What Does A Tequila's NOM Mean And Why Does It Matter?

Have you ever picked up your favorite bottle of tequila and wondered "what is this date on the bottle?" Well, Mashed can confidently say that your bottle was not made in 1492, but the code is just as important. VinePair says this four-digit code is the right way to locate the bottle that is perfect for you.

NOMs, or Norma Oficial Mexicana, is a four-digit code that you can find on the back of any tequila bottle. Each NOM gives the location for where the tequila was made and produced, per VinePair. So, if you want a closer look into your favorite bottle, take a shot and head to your computer!

NOMs are actually assigned to each bottle by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila, on behalf of the Mexican government, so Tequila lovers know they were authentically made in Mexico (via Big Moonshine). If a bottle has a NOM code on it, it has passed all regulations and standards by the Mexican government.

Patrón Tequila, for example, has a NOM of 1492 (via Patrón). You'll never see another number on a bottle of Patrón because it is only ever made at one distillery. Pretty cool, huh? However, does a NOM really matter?

Why do NOMs matter?

NOMs are a way to get a better look into that clear, glorious bottle of tequila. VinePair says that Mexico only has 140 licensed tequila distilleries, yet there are over 1,400 registered brands of tequila that you can buy. When you see a NOM that is on a gazillion bottles, it could mean that the tequila might be lower quality.

A NOM can be a token of quality when it comes to tequila, a way to see just how much time and attention was put into each bottle. Only about 30 brands out of the 1,400 on the market are sole tequilas of their NOMs. The highest quality brands of tequila are all produced at distilleries that only produce one to 15 brands, according to Taste Tequila. Better to go for quality!

Even if a few bottles have the same NOM, it does not mean that they will taste the same. What it means is they were all made in the same building with the same machines but can have different agaves and flavors in them.

The best way to navigate this newfound knowledge is to simply see what number is on your bottle and type it into a site like Tequila Matchmaker to learn more. If you love your current bottle, you may find a new favorite. If you aren't the biggest fan, you can see what other brands have that NOM and avoid at all costs.