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ITC News & Media

The visual history and heritage of Mexico's national drink

Aliento a Tequila

Aug 21, 2019

(SAN ANTONIO) – The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will show photographer Joel Salcido’s famed “Aliento a Tequila” photo exhibit, Sept. 14 – Jan. 5, illuminating the story of the beverage’s history and heritage.

Aliento a Tequila features 39 images from Salcido’s travels. The journey began when Salcido received an invitation from Don Julio Tequila’s Master Distiller Enrique de Colsa to visit La Primavera, the Don Julio Distillery in Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco, Mexico. The private tour led to an entire series of photographs documenting the traditions of tequila, the culture surrounding it, its production, and the towns and people involved in the industry.

“I had been looking forward to returning to Mexico with an opportunity to reveal the legacy and mystery of tequila,” said Salcido. “I’m happy that I was able to photograph the culture and beauty still rooted deep in the soul of Mexico and its people. In my journey, I also rediscovered part of my childhood as I traveled through the tequila countryside and relived the cultural richness and traditions of these towns.”

Notably, one of Salcido’s photographs, “Atotonilco El Alto,” entered the National Heritage Art Collection of Mexico in February of 2015 and now resides in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico City. Selected images ran in Texas Monthly, and nearly 90 images from Salcido’s travels were compiled for the 2017 book, “The Spirit of Tequila,” from Trinity University Press.

“Tequila plays a significant role in the economy, livelihood, and culture of Texans, and is a symbol of our relationship and connection to our southern neighbors,” said Christian Clark, ITC’s director of public engagement.

The institute will host an opening reception, 6-8 p.m., Sept. 13, and a tequila tasting, 6-8 p.m., Nov. 8. Both events are included with regular admission and will feature products and entertainment from affiliated sponsors.

Aliento a Tequila will close January 5, 2020. The exhibit was curated by Roy L. Flukinger, M.A., Emeritus Senior Curator, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. Sponsors include Twang, Tequila Viva Mexico, Margarita Man and Metl Premium Imports.

The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA Hemisfair Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12 Adult (18-64); $9 Senior (65+), College Student, Minor (6-17) (children 0-5 free); UTSA and Alamo Colleges with identification Free; $7 Group rate, per person (10 or more). For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.