The Don Julio tequila was created by one man: Don Julio González-Frausto Estrada (1925-2012). The man with the hat, whose silhouette you'll find on every bottle. Everything began in 1949, in the State of Jalisco, Mexico. In his distillery, founded in 1949 and nicknamed "La Primavera" (which means "Springtime" in Spanish), Julio had been crafting his own tequila since he was 17 years old (in 1942). He used to manage every aspect of the production, from harvesting the agave plants growing near his hometown of Atotonilco, to bottling the end product.
Julio González was a visionary. Not only was he the first to use 100% of hand-picked blue agaves for his tequila, he was also the only man who dared challenge the established tequila bottle format. Before, tequila was only sold in tall bottles. Now came along Julio, with his much smaller and square bottles; easier to handle and better looking on a table. Plus, unlike his competitors and their super strong tequilas, Don Julio produced a sweeter tequila, that you could slowly sip and savor.
Julio celebrated his 60th birthday in 1985. For the occasion, his sons released a limited edition cuvée of the family tequila, only sold in Mexico. It was a huge hit with all the local spirits merchants. Looking at the more than positive sales revenues, the don's children decided to roll up their sleeves and turn the brand into a worldwide sensation. Two years later, the "Don Julio" tequila was officially born. They were exporting it to North America and then the rest of the world. It de facto became the very first prestige tequila.
The González-Frausto family partnered with the Seagram Company Ltd. in 1999. Together, they extended the agave plantation and helped the Don Julio brand truly shine internationally. New cuvées were released: "Don Julio Blanco", "Don Julio Reposado", "Don Julio Real", "Don Julio Añejo", "Don Julio 70" and "Don Julio 1942". The Don Julio brand was later bought by the Italian Diageo Group (owners of the famous Johnnie Walkerwhisky), in 2014. They already owned 50% of the shares since 2003, thanks to their joint venture with the Mexican Casa Cuervo Group.