Women In The Tequila Industry: Carmen Villarreal by M.A. “Mike” Morales

Carmen Alicia Villarreal Treviño, The Original Tequila Boss Lady

Carmen Alicia Villarreal Treviño is a legend among Tequila Boss Ladies.  In fact, she is the original Tequila Boss Lady.

To date, she is the only female tequila distillery owner, taking the reins of Casa San Matías soon after the tragic death of her husband in 1997.  Determined to keep his dreams alive, Carmen proceeded to create some of the most emblematic brands in the business like Carmessí, Rey Sol, and Pueblo Viejo.

Known as a fine humanitarian and crusader for equal rights for women, Ms. Villarreal has piloted Casa San Matías into the 21st Century as an ecologically and socially responsible company, as well as raising the bar in the production of quality tequilas.

If you’ve been following our series, we asked a short list of five questions to prominent women leading the charge for change in the Tequila Industry and beyond.

[Editor’s note:  For the convenience of our interviewee and our Spanish speaking audience, this article is in both English and Spanish.]

Interview with Carmen Alicia Villarreal Treviño

TA:  How would you describe your experiences as a high ranking woman in your position in a primarily male dominated industry?

(¿Cómo describiría sus experiencias como una mujer de alto rango en su posición en una industria dominada principalmente masculina?)

CV:  My experience as a woman in the tequila industry has been very pleasant and I’ve always been shown respect, support and affection by my colleagues.  As with many women, my most important challenge has been to combine my personal and family life with my work and within the industry, to compete on a global scale as a family business.

Pueblo Viejo tequila, Carmen Villareal, san matias
Pueblo Viejo tequila

(Mi experiencia como mujer dentro de la industria tequilera ha sido muy agradable, he recibido siempre de mis colegas muestras de respeto, apoyo y cariño. Mi reto más importante ha sido, como el de muchas mujeres, el de combinar la vida personal y familiar con el trabajo y dentro del sector el de competir en un mundo global como empresa familiar.)

TA:  How have you been able to change things within your industry?

(¿Cómo han sido capaces de cambiar las cosas dentro de su industria?)

CV:  I’ve worked vehemently to strengthen the image of quality of our house [distillery] by enlarging the brand portfolio that we offer to the market.  I’ve dreamed of achieving total growth as a company by caring for the human aspect and the social environment.

We have the satisfaction [distinction] of being the first tequila company to be certified as a “Great Place to Work” and also the first to participate in the program of the sale of carbon credits that the United Nations promotes to combat global warming.  We are in the process of certifying as a company with gender equality, and also being the first company in the tequila industry to obtain [achieve] it.

(He trabajado fuertemente por fortalecer la imagen de calidad de nuestra casa ampliando el portafolio de marcas que ofrecemos al mercado. He soñado con lograr un crecimiento integral como compañía, cuidando el aspecto humano y el entorno social.

Casa San Matías, Carmen Villareal, san matias
Casa San Matías

(Tenemos la satisfacción de ser la primera empresa tequilera en certificarse como un “Great Place to Work” y también la primera en participar en el programa de venta de bonos de carbono que promueve la ONU para combatir el sobrecalentamiento global. Estamos en proceso de la certificación de empresas con equidad de género, siendo también la primera en la industria tequilera en obtenerlo.)

TA:  What do you see as the future of women working within the Tequila Industry?

(¿Qué ves como el futuro de las mujeres que trabajan en la industria del Tequila?)

CV:  Fortunately, [I see] the doors of the industry have opened for women.  Every time there is more participation and recognition for the work we carry out.  Without a doubt, I expect the future for women to be very promising, especially in the areas of research, product development, quality [control], bottling, administration and marketing.

(Afortunadamente veo que las puertas de la industria se han abierto para las mujeres, cada vez hay más participación y reconocimiento al trabajo que desempeñamos. Espero sin duda que el futuro será muy prometedor para las mujeres, especialmente en las áreas de investigación, desarrollo de productos, calidad, envasado, administración y mercadotecnia.)

TA:  What things would you like to see changed?

Rey Sol Extra Añejo, Carmen Villareal, san matias
Rey Sol Extra Añejo

(¿Qué cosas gustaría cambiado?)

CV:  There are lots of things I’d like to see changed.

I’d like to see an industry that could vertically integrate itself with the agricultural sector, achieving  a way to generate wealth for the land, the rural communities and for the industrialists.

I’d like to see the continued support of the participation of women in the industry, that we evolve to support them with more flexibility in programs and childcare.

I would love to see the Tequila category as one of the strongest in the world renowned for its quality.

(Hay muchas cosas que me gustaría cambiar…

(Me gustaría ver a una industria que pudiera integrarse verticalmente con el sector agrícola, logrando encontrar la forma de generar riqueza para el campo, para las comunidades rurales y para los industriales.

Carmessí, Carmen Villareal, san matias
Carmessí, made for adventuresome women.

(Quisiera que siguiéramos apoyando la participación de las mujeres en la industria, que evolucionáramos para apoyarlas más con flexibilidad en programas y cuidado de los niños.

(Me encantaría ver al Tequila cómo una de las categorías más fuertes en el mundo, reconocida por su calidad.)

TA:  Is there anything you’d like to say to women who may be contemplating entering and working in the Tequila Industry in one form or another?

(¿Existe algo que le gustaría decir a las mujeres que pueden estar contemplando entrar y trabajar en la industria del Tequila en una forma u otra?)

CV:  I’d like to tell them to believe in themselves, in their potential.  The industry needs the participation of professional, talented and dedicated women to contribute to the growth of the sector.

(Me gustaría decirles que crean en ellas, en su potencial, que la industria está necesitada de la participación de mujeres profesionales, talentosas y dedicadas para contribuir al crecimiento del sector.)


Follow Casa San Matías (via Pueblo Viejo) on Facebook.

Follow them on Twitter @CasaSanMatiasUS


Never miss and article or review again – Subscribe now!

* indicates required

Email Format

View previous newsletters.


Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!