Have you ever studied the back of any bottle of tequila you've purchased and wondered what that tiny symbol is?
You'll hear many people talk about it on tequila blogs and YouTube channels by the simple name, NOM. NOM stands for “Norma Oficial Mexicana,” but in industry talk, you'll hear them called NORMAS. This is a representation of the legal standards that have to be followed by tequila makers when they make tequila. An organization called the CRT governs this and makes sure every maker is following regulations.
If you look closely, you'll find a four digit number, and that number is almost like a social security number that traces every tequila to it's source. In a better way to say it, this number represents the exact distillery there the tequila was made. I have started using the Tequila Matchmaker app as my virtual bible when I'm looking to taste new tequilas. This app allows you to look into any NOM and see which tequilas are made there. Some distilleries make many tequilas, while others keep it to just a few, or even on brand.
For example, Lobos 1707 tequila is made at NOM 1460.
What Does the NOM do for Tequila Consumers?
In my opinion, it protects consumers. It's a tracing system that keeps distilleries accountable, while also giving them a platform to shine. Caskstrength.com put it best:
The NOM is the best friend of the realist and the worst enemy of the marketer.
They go on to explain how every tequila brand out there doesn't necessarily make their product at just one NOM, or that the agave all came from the same farm. For example, Patron is distilled at about 5 places right now.
As a consumer, know that moving distilleries means you'll have an altered taste.
As a final tip, if you enjoy a certain tequila, look up it's NOM by using the tequila matchmaker app. When you find out where it's made, look at other tequilas made there. Chances are you'll enjoy them. Happy hunting!