Tag Archives: blanco

Rancho La Joya Tequila–Roberto Sanchez del Toro

Rancho La Joya blanco and reposado.

Rancho La Joya blanco and reposado.

Passion:  The A Game

To say that Roberto Sanchez del Toro, exclusive importer and brand developer of Rancho La Joya tequila (NOM 1555) has endured adversity would be an understatement.  To say that he has survived his life’s challenges, thus far, with grace and his boyish charm still intact would be putting it mildly.

San Antonio, Texas, resident, Roberto was a young high school student when, due to immigration reasons, he was forced to manage the family’s thriving tamale husk production business while his parents were temporarily out of the country.

Then, as a sophomore at St. Mary’s University, he decided to create his own tequila business only to suffer defeat at the hands of the merciless Texas spirits retail and distribution industries.

Fast forward to 2013…

Roberto Sanchez del Toro, importer of Rancho La Joya tequila.

Roberto Sanchez del Toro, importer of Rancho La Joya tequila.

A rabid lifelong San Antonio Spurs fan, it was during a hard fought pick up basketball game that Roberto took a knee to the groin.  A subsequent doctor’s exam revealed the shocking news that he was suffering from advanced testicular cancer followed by surgery and three months of chemotherapy while simultaneously reviving his failed tequila business.

All of this before the age of 24!

In this clip, Sanchez del Toro, following in his parents’ entrepreneurial footsteps, learns the pitfalls of the tequila business firsthand…

 

Here, Roberto recalls the start of 2013…

 

 

A shrewd businessman even in college, Sanchez del Toro, now with a degree in International Business, kept the lines of communication open with the García family, third generation Highlands agave producers of Rancho La Joya tequila.

Roberto takes us through the tequila’s process…

 

 

Even though the distillery has a large output capacity to meet demand, Roberto discusses what the ramifications of the current agave shortage could mean to the producers of tequila Rancho La Joya.

 

 

[To learn more about Rancho La Joya’s production techniques, click here.]

 

The new look of Rancho La Joya tequila.

The new look of Rancho La Joya tequila.

 

Along with partner, Mike Garcia, a successful San Antonio technology marketing executive (no relation to the agave producing and distilling family), and a team of consultants as guides, Roberto Sanchez del Toro, now 25, has a clean bill of health and is ready for the long haul with his newly revamped Rancho La Joya tequila, as well as having taken over the reigns of the family enterprise.

With a redesigned bottle that more accurately represents the juice inside, and the promise of statewide distribution from Glazer’s, Roberto is anxious to turn his initial sales call rejections into inspired action within the state of Texas, the second largest consumer of tequila, and beyond.

Why Tequila?

Of all the start up businesses Roberto could have chosen, he explains in the following segment why he selected tequila.

The Five Year Plan

Roberto describes where he sees Rancho La Joya Tequila in five years.

 

Rancho La Joya is available in blanco and reposado expressions.  Plans are in the works for a 36 month aged añejo to be called Diamante that will be marketed with branded stemmed glassware.

Roberto Sanchez del Toro cheers on his beloved Spurs.

Roberto Sanchez del Toro cheers on his beloved Spurs.

At this time, only the following local restaurants and bars carry Rancho La Joya…

La Fogata, Mi Tierra Café & Bakery, SoLuna, Rio Rio Cantina, Stetson Bar, Ice Lounge.

Like the San Antonio Spurs, who are currently battling in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, Roberto Sanchez del Toro has proven that bringing your “A” Game and passion into everything you do invariably results in a winning record.

***

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Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine–Tequila With Intention

On a frigid and damp Saturday night in November 2013, Roger Clyne, along with his band The Peacemakers, invited Tequila Aficionado Media to an intimate concert at Billy’s Ice House in New Braunfels, TX. 

Click here for Part 1 of our visit with Roger Clyne.

***

“The planet does not need more ‘successful people.’  The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds….” H.H. The Dalai Lama

JollyRahjahFrom the day that Bing Crosby carted his first bottles of Herradura across the dusty border from Mexico, tequila and popular music have been willing confederates.  After well over fifty years, modern recording stars like Carlos Santana, Justin Timberlake, Diddy, Billy Gibbons and others continue to tout their own tequila brands, either openly or quietly as part of investment groups.

But one recording artist does so both openly and somewhat quietly–Roger Clyne.

Shivering in the cold outside the Peacemakers’ eco-friendly tour bus, I recalled a conversation that I had had earlier with my good friend, Jason Silverman, Agave Beverage Manager at the famous Agave Bar & Restaurant in New York City.  He’d met Roger a few weeks earlier during the band’s New York swing and remarked that he was one of the coolest and most down-to-earth guys in the music and tequila business.

Once we climbed aboard, we were warmly met by heat (thank goodness!), dimmed lighting, and soft flamenco guitar music that instantly set the tone for a relaxing one-on-one with the only award winning tequila brand owner (Gold Medal at the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition for Mexican Moonshine añejo) set to launch another highly anticipated indy album (The Independent premiered April 29, 2014).

 Rich gonna reap, Poor gotta sow…How we gonna make bread without any dough?

Being frank, open and honest, much like his lyrics, here Roger offers us a look into what it takes to bring his start up tequila onto the market to compete with big name brands.  As you’ll agree, it’s very similar to the indy music business.

Hello raindrop, hello sea…Hello jungle, leaf on the tree…Hello new day!

Possibly due to his early ranching heritage in Arizona, Clyne has pledged that the Peacemakers would walk softly upon the Earth while on tour.  He believed that his tequila factory should have the same respect for nature.

In this clip, Roger reveals his reasons for selecting Fabrica de Tequilas Finos (NOM 1472) as the producer of Mexican Moonshine tequila.  Foremost was the distillery’s efforts at environmental responsibility and vinazas clean up.

Screw-top wine, Rhythm and rhyme…My moonshine in a plastic cupBehind_Moonshine

Once referred to as the “Bruce Springsteen of the Southwest,” Roger’s rock n’ roll persona is often misinterpreted.  While he admits to playing as hard as he works, Clyne is a conscientious catador, learning from his mentors at Tequilas Finos, owner Federico Cabo and Master Distiller, Arturo Fuentes.

In these next clips, Roger Clyne gets up close and personal with his fans and concert goers at Billy’s Ice House in New Braunfels, TX, as he conducts his own tequila tasting of Mexican Moonshine.

Still a student of life, as well as tequila, in this snippet, we discuss proper tasting practices and the Vinturi aerator.

Hey Cantinero!

jason silverman, mixology, roger clyne, mexican moonshine

Jason Silverman, mixologist and fan of Roger Clyne – the man, the musician, and his Moonshine

 

With mixology driving the spirits industry and specially made cocktails being the new world order, Roger Clyne gives his thoughts on mixing with Mexican Moonshine.

Here, Clyne recounts his New York visit with Agave Beverage Manager, Jason Silverman, of the trendy Agave Bar & Restaurant.

So how does Roger Clyne relax after a long day on the road?  Try his signature drink, the Cheat-a-Rita!

And everything’s slowin’ down flowin’ counterclockwise

Throughout his journey, Roger Clyne has successfully handled life’s curveballs.

Circus_Mexicus

Circus Mexicus, a weekend beach party jam session in the sleepy town of Puerto Peñasco, Mexico

Whether it was pursuing a music career independent of the support of corporate record labels, or organizing Circus Mexicus, a weekend beach party jam session in the sleepy town of Puerto Peñasco, Mexico that has turned into a four day music festival, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers have deliberately taken “the road less traveled.”

This same thoughtful path can be savored in each of his Mexican Moonshine expressions, and can surely be enjoyed in the melodies and lyrics of the band’s latest CD, The Independent.

If you feel that your own life decisions are turning your world counterclockwise, let these storytellers restore your soul and your taste buds, and heal your love for life.

After all, that was their original intention.

***

Enjoy this video of Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers’ hit, Counterclockwise…

Speaking of curveballs…

Amigos

M.A. “Mike” Morales and Roger Clyne posing for a picture after an amazing evening of tastings and interview

 

 

On April 29, 2014, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers will unleash their seventh studio album, The Independent.  The title fits these musical mavericks like an old pair of faded jeans worn as a statement against oppression on Casual Fridays.   Yet, as Clyne states, “There’s something about our music that celebrates what’s uniting versus what’s dividing.”

independent

Click on the image to pre-order The Independent now (Release April 29, 2014).

Using this “Tequila Logic,” Roger Clyne has managed to do the same with Mexican Moonshine, gently hitching the spirit’s Lowland agave heritage to the wood notes of Kentucky bourbon to create a peacemaker that rightfully belongs in any collector’s arsenal.

Mexican Moonshine, Mexican Moonshine…Let your heart and your cup overflow, under the glow of the moonshine!  May your heart and your cup… Overflow…under the glow of the Moonshine!

Click here for Part 1 of our visit with Roger Clyne.

Visit Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers online now

Visit Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers online now

 

 

mex moonshine

Visit Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine online now

.

 

 

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Falling Under the Spell of Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine Tequila

On a frigid and damp Saturday night in November 2013, Roger Clyne, along with his band The Peacemakers, invited Tequila Aficionado Media to an intimate concert and tequila tasting at Billy’s Ice House in New Braunfels, TX, to talk music, heritage, and his tequila, Mexican Moonshine.

***

Hey, gringos, it could be worse…we did not get there first

Colt_Peacemaker

The Colt Single Action Army, also known as the Peacemaker, is considered a famous part of Americana. “The Gun That Won the West” was wielded by such action-oriented historical legends of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as Buffalo Bill Cody, Theodore Roosevelt, Judge Roy Bean, Pat Garrett and General George Patton.  It has also been the selected sidearm of Hollywood movies, preferred by everyone from John Wayne to Clint Eastwood in every single Dirty Harry film.  And in 2011, it was declared the official firearm of the state of Arizona. Arizona is also home to another piece of Americana–a guts and guitar driven, reggae and mariachi laced, roots based rock-n-roll band leyenda known as Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers.  Armed with expressive lyrics, evocative melodies and four part harmonies, these straight shooters have come to redefine the indie music landscape by being the first band to debut six consecutive albums in the Top Ten of Billboard Magazine’s Internet Sales chart. Along the way, Clyne has gathered a burgeoning cult following that rivals that of Sammy Hagar and Jimmy Buffet–both themselves very successful tequila front men.

I fell under the spell when I stumbled over the line…

The full line-up of Roger Clyne's Mexican Moonshine.

Many aficionados roll their eyes when news of another celebrity endorsed tequila hits the liquor store shelves.  But Roger Clyne came upon his admiration for agave spirits early in life as part of his Southwestern ranching heritage, predating even his love for writing music and performing.

Roger was first introduced to scotch as a teenager by his grandfather who would pour him a dram to “put hair on your chest.”  The taste of “dirty socks in mud” was tough to swallow, but it was his father’s sharing of bacanora, another agave distillate, that opened him up to the wonders of Mexican spirits, and in particular, tequila. Like most of us, Clyne cut his teeth by shooting cheap mixto tequila in college, then swearing off of it until the next opportunity to overindulge.  He was well into his studies (psychology and anthropology) at Arizona State University when he rediscovered that “bright, wonderful, elegant, lyrical taste” of tequila during an exchange program in Ensenada, Mexico, while following a troop of mariachis.

 

It’s surreal, sublime, manmade and divine…it’s the moonshine….

Lyrics on the shipping box of Roger Clyne's Mexican Moonshine.

Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine tequila was born in true outlaw fashion in 2004 during the famed Circus Mexicus music festival that takes place annually in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico (Rocky Point, for you ex-pats).

Check out the Circus Mexicus Lineup for 2014 here.

Circus Mexicus 2014.After that initial experience, Roger began scouting for factories to produce Mexican Moonshine, a journey that would even take him to the famed La Cofradía distillery (NOM 1137), the home of Casa Noble and Montejima tequilas.

He finally selected Fabrica de Tequilas Finos (NOM 1472) and forged a relationship with the distillery owner, Federico Cabo, and Master Distiller, Arturo Fuentes.  Together, the team first “dropped” Mexican Moonshine reposado onto the market in 2010, even though Clyne was advised against such commercial suicide due to historically poor sales of this expression.

Soak in the silvery light spillin’ out tonight from the moonshine…

 

In this clip, Roger pours and discusses Mexican Moonshine silver…

 

We’ll get a fine flow flowin’, a good glow goin’…

 

Believing that a reposado is the more definitive expression of tequila, Clyne was surprised when Master Distiller, Arturo Fuentes suggested that Mexican Moonshine be aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels.  Here, Roger explains further.

 

 

I got a healin’ home-brewed remedy, a low-brow therapy…

 

Award winning Mexican Moonshine añejo.

A Gold Medal winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2014, Mexican Moonshine añejo  was released in 2013 and is fast becoming Roger Clyne’s favorite expression, much to his chagrin.  In the following snippet, Roger breaks down its flavor profile.

 

Turn your back on all the deadlines…

 

On April 29, 2014, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers will unleash their seventh studio album, The Independent.  The title fits these musical mavericks like an old pair of faded jeans worn as a statement against oppression on Casual Fridays.   Yet, as Clyne states, “There’s something about our music that celebrates what’s uniting versus what’s dividing.”

independent

Click on the image to pre-order The Independent now (Release April 29, 2014).

Using this “Tequila Logic,” Roger Clyne has managed to do the same with Mexican Moonshine, gently hitching the spirit’s Lowland agave heritage to the wood notes of Kentucky bourbon to create a peacemaker that rightfully belongs in any collector’s arsenal.

Mexican Moonshine, Mexican Moonshine…Let your heart and your cup overflow, under the glow of the moonshine!  May your heart and your cup… Overflow…under the glow of the Moonshine!

See Part 2 of our visit with Roger Clyne here!

Visit Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers online now

Visit Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers online now

 

 

mex moonshine

Visit Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine online now

.
 

 

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Change is at Hand for the Tequila Market, Part I

tequila market, masa azulPart I of II

Written by Chris Zarus of TequilaRack

Tequila Brands and Producers Have Already Sailed Into the Sucker Hole

For those new to the expression, a “sucker hole” is a colloquial term referring to a spate of good weather that “suckers” sailors into leaving port just in time for a storm to resume at full force and wreak havoc on the ship and crew.

For both Tequila Brand Owners and producers of a certain size, their ship has already sailed, and the storm is now closing in on them. Some in denial, others looking through rose-colored margarita glasses, still believe they can navigate through to that glimmer of light on the horizon. However, the perfect storm of doom looms just past the horizon of hope, and will soon envelope and destroy most, if not all, in its wake.

Oh, and that’s the good news. The bad news is that only a few of the big and the very nimble will survive.

This is because of a number of factors, primarily that too many of us bought in to the Yankelovich and similar studies that declared premium and above 100% Agave Tequila brands as the next big thing.

While the premises of these market premonitions were undoubtedly true, too many of us jumped headfirst into the juice just before the world economic decline. Six hundred brands have turned into 1200 brands in less than five years. The growth of the market has been dramatic compared with other distilled spirits, yet, it’s still relatively small, ranked only 4th in US volume. It has not grown fast enough to accommodate all of the entries into the field.

Resistance is Futile – Change is at Hand for the Tequila Market

train wreckThe Gravy Train Wreck Ahead

I’m sure that for many of you, in just reading the title of this article, your blood pressure has escalated, and you may already be misdirecting your anger at the author.

For others who have experienced the many similar economic paths to consolidation in the global beverage industry, you have already accepted that change has to occur, and you will soon better understand and appreciate the math behind what I am about to lay out, and why everything I’m about to outline here will happen in due course.

For those of you who have your personal fortunes riding on the Tequila Train, both prominence and profit may still seem to be so close that you think you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, or beyond the next bend. But, I’m sorry to say that for most of us in the biz, the light at the end of the tunnel is that of an oncoming locomotive. This will be a catastrophic collision, albeit in slow motion, that will drain your resources and your resolve.

iwsrWhat can be learned from the Russians? (Excerpted from JustDrinks.com)

The global economic crisis has had a significant impact on the Russian spirits market, changing market dynamics and briefly halting the much-lauded premiumisation trend, according to current research.

A recently released report from the International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR) on Russia’s spirits market claims that the downturn has also led to “…disruptions across the supply chain, with many suppliers and distributors going bankrupt or halting production. For healthier companies, however, it has presented an opening to establish their brands and take market share…”

cloud liningThe Silver Tequila Clouds have a very Dark Lining (Excerpted from Global market review of Tequila – forecasts to 2013 www.researchandmarkets.com )

The history of the Tequila industry has been one of boom and bust. Sales rose during the 1940’s only to collapse again in the mid-50’s. Export sales rose steadily from the 1960’s onward, although domestic sales fell sharply in the 1980’s due again to an economic slump, and the severe Mexican economic crisis of the early 1980’s resulted in plummeting sales.

The market was again disrupted by a critical shortage of Agave beginning in the late ’90’s, which served to hold back the category’s international development as brand owners were forced to divert limited supplies to the core US market, and quality perceptions were damaged as some manufacturers moved from 100% to 51% (Mixto) Agave products.

Today, that dynamic is in reverse, and the market is in oversupply. More and more 100% Agave products are coming into the market. This is helping to raise quality perceptions, and in turn, demand is surging not only in core Mexican and US markets but across a number of other countries.

The outlook for the category has rarely been better, and Casa Noble Tequila president and COO David Ravandi commented, “Tequila is entering a stage of consolidation in the world markets. It is no longer a fad. The fact that 100% Agave Tequila exports have increased tremendously over the last two years is extremely positive for the product’s outlook in the years to come.”

US Tequila Importation is a Sucker Bet

tequila history, santa fe“My cousin will make the best Tequila for you Mr. Gringo”

“So, my friend, you want a great Tequila brand? We will make it for you. Just fifty percent cash up front to start the process.”

Unfortunately, far too many have fallen for this old gag. Relying heavily on the forecasting reports of the early 2000’s that suggested that luxury Tequila would be the next big spirits category after vodka.

With dollar signs in their eyes, the believers drank the Tequila Kool-Aid, most of them spending way too much to buy a brand, custom molded bottles, etc. But the worst part was that this left little if any money for marketing. Many did not even understand brand marketing inflation was happening right under their noses.

It had started soon after Patron hit 100,000 cases in volume in 2001, and the cost to market a Tequila brand in the US went from $1 to $10M per year. Today it takes at least $20M per year just to play in the same ballpark as Patron’s $50M plus, Sauza’s $35M plus, and Cuervo’s $30M plus marketing budgets.

Who could have predicted that a “realistic” business plan for the next successful ultra-premium Tequila brand calling for only 10,000 cases in the first year would end in it’s investors taking a bath?

The problem with this equation is three-fold:

1) Pricing: Unlike vodka and white rum, 100% Agave Tequila is just too expensive to produce and bottle in Mexico. Unless, like rum, vodka and mixto Tequila, it is able to be shipped in bulk and bottled near the final consumer, the cost involved with 100% Agave Tequila is always going to be too high to attain critical volume and profit levels.

2) Volume: US mass volumes are best when a spirits category is between $9.99-29.99/750ml. One hundred percent Agave Tequila is currently profitable only at the upper ranges when higher volumes are attained.

3) Distribution: The US “3-Tier” Distribution System is at best an oligopoly, and 19 states run a monopoly. Of the 1200 plus Tequila brands, want to guess how many they want to carry? Well, after the top 20, you are very lucky to be “special order only”. If you are fortunate enough to live in the states of California or Arizona, where one can be both the importer and distributor, you will find yourself driving your precious Tequila brand around to each account in your car.

Without product volumes or market clout, you will be hard pressed to get even an appointment, let alone a vender number with the chain restaurants and grocery stores. These major chain stores like Chili’s, Chevy’s, Costco, Kroger, etc., drive at least 85% of the combined volume in all but the control states. Without access to the chains, your market becomes the handful of privately owned, “Mom & Pop” accounts that usually know that small independent distributors are easy prey for bending the law on consignment, stringing out payments, or not paying at all.

While driving your own brand around certainly makes time for the personal touch and focus, these hand-selling efforts prove to be the most inefficient ways to distribute one Tequila brand. Your glass ceiling to fame and fortune becomes that next level of chain distribution that can only be had by a state-wide delivery system of the large wholesale distributor.

With Tequila segment Pricing, Volume and Distribution all against you, one will need to have a lot more money than the brands of the past in order to simply survive in the US.

Tanks-a-lot for Nothing

Call the tank maker and raise your stocks of liquid now!

no masUnfortunately, most of the mid-sized Tequila distilleries have bought into the notion that Agave prices will go up in the very near future. They base this notion on the boom and bust cycle of the past, and like Lehman Brothers, believe that they have successfully timed the market.

Greedily, many producers are now mortgaged to the hilt in order to produce all the Tequila that they possibly can afford to store in stainless tanks or wooden barrels. Fear of the impending Agave price increase that has yet to happen (and may not for many, many years) has seemingly forced them all into a squirrel-like stockpiling frenzy.

Are they storing Blanco, like acorns, for the hard winter ahead? These stored nuts of liquid demise are in reality winds conspiring to produce the perfect storm for all but the most financially secure and/or nimble producers.

Copyright 2010 International Tasting Group (ITG), All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, ITG is the legal copyright holder of the material on our blog and it may not be used, reprinted, or published without our written consent.

Links

SPIRITS TRENDS

U.S. Spirits Market 2008, Gross Revenues by Price Category

http://www.discus.org/pdf/2009IndustryBriefing.pdf (This is the most recent report by DISCUS for 2009. Tequila volume is still listed as 4th.)

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Spirits+fast+track+brands.-a0144204154 (shows Patrón reaching 119K cases in volume in 2001.)

http://archive.cyark.org/2012-understanding-the-maya-calendars-blog

http://www.forgottenagesresearch.com/index.htm

http://www.nostradamus.org

http://www.oceanfreightusa.com/topic_impg.php?ch=19 (Bonded warehouses.)

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/02/09/tequila-agriculture.html (agave farmers)

http://www.yankelovich.com/ (state of the consumer)

tequilarack

Originally posted October 1, 2010 by Chris Zarus of TequilaRack.  This is considered a standard in the industry and is even more relevant today.

Please visit TequilaRack, a member of the Tequila Aficionado Flight of Sites.

 

 

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Sipping off the Cuff: Suavecito Blanco

Suavecito Blanco

Tequila Aficionado’s Alex Perez and Mike Morales taste and discuss Suavecito Blanco tequila.

Suavecito Tequila is produced from mountain grown Agaves containing the highest concentration of sugar possible. it is is 100% Puro de Agave and is combined with the perfect amount of Agave nectar at bottling to produce a Tequila that can be enjoyed straight or in your favorite margarita recipe.

 

Suavecito Blanco

 

 

Find Suavecito Infused Tequilas online at http://suavecitospirits.com/

 

From the Suavecito website:

Mountain Grown

Our Blue Agave is grown in the red soil of the mountains of Jalisco, Mexico. These Highlands are particularly well suited to growing the Suavecito Blue Agaves. Our plants are slightly smaller, contain less water and produce a higher quality sugar.

Distilled Only Once

We start with quality ingredients. We staff a team of growers that regularly test the soil to ensure only the best of growing conditions. Suavecito needs to be distilled only once to produce a smooth and 100% authentic taste.

Rested in American Oak Barrels

Different barrels contribute unique flavors and distinct characteristics. Suavecito is rested in specially selected American Oak barrels to ensure that it’s 100% smooth.

Sipping off the Cuff(tm) began as an audio podcast in 2006 and is Tequila Aficionado’s first and longest running tequila review program. Sipping off the Cuff is broadcast every Friday (and occasionally Tuesdays) on YouTube and TequilaAficionado.com. If you are a Tequila, Mezcal or Sotol brand owner and would like yourproduct(s) reviewed on an upcoming episode of Sipping off the Cuff, please contact Mike@TequilaAficionado.com.

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