ALTOS HUICHOL A TEQUILA WITH A CAUSE
Huichol art is produced by the Huichol, a people that despite having an invaluable role in the preservation of the Mexican culture, often live in marginalized areas. Altos Tequila has collaborated with them to create a special edition, Altos Huichol, to start building an economic model that can help them improve their living conditions through their work. All profits will come back to San Andres Cohamiata, the community where Altos Huichol is made. Learn more about how we are helping the Huichol below.
Who are the Huichol?
The Huichol are part of the Mexican people and refer to themselves as Wixarika. They are one of the few indigenous communities that have managed to remain almost untouched since the Spanish conquest. They currently live in northern Jalisco, part of Nayarit, Zacatecas, and Durango, above the mountain range that crosses these states. Every year they return to their sacred place, Wirikuta, where they perform their most important religious ceremony.
Sadly, the Huichol usually live in extreme poverty, with little access to basic services or education; job opportunities are also scarce. Nonetheless, art is at the center of their identity as Huichol and has even has sustained most of these communities economically for decades. In Huichol art, images represent tradition, their vision of the world, their geography, including the mysticism surrounding the Hikuri flower, crucial to their religious experience.
It can be said that there is no other ethnic group in Mexico that conserves their beliefs, cults, and traditions as deeply as the Huichol.
Thousands of years in the making
The world has turned its eyes to the Huichol people. Their art is now part of museums in cities like New York, London, and many others. Tourists looking for a unique souvenir often buy Huichol craft when they are in Mexico, but that has not been enough to create better conditions for them. We want to create a platform for them to create and bring profit to their communities through their valuable skills and hard work.
The chaquiras, embedded into the art
Chaquiras (small beads) are material that has been in use for centuries, even in ancient Mexico, where they were made of jade, turquoise or other types of precious stones.
Currently, the chaquiras that the Huichol work with are mostly glass. Previously it was used more in textiles, but over the years it has now been implemented in jewelry, decorative objects, religious objects, garments, among others.
The Making of
Hundreds of chaquiras are used in every bottle design to bring part of the Huichol universe to life. Where one might only see images, there is always a hidden story behind: the one about the blue deer who brought the Hikuri flower, the one where two brothers transform into the sun and a trailing star. These are the stories that make the Huichol vision of the world, a story about a relentless people, filled with imagination and the healing power of the Hikuri.
Supporting the community
Altos has partnered with Huichol communities to offer a special edition of Altos as an e-commerce exclusive. The goal is to generate a positive impact on the quality of life of the Huichol Community in San Andres Cohamiata, Jalisco. In collaboration with “Ascalapha”, an organization that has been working to improve the lives of these vulnerable groups, we intend to help artisans achieve a salary nine times higher of what they usually make with their work.
Interested in finding more and better ways to materialize the impact of this project, a collection was made by Altos Tequila, achieving an amount of 106,838.00 pesos, destined to help the Huichol communities in four principal aspects: water access, bringing people closer to medical assistance, proper housing resistant to the elements and improving access to electricity using solar panels.
So far this project has reached 27 artisans creating about 990 Altos mini bottles, 713 Altos Plata bottles and giving artisans 2.5 times more income per family, helping 124 members of the Huichol community.
Every bottle carries a tradition that lives in the Huichol vision of the world. These art pieces honor the land, the sun, the elements, the companions of the community in their centuries-old voyage protecting their history and tradition.
THERE’S A LEGEND TOLD IN EACH BOTTLE
We celebrate the stories of rural communities, varius iaculis metus, Leaning on our Mexican heritage, dictum nunc turpis, non gravida tellus lacinia id. but feeling at home in urban.
Ereno / “Espuma de mar”
This Altos bottle represents the goddess of love and the moon: Ereno, which means "seafoam".
Hikuri / Big brother deer who came from the sun
Hikuri is at the center of Huichol beliefs: the story of four boys, representing the four elements, who found the sacred medicinal flower.
Mai / Maguey
The blue agave stands for Mayahuel, the agave goddess of ancient Mexico, but also for the heart of Altos Tequila.
Wirikuta / Lugar sagrado
This edition celebrates the legacy of the Wirikuta, the sanctuary of the huichol people, defended through millennia from the outside world. Wirikuta is the place where the most important Huichol ceremonies happen every year.
Nakawé / “Madre Agua”
This edition celebrates the mother of all gods in the Huichol religion. Nakawé, Mother Water, who takes care of newborns, health, plants and animals.
Wixárika / La gente
A tribute to the ones who came before, the Huichol people. The Huichol are the most resilient of the original Mexican cultures.