Our story - Cantera Negra

The Cantera Negra Story

A generation of great taste

Cantera Negra was founded more than 40 years ago, after Don Alberto Becherano spent more than a decade perfecting his proprietary method of making what we believe to be the best tequila in the world.

Today, the family-owned and operated Cavas de Don Max handcrafts each batch of our award winning Tequila to exact standards for taste and smoothness. The taste of Cantera Negra sets it apart and comes from very specific practices established over the past decades.

The notable smoothness and richness that defines our taste starts in the hillsides of Jalisco, Mexico, were we grow our 100% blue agave plants in soils rich in volcanic rock. We know patience pays off, and we allow our blue agaves to fully mature, growing them on average 8 to 10 years before hand harvesting them. Then, we handcraft each batch of our Tequila, distilling it twice for extra smoothness. For all our Tequilas that are aged, our in-house coopers hand-craft oak barrels that provide the rich, round flavors for which we are known. Our aging process goes well beyond industry standards – up to five times longer – to create a smoothness found nowhere else.

Only after all of this can our Tequila go before the Becherano family tasting panel, who personally ensure the remarkable taste of Cantera Negra.


Bringing Cantera Negra to the US

In November 2006, Lance Gildner and the rest of Team Buckeye Tuna were fishing in the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot – the largest Tuna tournament in the world.  On the first day of the tournament, after an epic 4 1/2 hour fight on 50-pound test tackle, they landed a 318 pound Yellow Fin Tuna – shattering the tournament record.

After much attention and celebration at the tournament, Team Buckeye Tuna decided that they wanted to sneak away and sit down together, away from all of the chaos, to quietly celebrate their victory and reflect on their good fortune – after all, they had just won the largest tuna tournament in the world.  They tucked into a small local bar off the beaten path and asked the bar owner to serve them a glass of his finest Tequila.  The bar owner took some glasses over to an unmarked wooden barrel and slowly poured their drinks.

After taking the first sip, Lance knew he was drinking something truly special – a Tequila so smooth and rich it was worthy of sipping rather than mixing with anything else. Before leaving Cabo, Lance returned to the bar and asked the bar owner what brand the Tequila was so he could buy it when he returned to the US.  The bar owner told Lance that it was a secret and refused to disclose the distiller’s identity, but he did send Lance home with some of the spirit. Friends and family loved it just as much as Lance did, and it was gone in one weekend.

The next year, Lance had the same experience with the bar owner, who refused to divulge the distiller’s identity but again sent Lance home with two empty bar bottles filled with the Tequila.  Again, friends and family thought it to be the best Tequila they’d ever had, and it was gone immediately. Lance repeated this story for 9 years.

Desperately trying to find the name of the distiller, Lance reached out to a friend who was a native of Cabo San Lucas for help.  His friend received the same response that Lance received from the bar owner – “I can’t tell you, it’s a secret.”  Then one morning in October 2015, after nearly a decade of chasing the identity of the distiller, Lance walked into his office in Dayton, Ohio and checked his emails.  There was an email from his friend in Cabo, who had learned the identity of the distiller.

Lance immediately reached out to the distillery and asked if he could bring these products to the US.  Less than a week later, Lance was in Mexico meeting the wonderful family that owned and operated the distillery that made the Tequila.  He left with an exclusive license to import the products to the US.  And now, after two more years of preparation, its finally here, all under the name Cantera Negra.

Join us in celebrating this discovery. Discover for yourself a Tequila so clean, so smooth and so rich that it defies imagination.  Enjoy Tequila in its finest expression – discover Cantera Negra.