July 16, 2009
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Students learn history of tequila
HTE student Jon Hartman studies a bottle of tequila in "Beer, Wine and Spirits" class.
Passing a bottle of El Charro Tequila to your professor in class is not the norm for most students. But, it’s what happened recently in the “Beer, Wine and Spirits” course offered through the Hospitality, Tourism and Events department at Metropolitan State College of Denver.
“This is out of the ordinary, but extremely informational,” says computer information science major Patrick Ortell, who is taking the course as an elective.
He was part of the class that featured Miguel Cedeno Cruz, a consultant in the tequila industry who has also served on the Tequila Regulatory Council. His lecture was part of a collaboration between the HTE department and the Consulate General of Mexico to promote understanding of the Mexican culture.
“Tequila is an essential part of the Mexican culture and people,” says Baltazar Solano Pineda, education and cultural affairs representative with the Consulate General of Mexico, who also serves on the Community Advisory Board for the School of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.
It’s not new for them to bring a maestro (master) of tequila to do presentations in the U.S., but this is the first time they have brought one to a college campus, according to Pineda.
Tequila expert Miguel Cedeño Cruz (l.) and Baltazar Solano Piñeda from the Consulate General of Mexico join Michael Wray in class.
Cruz noted in his lecture that people feel really proud of their memories of drinking Tequila while vacationing in Mexico, but says there’s more behind the favorite drink.
“We also need to learn about what is behind that spirit,” he says.
Students learned about the history of the plan including its origins from the agave plant, which can weigh between 40 and 150 pounds and looks like a pineapple. There are more than 136 different Agave species, and they are used to make food, soap, fiber, and medicine. They also learned about the Tequila industry. Thirty-five percent of Tequila is consumed in the United States, while 32 percent is consumed in Mexico.
At the end of the lecture, Cruz guided the class through a Tequila tasting.
Earlier in the course, taught by Associate Professor and Director of Hotel-Restaurant Management Michael Wray, students learned about responsible drinking from the National Restaurant Association and also spent time in a brewery to learn how they work.