Fermenting wort at El Tapatio
Some of the wooden fermentation vats (pipones) used by El Tapatio. The foam at the top is from the activity of the yeast on the agave must. These were the most active vats we saw on the trip.
These were built by the grandfather of the current owner, Carlos Camarena Curiel. They were painted by his father, but Carlos is letting them gradually return to their natural wood finish. Sometimes they wear out, so the staves are kept to help restore other vats.
Most of the distilleries we visited on the tour use larger, stainless steel tanks. El Tapatio is unrepentantly old-fashioned this way, including the use of a tahona (stone wheel) to crush the agave. The result shows in the rich taste of their products.