Tag Archives: Sipping Off The Cuff

The Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance Convention

What’s New

The Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance Convention successfully launched its first annual event at the Radisson Hotel & Suites in downtown Austin on August 10-11, 2014.

Primarily a show that serves the spirits industry (or trade) in Texas, for us at Tequila Aficionado Media, it was a chance to visit with new brands, products and services trying to break into the challenging Texas spirits market.

In this clip, Michael E. Klein, a spirits entrepreneur and long-time Austin businessman who spearheaded the formation of the alliance, explains its purpose.

What follows are some of the highlighted products that you should watch out for on Tequila Aficionado Media, in Texas, and beyond.

Briscas Mezcal2014-08-11 15.09.09

In the current booming mezcal market, more and more brands are appearing under the traditional higher alcoholic proofs that more established mezcals are known for.  Briscas is a refreshing libation that refuses to be confused with other gateway mezcal brands.

Ricardo Gonzales, Sales & Marketing Director for importer Moreno Spirits, gives us a quick rundown of the small batch espadín Briscas Mezcal.

Juan Moreno, President & CEO of Moreno Spirits, explains how bringing Briscas to market was a journey of discovery for himself and his family.

Surprises

The Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance Convention was not without surprises for us at Tequila Aficionado Media.

Jason Kosmas, co-founder of the 86 Company.

Jason Kosmas, co-founder of the 86 Company.

Austin resident Jason Kosmas, co-founder of the celebrated The 86 Company responsible for a brilliant line of spirits with exacting quality like our Brands Of Promise(TM) Overproof Silver Medal winning Tequila Cabeza, made an appearance in support of the event.

tbnca

L-R: Mike Morales, Jason Kosmas, John Rivers

Also exhibiting in grand style was John L. Rivers IV (a.k.a.: Juan Rios), Managing Director of Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila, a new offering from the illustrious former boxing champion.

Not only did he share with us some of this fine sipping tequila and listed its current markets, but also an exclusive photo of a super piña in the champ’s agave fields.

[Spoiler Alert!  At press time, we had not notified John about our verdict of Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila’s review on a future Sipping Off The Cuff(TM), but we let the cat out of the bag, here….]

Mixing and Matching

2014-08-11 16.02.19One of the more exciting and refreshing combos we discovered at the Texas Nightclub & Bar Alliance Convention was between Pablo Madrigali, Brand Manager with Mexcor International and Lucy Corona, co-founder of Slim Ritas, the 100 calorie fresh juice margarita mix.

Mexcor, a family owned business based in Houston, TX, has been the importer of crowd pleasing tequilas at reasonable prices from Destiladora del Valle de Tequila (NOM 1438)  for several years, including El Reformador, Cava de los Morales and Agavales.

Lucy Corona is a dynamic and spirited mother and business owner whose dream after giving birth to her children was to enjoy a satisfying and natural margarita.  So she made them herself!

Here, Rob Corona explains the birth of SlimRitas.

Here, Pablo gives a bit of Mexcor’s and Agavales’ history, and how he and Lucy joined forces.

One To Watch

2014-08-11 14.35.19 michael kleinMichael E. Klein has handed the reigns of planning future conventions to the team at San Antonio based SMC Events, and it looks to expand the tradeshow’s reach even further with more products and services participating.

Judging from the contagious energy coming from the booths of other exhibitors at the first annual Texas Nightclub & Bar Alliance Convention, the promise of bigger yearly events looks to be a sure thing.

Sipping Off The Cuff: Penasco Tequila Anejo

Tequila Aficionado’s Alex Perez & Mike Morales taste and discuss Penasco Tequila Anejo.

We apologize for the sound quality.  We’ve fixed the issue in recording and this is one of the last reviews with poor sound quality.

penasco tequila, tequila,

Visit Penasco Tequila online at TequilaPenasco.com

Follow Tequila Penasco on Facebook here.

Follow Penasco on Twitter here.

 

From their website:

Welcome to the world of Tequila through the vision of Del Bravo Imports.

We are committed to bringing you one of the finest distilled 100% blue agave tequilas on the market.

Tequila Peñasco represents quality, is named for the famed beach town located in the Mexican State of Sonora, on the sea of Cortes. Today, Tequila is one of the fastest growing liquors in the world. The direction of the growth is decidedly upscale. An entire tequila culture is being developed not just in Mexico but all over the world. Enjoyed in many countries, local pubs, neighborhood bars as well as many sophisticated restaurants around the world.

There is a large market of excellent 100% blue agave tequilas available in the range of $20 to $30. A greater quality of tequilas made of 100% blue agave in the $30 to $50 dollar range. Most all tequilas priced under $20 dollars are mass produced for local markets and export and are made from a mix of agave plants.
For the enjoyment of our beloved loyal Tequila drinkers; Tequila Peñasco is enjoyed in the USA in Arizona, Texas and South Carolina, as well as 3 northern states of Mexico, Sonora, Chihuahua and Baja. Let your senses be your guide! DISCOVER THE DIFFERENCE…

 


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Sipping Off The Cuff: Penasco Tequila Reposado

Alexander Perez and M.A. “Mike” Morales taste and discuss Penasco Tequila Reposado.

We apologize for the sound quality.  We’ve fixed the issue in recording and this is one of the last reviews with poor sound quality.

 


 

penasco tequila, tequila,

 

 

Visit Penasco Tequila online at TequilaPenasco.com

Follow Tequila Penasco on Facebook here.

Follow Penasco on Twitter here.

 

From their website:

Welcome to the world of Tequila through the vision of Del Bravo Imports.

We are committed to bringing you one of the finest distilled 100% blue agave tequilas on the market.

Tequila Peñasco represents quality, is named for the famed beach town located in the Mexican State of Sonora, on the sea of Cortes. Today, Tequila is one of the fastest growing liquors in the world. The direction of the growth is decidedly upscale. An entire tequila culture is being developed not just in Mexico but all over the world. Enjoyed in many countries, local pubs, neighborhood bars as well as many sophisticated restaurants around the world.

There is a large market of excellent 100% blue agave tequilas available in the range of $20 to $30. A greater quality of tequilas made of 100% blue agave in the $30 to $50 dollar range. Most all tequilas priced under $20 dollars are mass produced for local markets and export and are made from a mix of agave plants.
For the enjoyment of our beloved loyal Tequila drinkers; Tequila Peñasco is enjoyed in the USA in Arizona, Texas and South Carolina, as well as 3 northern states of Mexico, Sonora, Chihuahua and Baja. Let your senses be your guide! DISCOVER THE DIFFERENCE…

 


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The Roca Patron Road Show

The Roca Patrón launch party invitation.

The Roca Patrón launch party invitation.

 

Roca Patron Hits The Road

All across the country, in carefully selected cities where the beautiful people roam like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco, the Patrón PR machine (which spent a reported $34.1 million in measured media in 2013), is rolling out its new Roca Patrón line of tequilas.

Here in Tejas, on August 11, 2014, at the famed Brazos Hall in Austin, Tequila Aficionado Media was invited to the head of the line and behind the braided rope to be one of the first to try this new offering from Planet Patrón.

Once Inside…

The Brazos Hall was entirely furnished with wooden Roca Patrón branded furniture, fixtures, barrels and props, along with its own stage where a dynamic digital screen replayed a two minute silent video that was programmed to pulsating club music at deafening decibels.

 

 

Besides coming with its own publicity campaign that includes a stylized knockoff of their familiar bottle, projecting the Patrón name and iconic bee symbol onto the walls and some snappy slogans on ads and cushy sofa pillows, the entire experience is designed to embed a feeling of Old World rustic tequila-making with a modern twist.

The Process

El Tesoro's tahona, still in use.

El Tesoro’s tahona, still in use.

What makes this new addition to the Patrón portfolio any different from its usual ho-hum juice?

Roca Patrón (a Spanish corruption of the English word rock) is made exclusively using a tahona or volcanic stone wheel to macerate agave piñas to extract its juice.  Until the invention and adoption of more efficient and less labor intensive shredding machines, this was once how all tequilas were produced.

In this clip, Patrón Quality Director, Mario Chavez, explains why they settled on a 90 proof blanco and reveals some of the details in the pre-planning of the Roca line.

Mario explained that the tahona has always been part of the tequila making process for regular Patrón which they blend after distillation with juice that has been shredded.  This method was made famous by Tequila Siete Leguas, Patrón’s original producer, and eventually pilfered by Patrón.  For Roca, however, no blending occurs.

 

2014-08-11 19.12.58

L-R: Mike Morales, John Rivers of Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila, Mario Chavez. Patrón Quality Director, Mario Chavez, was so animated and excited about sharing Roca Patron that we couldn’t capture a still photo of him! Special thanks to Greg Cohen for inviting us to a great party!

 

Francisco-head-shot

Francisco Alcaraz, Patron Master Distiller

In his passion, Mario was sure that there were no other tequilas produced exclusively using a tahona.  I reminded him of the sought-after Fortaleza brand which he acknowledged, and Suerte, which he had never heard of.  But, why would he?  He is so engrossed in his own line that it figures that he would be oblivious to any other ones.  An honest, and forgivable, mistake.

Several distillers/chemical engineers are associated with the Roca line.  It’s refreshing to see a new face representing Patrón besides Francisco Alcaraz, their long time Master Distiller.

Cocktail Worthy

The Roca Patrón website has plenty of signature cocktails, but for each of the other 40 odd launch cities including Austin, original recipes were created by hired hot mixologists.

As previously pointed out in our reviews of Cabeza, Tapatío 110, and the entire Dulce Vida line, overproof tequilas shine in cocktails and Roca Patrón is no different.

Both myself and Mario agreed, however, that for a purist, a tequila the caliber of Roca

Lutfy Flores, David Alan, Carolyn Gil, Brian Dressel, Joyce Garrison, Patrón's guest mixologists.

Lutfy Flores, David Alan, Carolyn Gil, Brian Dressel, Joyce Garrison, Patrón’s guest mixologists.

Patrón would be much better served either neat, or simply on the rocks.

The Break Down

For the sake of transparency, we were served Roca Patrón on tap at room temperature in branded champagne glasses.  (Don’t be fooled by the lit-from-behind liquid lines viewed through false tequila barrel tops.  Patrón invented the art of visual illusion for these events.)

Patrón reps that evening admitted that it was not the best way to taste test tequila, but considering the amount of guests invited to the launch, it proved more cost effective.

Due to the darkness of the Brazos Hall, observing Roca’s color was next to impossible.

Roca Patrón Silver–90 proof

The new Roca Patrón line.

The new Roca Patrón line.

At first sniff, instant piedra (tahona, rock) with barely any hint of alcohol.  The nose gives no warning for what’s to come, however.  Extreme agave on the entry, so brace yourselves.  Light to medium finish that lingers on the palate, not down your throat.  On the second intake, more sweetness is evident.

Roca Patrón Reposado–84 proof

Instant butter on the nose to go along with the wood notes, vanilla and caramel.  Mario confessed that his wife is even able to pull some pineapple and pear on the entry.  Both were slightly noticeable, again with very little to no alcohol.  Aged in American oak barrels and guaranteed to coat your palate.

Roca Patrón Añejo–88 proof

Aged 14 months, mas o menos, there is evidence of dried fruit, nuts and some citrus.  Again, very little if any alcohol was present in the nose.  Very easy finish, but not as memorable as the reposado even though it, too, will coat the palate.

The Verdict

Both at the event and in digital print, Patrón reps and officials have admitted that there has been a gradual decline in demand for its tequila in the United States.  Consumers and industry professionals alike have dismissed it as a brand that rests on its colorful past and deft marketing.

Whether this trend has been due to the rise of mixologists and their demands for better and more artisanal ingredients for their cocktail creations, a more sophisticated and educated consumer, or focusing on its ravenous rise to dominance in the overseas Duty Free market, Roca Patrón is their bold statement to these allegations.

Despite Patrón’s attempt to backpedal into the current craft tequila craze with Roca, it is still a mass produced tequila targeted to their own particular customer base–

Those willing to spend anywhere from $69, $79, and $89 for silver, reposado, and añejo expressions.

Don’t expect to see these prices drop, either.  Patrón was one of the only tequila producers that refused to roll back prices during the recession even though consumers were trading down to cheaper brands.

In the end, those faithful Patrón followers who enjoy the Gran Patrón line (Platinum, Piedra, or Burdeos), but not the heady price tags, will appreciate Roca Patrón’s assertive flavor profile and less aggressive cost.

As for the Patrón Road Show…

It was an elegant, eventful, and enlightening affair.  Like watching Cirque du Soleil but without the embarrassing costumes.

***

Watch for a future Sipping Off The Cuff(TM) featuring Roca Patrón, coming soon!


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Sipping Off The Cuff: Penasco Tequila Plata

Alexander Perez and M.A. “Mike” Morales taste and discuss Penasco Tequila Plata (Blanco). They also discuss why they’ve nominated this tequila for the 2014 Brands of Promise Awards.

We apologize for the sound quality.  We’ve fixed the issue in recording and this is one of the last reviews with poor sound quality.

 

penasco tequila, tequila,

 

 

Visit Penasco Tequila online at TequilaPenasco.com

Follow Tequila Penasco on Facebook here.

Follow Penasco on Twitter here.

 

From their website:

Welcome to the world of Tequila through the vision of Del Bravo Imports.

We are committed to bringing you one of the finest distilled 100% blue agave tequilas on the market.

Tequila Peñasco represents quality, is named for the famed beach town located in the Mexican State of Sonora, on the sea of Cortes. Today, Tequila is one of the fastest growing liquors in the world. The direction of the growth is decidedly upscale. An entire tequila culture is being developed not just in Mexico but all over the world. Enjoyed in many countries, local pubs, neighborhood bars as well as many sophisticated restaurants around the world.

There is a large market of excellent 100% blue agave tequilas available in the range of $20 to $30. A greater quality of tequilas made of 100% blue agave in the $30 to $50 dollar range. Most all tequilas priced under $20 dollars are mass produced for local markets and export and are made from a mix of agave plants.
For the enjoyment of our beloved loyal Tequila drinkers; Tequila Peñasco is enjoyed in the USA in Arizona, Texas and South Carolina, as well as 3 northern states of Mexico, Sonora, Chihuahua and Baja. Let your senses be your guide! DISCOVER THE DIFFERENCE…

 


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