One hundred years ago pulque owned 86% of the alcoholic beverages market, today it is a booming and increasingly sought-after company.
“El rey del Pulque” was a compadre of Porfirio Díaz and a close friend of Rivas Mercado.
The CDMX has always been an important consumer of pulque, it was here that the golden age of the ancestral drink was activated during the Porfiriato, that time of importation of European fashions was also the moment in which the pulque industry prospered as never before in its history by the introduction of the railroad, the still alive haciendas with vast labor force and the expertise of Ignacio Torres Adalid, “the king of pulque”.
The King of Pulque
Pulque is an ancient drink, but why did it become so famous in those days? The reason is the vision of a man, Ignacio Torres Adalid, who turned a marginal drink into everyone’s favorite soldiers, peons, fashionably dressed ladies and proud politicians, how? Very easy: putting it within reach.
Torres Adalid was close to the group of “scientists “, politicians who favored the introduction and foreign investment in the modernization of the country, for example, they supported the extension of the railway system? And there Don Nacho saw the opportunity, “the business”: The use of the train would allow you to carry the drink everywhere and without spoiling.
Also a friend and compadre of Porfirio Díaz, obtaining concessions and permits seems to have been no problem for him, however, many times he attacked without fear with any politician who impeded the growth of the industry that he wanted to develop in a big way. He competed with his own mentor, Olegario Molina, a magnate of the henequen industry.
Don Ignacio Torres Adalid made San Antonio Ometusco, Hidalgo, the most important, prosperous and successful pulquera hacienda of the Porfiriato crowning him as “the king of pulque” known for having an irascible character that helped him move in very competitive circles, he was a real character who frequented the Jockey Club, the Peralvillo racecourse, the opera and the theater.
“El Rey del pulque” led the pre-Hispanic drink to be listed on the stock exchanges of England and New York during the first years of the 20th century, it came to own 72 pulque farms and was the supplier of most of the 817 pulquerías in that moment there was in the CDMX. It is not difficult to imagine that she achieved great fortune, what happened to her?
Ignacio Torres Adalid
It would not be wrong to think that like any rich man of the time the “king of pulque” enjoyed all that money that he made with the effort of the peons, but other things are said about him, for example, that with the Country people were a kind and respectful man, even a bit of a joker, they called the magueys “green cows.”
Ignacio Torres Adalid was born in Mexico City in 1835, as a young man he was wasteful and fond of gambling, but in his adult life everything changed, even his closest friends had him as a man of bad character, apparently affected by the havoc he left in your body polio. One of those friends was the famous architect Antonio Rivas Mercado.
It was Rivas Mercado who built his house in CDMX, during the construction he met his wife, Juana Rivas Mercado, who used to be accompanied by her sister Antonieta Rivas Mercado, another of his brothers would play a very important role in Torres’ life. Champion and the future of your wealth.
Ignacio Torres Adalid distinguished himself by being an honest man, although privileged by his social position, which he took advantage of, he had another great success in his life that would contrast with his nickname, he made private assistance possible during the Porfiriato. While he was known as a tight-fisted man, every penny he claimed in the canister spheres of business turned him into help. “The king of pulque” had very different fame within his estates in which decorum was mandatory, humiliation did not take place among his workers who paid for burials, took care of orphans, that the children of his laborers to educate themselves (as much as could be done in those days in the country) and to support health.
Also known as Don Nacho, on Sundays he charged 25 cents to people who wanted to know his La Castañeda ranch, in Mixcoac, a fact that for some were part of their desire for money, but in reality, it was one more effort to give to those who had helped him build his empire. Ignacio Torres Adalid was part of the so-called “pulque aristocracy” along with Escandón and Mancera, who never came to have the leading role that he had in the industry and much less did acts of great philanthropy such as “the king of pulque” who created a great foundation that bore his name.
After the Revolution, when big businessmen ran out of the country, Torres Adalid stayed, held public positions during the Huerta government, so when everyone related to him began to be persecuted, the pulquero magnate had to start packing suitcases.
The Revolution had already taken away much of his wealth, even affecting his foundation, the battles in Hidalgo had destroyed his estate to such a degree that it had to be abandoned, and even so, Ignacio Torres Adalid had a significant sum of money and assets that he decided to leave behind. Mexico for charity, for which he appointed his brother-in-law Juan Rivas Mercado as executor.
“The king of pulque” spent his last days at the Campoamor hotel in Havana, he died on September 23, 1914, at the age of 78. Sometime later his nephew Javier Torres Rivas buried him in the Panteón Francés de la Piedad in Mexico City, along with the remains of his wife.