Jaclyn Jacquez considers herself an adelita, of sorts.
Adelitas were female solders (soldaderas) who were a vital force during the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900s, fighting alongside men. As President of Don Cuco Sotol, she spearheads a sixth generation company producing a spirit steeped in 800 years of history.
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and raised in El Paso, Texas and Chihuahua, Mexico, this charming but fierce warrior woman is more than armed with a masters degree in International Business from the American College of Switzerland. Under her leadership, the company trademarked its brand name, exported it first into New Mexico, and now, into New Zealand where it is gaining the attention of bars and restaurants specializing in serving handcrafted Mexican spirits-based cocktails.
In an industry where the image and story behind a spirit is crucial for its marketing success, Jaclyn and the entire Jacquez family, staunchly refuse to stray from their artisanal roots. Opting instead to concentrate on honoring their culture and way of life in the Sonoran Desert, they have managed to capture its essence inside every bottle of Don Cuco Sotol.
As I related to author, Tom Barry, in his stellar article “A Sotol Story” (it may be bad form to quote oneself, but I’ll do so here), “There is no mistaking that Don Cuco Sotol is produced–handcrafted, micro-distilled–and lovingly brought into the market by the Jacquez family.”
A revolutionary spirit fronted by a soldadera, Jaclyn Jacquez most certainly belongs among the ranks of Tequila Boss Ladies.
To repeat, we asked a short list of five questions to prominent women leading the charge for change in the Tequila Industry and beyond.
Interview with Don Cuco Sotol’s President, Jaclyn Jacquez.
TA: How would you describe your experiences as a high ranking woman in your position in a primarily male dominated industry?
JJ: To be in a male dominated industry has been an empowering feeling. The liquor industry is starting to realize the great power of influence women have in this business. Not only do we have influence in advertisement and marketing but we are playing a major role in strategic business decisions at an international level.
TA: How have you been able to change things within your industry?
JJ: The sotol industry had played a major role during Mexico’s revolutionary times just as the women called ” Adelitas” did during that period. Now its challenge, and my challenge, is to revolutionize everyone’s cocktail with this spirit.
My heritage is from Chihuahua and I, too, carry that northern revolutionary spirit within me. I don’t think I’ve made a change in this industry, yet, but Sotol is a revolutionary drink and I’m just part of its heritage.
I just happen to be the “Adelita.”
TA: What do you see as the future of women working within the Tequila/Sotol Industry?
JJ: I see huge potential for women and the liquor industry itself.
I see women not only in the marketing aspect of it, but in the agriculture, business, social conscious awareness of it and education. I see women taking this challenging industry to a much higher level where people will not only be asking for just well drinks but for a cocktail with a specific brand of sotol or tequila.
TA: What things would you like to see changed?
I want people to understand that tequila and sotol are not just another alcoholic beverage to drink. It is more than that. It is culture, art, and a spirit that has to be treated with respect. That’s why the Ancestors called it spirits. Consumers need to research and know what they are consuming and demand it.
TA: Is there anything you’d like to say to women who may be contemplating entering and working in the Tequila/Sotol Industry in one form or another?
JJ: Yes. It’s just like any other goal. You’ve got to have passion and embrace every challenging aspect of this industry.
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