Bacanora, while 2,800 brands compete in the commercialization of Tequila. By collaborating in associations such as Mujeres del Agave and Mezcal de México, Bacanora producers gain competitive strength, strengthen production links and improve their opportunities in international markets.