Last updateMon, 16 Jun 2014 8pm

Mexico's president visits Guadalajara, celebrates nation's signature spirit

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto revealed his penchant for Mexico's famed fiery liquor during a visit to Guadalajara Monday.

The president was the guest of honor at a ceremony at the Cabañas Institute marking the 40th anniversary of tequila's recognition of denomination of origin status and the 20th birthday of the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (Tequila Regulatory Council).

After professing his liking for tequila, Peña Nieto reminded the audience that his actress wife, Angelica Rivera, played a jimadora (agave cutter) in her last soap opera (telenovela) before becoming Mexico's First Lady.

Peña Nieto said that tequila is one of the most heavily promoted Mexican products in the international arena.   Tequila is now exported to 120 countries on every continent, he noted.

He also highlighted the effort that went into persuading the Chinese government to allow the entry of pure tequila into their marketplace.  In August 2013, the first 70,000 bottles of 100 percent blue agave tequila were shipped to China and, over the next five years, the figure will increase to around five million liters, Peña Nieto announced.

The president said tequila is "an iconic national symbol" and an industry that provides employment for thousands of Mexicans.  

During the ceremony Miguel Angel Dominguez, president of Tequila Regulatory Council, presented Peña Nieto with the Águila en Vuelo (Eagle in Flight) Award for his support of the tequila industry.