Review of Ilana Edelstein’s The Patron Way by Lisa Pietsch

the patron way, tequila, ilana edelsteinBusiness Narrative, Marketing Manual, or Romance?

Described as a “deeply personal business narrative,” the story centers around the development from the ground up of Patrón tequila, a “brand that single-handedly changed the face of the liquor industry,” by its co-founder, Martin Crowley, and as told by his then young and lively life partner, Ilana Edelstein.  

Tequila is by far my spirit of choice.  I’ve loved it for decades, and I still love learning by tasting more tequilas and by researching its fascinating history.  That’s why when the offer to preview Ilana Edelstein’s new book, The Patron Way, came across my desk, I jumped at the opportunity.

I wasn’t fooled by the above description, however. In fact, I’m not even a fan of Patron Tequila.

Drinking it is an unsettling experience for me, though I do understand the big batch Patron Tequila available today is a different product than the one the partners Martin Crowley and Jon Paul DeJoria fell in love with years ago.  I simply wanted to learn about the early days of one of the biggest brands ever.

A Lifestyle Business

Yes, business is a key player in this story.  At a time when the term “Lifestyle Business” had yet to be coined, Patron was just that.  Ilana Edelstein and Martin Crowley, along with J.P. and Eloise DeJoria, lived that lifestyle and created the Patron brand around it.

The DeJorias had money and plenty of Hollywood connections.  Martin Crowley had hustle and Ilana had an instinctive, albeit racy, style.  The combination was magic.

Great juice, sexy presentation of the distinctive bottle with the green ribbon, and even sexier presenters in a time when using gorgeous women to promote liquor was a novel idea.

Today, products and celebrities are branded intentionally and strategically.  By contrast, the Patron brand grew organically through the millionaire lifestyle lived by J.P. and his gorgeous wife, Eloise, and guided by the hustle and determination of the rough-around-the edges Martin Crowley and his bombshell lover, Ilana Edelstein, who softened his brash approach to business.

Having a background in branding and marketing, I understood all that. I’m a novelist with a degree in business who pays her rent with marketing work.

It made perfect sense – top end lifestyle and top shelf tequila.  But, what captivated me was the love story.

*Spoiler Alert*

ilana edelstein, the patron way, tequila

The Patron Way is the tragic story of a thirteen-year love affair between Martin Crowley and Ilana Edelstein that ended when ego, greed, and lawyers got in the way.

Ilana was making a great living as a financial advisor to school teachers.  When Martin asked her to give it all up and work with him full-time on Patron, she didn’t hesitate to accept.  He didn’t offer her shares, a paycheck or a wedding ring, only the opportunity to continue their love affair living the glamorous lifestyle they both enjoyed.

She was madly in love with him and, by all accounts, he with her.  What more could two lovers want than a business they could build together?  Why wouldn’t she accept?

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Lisa Pietsch is the Chief Operations Officer of Tequila Aficionado Media, a USAF veteran, a multi-published novelist and freelance writer, a social media marketing consultant, and the mother of two boys. She has a passion for good tequila, foreign languages, and travel in all forms. Lisa currently makes her home in San Antonio, Texas.