DETROIT – It takes a lot of hard work to reach your dreams. For the Lopez family, that dream was to share a true taste of their heritage.
The Lopez family put their roots down in Southwest Detroit 30 years ago, but the roots that matter most are the ones that come from Mexico -- and what they make from it is something they can’t wait to share.
Lopez Tire Repair is located near the intersection of Vernor Highway and Waterman Street.
“I’ve been working here since I was 8 years old,” Tony Lopez said.
He moved with his family from Chicago to Detroit in the late 1980s. His father, Don Silverio, founded the car repair shop in 1990. After years of hard work making sure the people of the Motor City could stay on the road, Silverio wanted something slower, something deep-rooted. That meant saving enough money to buy fields of agave in their ancestral land in Mexico.
“I think it came out of necessity,” Lopez said. “We’re from, in Mexico, we’re from the south of Jalisco, so we’re from tequila country.”
The Agave farm is in the Los Altos region of Jalisco. What Kentucky is to bourbon or Boudreaux is to wine, Jalisco is to tequila.
“My dad grew up around the agave fields, crops and all that, always working in the fields,” Lopez said. “I think it’s just in our blood, you know? Blood, sweat and tears.”
Their family worked the same land for generations as share croppers before Silverio could buy it. Third and fourth generations are still working and tending to the land they now own.
“It’s hard to believe that my ancestors were walking around there too,” Lopez said. “It’s an amazing, an amazing feeling.”
Lopez and his father make an annual trip to the farm each year. It’s not just a way to check on operations, but to reconnect with their roots and slow down. But tequila making is hard with long days in the sun, back breaking work of uprooting only the best blue agave, cutting it up and shipping it to a distiller. It sometimes means waiting months or even years for just one bottle. It’s a lot of waiting for someone who runs a busy tire shop.
“I just love it. I feel my heritage, the roots,” Lopez said. “It just pulls you.”
Their tequila isn’t meant to be taken quickly with salt and lime, they’re meant to be savored after a long day in the hot sun.
“I could sip in it all day long,” Lopez said.
Tequila has been booming in recent years with big name stars like George Clooney, Dwayne Johnson and Michael Jordan moving in to Jalisco, crowding out or buying up smaller local farms, but the Lopezes are digging their feet into their ancestral lands with no plans of slowing down.
More information on Cabresto Tequila can be found on its official website here.
More: Hisptanic Heritage Month