Tequila is also, believe it or not, a real town. Located about an hour away by car from Guadalajara, Mexico, Tequila (the town) is home to the previously mentioned volcano and the origins of alcoholic drinks made with the agave plant. After the brutal colonization of Mexico by Spain, Mexicans began working on improving the fermented plant's recipe, eventually hitting a drink we now know as mezcal-- a Nahuatl word meaning "cooked agave." While mezcal was made in other parts of Mexico too, the town of Tequila's mezcal was becoming extremely popular due to the nature of the volcanic location the agave plants were growing near.
Historically, one of the very first companies to begin mass production of tequila is Jose Cuervo. In 1758, the King of Spain granted Jose Antonio de Cuervo lands to begin blue agave cultivation, and not long after, Carlos IV of Spain granted a concession for the commercial production of tequila. By the 1800s, the "mezcal of Tequila" gained a little more popularity, eventually being known as tequila (and even established as a different product from mezcal). The Jose Cuervo Distillery was established in 1812, and by 1880, Cuervo introduced the first bottles of tequila. The real tequila comes from the town Tequila and is made only from a specific type of agave, the Weber blue agave.
Most versions of what people (and celebrities) call tequilas in the market are just mezcals, but it seems more and more common for both the celebrities with tequila brands and their audiences to callously not care about the difference. It's also important to note that all tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila.
Nowadays, the tequila industry has grown in unimaginable ways, with everyone wanting to join in on the $$$. So much so that new tequila brands seem to be popping up every single day, and some companies are even producing "tequila-like" spirits outside of Mexico altogether. If you go inside a liquor store and check the "tequila" section, you most definitely will be overwhelmed at first. You can find anything from the popular brands like Jose Cuervo, Don Julio, Patron, to the celebrity brands like Villa One, Casamigos, and even 100% Mexican-owned brands like Clase Azul, Prospero, and La Gritona. While there are many brands that are Mexican-owned, and a lot of other very globally popular brands work with distilleries, workers, and agave farm owners in Mexico, these lesser-known brands can sometimes be written off and put on the back shelf or just completely ignored.