Women In The Tequila Industry: Kim Brandi

KAH_SOM2012No other Tequila Boss Lady to date inspires more compassion and empathy from women, colleagues, and tequila connoisseurs alike than Kim Brandi.

Although surrounded by swirling controversy from constant legal–and very public–battles over the much sought after juice and painted skulls of her brainchild, KAH–Day of the Dead Tequila, she continues to move forward.

This creative dynamo is responsible for such recognizable brands as Kah’s doppelganger, Sangre de Vida Tequila and Mezcal, Flashbang tequila, Apocalypto tequila, and Deadhead Rum.

Despite litigious low tides and high tides that would dishearten the average agave spirits entrepreneur, Kim’s glass continues to remain half full of tequila, and now, mezcal.

Here’s her take on our standard handful of questions in this series.

KBJM

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TA:  How would you describe your experiences as a woman in KB_Tequilaa primarily male dominated industry?  (What are the challenges you face when dealing with the male dominated Tequila/Mezcal Industries?) 

KB:  While the tequila industry may seem to be very male dominated at first glance, if you look closer, you will see that women are not just a part of its creation, they are a vital component.

As a female CEO, importer and distributor, I work with women at every level of our production.

On the bottling line, I worked shoulder to shoulder with other women to fill and box our tequila.  The list goes on:

From scheduling production runs to quality control, and from printing packaging supplies to supply chain management—even our supervisor at our distribution center in the City of Industry, CA, is a woman.

KB_CreatorDue to the prevalence of ladies in tequila, I am not forced to face the challenges one may associate with a female in a “male dominated” industry; instead, I have the pleasure of working with plenty of incredible and inspiring women everyday.

TA:  How have you been able to change things within the Tequila/Mezcal Industries?

KB:  One of the most important changes that has fueled the tequila and mezcal revolution has been the education of the trade and final consumer.

Prior to becoming a brand owner, I worked in publishing for the beverage 001trade industry and volunteered with the Spirits of Mexico, whose founder, Dori Bryant, brought tequila out of the dark ages of only drinking it as a shot with a lime and salt.

Through both experiences, I fell in love with tequila and was able to share my knowledge with others.  Specifically, I educated the trade about the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes and the advantages of utilizing sustainable practices.

These lessons were central in the creation of my brands; I sought out suppliers who implemented eco-friendly manufacturing practices, such as waste water treatment facilities and recycling programs.

DeadheadRumTA:  What do you see as the future of women working within the Tequila/Mezcal Industries?

KB:  As previously noted, I believe we already have a strong workforce of amazing women in the tequila industry, and this group will only expand.

My dream is for these women to receive the recognition that they deserve.

It seems that we, as women, oftentimes pass on compliments to others.  By doing so, we belittle our own accomplishments.

I hope we gain the self-confidence to own our success and become the role models for younger women looking to enter the industry.

TA:  What facets of the Tequila/Mezcal Industries would you like to see change?

 KB:  I believe the tequila industry is traveling on a wonderful and excitingKB_SDVMezcal path.  We need to stick to this route by continuing to elevate the category.

We have to educate the consumer on the nuances of tequila and teach both the trade and consumers about everything from terroir to developing a cocktail that allows the base spirit to shine.

We need to emphasize the importance of sustainability and build on our current practices to make the production of tequila even more environmentally friendly.

But, most importantly, even with its recent evolution and renewed popularity, we cannot forget about the traditions that brought tequila to this point—we need to hold onto this history even as we innovate and lead the consumer into the future.

TA:  Do you approve of how Tequila/Mezcal brands are currently marketing themselves?

KB:  The internet and social media has enabled the consumer to be more knowledgeable about his or her drink than ever before.

User comments

In a way, it has leveled the playing field between the large multi-national brands and smaller independently-owned brands.

These small brands can now reach the same audience as the giants—they are no longer priced out by expensive advertising.

With this power, comes the temptation to take the easy route and market using slogans, gimmicks or other cheap tricks.

Craft brands have never had to rely on these methods, so it is important for these producers to keep their message simple and focus on their time-honored traditions and passions.

In the long run, it will cultivate brand trust and loyalty, which are crucial for the health of any product.

TA:  Is there anything you’d like to say to women who may be contemplating entering and working in the Tequila/Mezcal Industries in one form or another?

KB:  Believe in yourself.

You will without a doubt make mistakes when you start out (everyone does!), but those mistakes will build the groundwork for your expertise in this field.

Seek out a mentor that can steer you in the right direction when you feel lost, and remember–

Never, never, never give up!

KB_Purple

Open Bar with Ian Williams

 

*Please Note*

This is not a telephone call-in show. We will not answer our phones during the show.
If you would like to participate in this show, please log in with Blab.im.

About Ian Williams

Ian Williams is a UN correspondent for The Nation and regular contributor on programs such as HardballThe O’Reilly Factor, and Scarborough Country. He is the author of several books, including Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776. He lives in New York.

About Ian Williams’ “Tequila: A Global History”:

Open Bar with Ian Williams, author of Tequila: A Global HistoryThere are few places on earth besides Mexico that have the climate to grow the agave plant – necessary for producing tequila – and even fewer that have the patience to wait the 10 years required before the plant becomes usable. Just like the grapes used to produce champagne must be grown in the Champagne region of France, tequila can only be made from the Blue Agave found in the state of Jalisco, and certain regions in the states of Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacan and Tamaulipas. Since its beginnings as pulque, a drink created by the Mayans, Olmecs, and Aztecs from the fermented sap of the agave plant, tequila has grown in popularity, and is now consumed in bars and homes worldwide.

In Tequila Ian Williams presents a lively history of this unusual liquor. With quotes from tequila makers, drinkers and growers, as well as illustrations from farms and stills across Mexico, Williams relates the beginnings of tequila and how it was introduced into the global market, tracking its evolution from a cheap spirit associated with binge drinking, to a complex drink savoured by connoisseurs today.

Containing recipes for tequila-based cocktails, as well as advice on buying, storing, tasting and serving tequila, Tequila: A Global History is the perfect companion for any aficionado of alcohol, as well as anyone wanting to know more about the history of a unique beverage.

Read a Free Preview of Ian Williams’ “Tequila: A Global History”

Sipping Off the Cuff: Don Lorenzo Reposado Reserva

don lorenzoDon Lorenzo of Cantina Mayahuel

Cantina Mayahuel, owned by Larry Auman “Don Lorenzo”, is a civilized cantina with old Mexico charm, providing education and information, about the culture, the process, the heritage and the passion involved in the making of tequila.

Tequila Don Lorenzo

Purchasing this tequila is a tricky business.  It involves a little bit of luck, a little strategy, and a little research. You have to get it as soon as a new lot is released because these small batches go very quickly and are often very limited runs.  The current Reposado Reserva available (with a paper label) is from NOM 1146 but, make no mistake, the Reposado Reserva we tasted here was from NOM 1445.

Tequila Don Lorenzo Reposado Reserva NOM 1445 Lot-002 on Tequila Aficionado’s Sipping Off the Cuff with Mike Morales and guest co-host Rick Levy.

https://youtu.be/4VI1dIZoHBE

Blending perfection in The Art of Tequila!

Follow Don Lorenzo Tequila on Instagram

Sipping Off the Cuff with ArteNOM 1414

artenom 1414

ArteNOM: Carefully Curated

Tequila ArteNOM presents regional tequila selections of distinct altitude, agave cultivation, and distillation technique.

https://youtu.be/Itd8wUXsGBw

Selección de 1579 Blanco:

The mountain town of Jesús-María (elev. 6,079’) is tequila’s highest altitude agave region, and the El Pandillo Distillery is arguably one of the most forward-thinking and sustainable distilleries in the business. There, Felipe Camarena masterfully crafts this bright, aromatic tequila from stressed hillside agave plants, slowly roasted in brick ovens and macerated intact with fiber for a pronounced agave flavor.

Selección de 1549 Blanco Orgánico:

This valley-agave selection (elev. 4,200’) comes from El Arenal, where Ramón Sandoval carefully distills this delicious un-aged tequila from certified-organic agave. The valley growing conditions lend this spirit a distinctive herbaceous flavor with warm aromatics, and a fresh, vegetal bouquet with intriguing notes of cacao and subtle spice.

Selección de 1414 Reposado:

From Arandas (elev. 5,400′), Feliciano Vivanco has been cultivating highland agave since Mexico’s tumultuous post-revolutionary period of 1919-1929. The family now holds 2,000 acres of estate-grown agave producing a rich, well-balanced spirit.

Selección de 1146 Añejo:

In Atotonilco El-Alto, Jalisco (Elev. 4,620′), El Arquitecto Enrique Fonseca is a fifth-generation agave cultivator and master distiller, possessing the largest highland agave holdings in the industry. This Añejo selection is drawn from old French and American oak to create a unique and unforgettable complexity.

Sipping Off the Cuff with ArteNOM 1580

In order to allow Alex time to get started with his Classic Mixology Shows, we’ve brought on another great palate to help us do some Sipping Off the Cuff Shows with Mike Morales.  Please welcome tequila connoisseur, collector and enthusiast Rick Levy in his first show with us.

https://youtu.be/Xg_StOgT2rw

artenom-1580-blanco-tequila1ArteNOM: The Art of the NOM

Tequila ArteNOM presents regional tequila selections of distinct altitude, agave cultivation, and distillation technique.

Selección de 1579 Blanco:

The mountain town of Jesús-María (elev. 6,079’) is tequila’s highest altitude agave region, and the El Pandillo Distillery is arguably one of the most forward-thinking and sustainable distilleries in the business. There, Felipe Camarena masterfully crafts this bright, aromatic tequila from stressed hillside agave plants, slowly roasted in brick ovens and macerated intact with fiber for a pronounced agave flavor.

Selección de 1549 Blanco Orgánico:

This valley-agave selection (elev. 4,200’) comes from El Arenal, where Ramón Sandoval carefully distills this delicious un-aged tequila from certified-organic agave. The valley growing conditions lend this spirit a distinctive herbaceous flavor with warm aromatics, and a fresh, vegetal bouquet with intriguing notes of cacao and subtle spice.

Selección de 1414 Reposado:

From Arandas (elev. 5,400′), Feliciano Vivanco has been cultivating highland agave since Mexico’s tumultuous post-revolutionary period of 1919-1929. The family now holds 2,000 acres of estate-grown agave producing a rich, well-balanced spirit.

Selección de 1146 Añejo:

In Atotonilco El-Alto, Jalisco (Elev. 4,620′), El Arquitecto Enrique Fonseca is a fifth-generation agave cultivator and master distiller, possessing the largest highland agave holdings in the industry. This Añejo selection is drawn from old French and American oak to create a unique and unforgettable complexity.

Sipping off the Cuff: Santera Tequila Anejo


 

Santera Tequila

Santera_Tequila_LogoSantera Tequila is produced and bottled by Destilladora de Valle de Tequila, Casa Maestri in Tequila, Jalisco, the heart of Mexico’s blue agave growing and tequila producing region. The creation of Santera Tequila begins with the perfectly matured blue weber Agave. The agave plant is grown in the red volcanic soil of the dormant Volcán de Tequila in the northern highlands of Jalisco. The 10,000-foot Volcano last erupted 22,000 years ago, forming the only environment in the world where agave grows in perfect harmony with the climate. This is the lifeblood of Santera Tequila.
Website http://santeratequila.com/
Tumblr http://santera-tequila.tumblr.com/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/SanteraTequila/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SanteraTequilaOfficial/

Sipping Off The Cuff™

SSantera-Compositeipping Off The Cuff™ 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 your product(s) reviewed on an upcoming episode of Sipping Off The Cuff, please contact Mike@TequilaAficionado.com.

Tequila Aficionado’s Tequila & Mezcal Road Show, Part 3

[From October 14 to October 28, 2015, Tequila Aficionado Media, accompanied by 33 expressions representing 19 brands, embarked on an epic RV road show christened, The Dia de los Muertos Tequila & Mezcal Tour.  In these next passages, we recount the historic–and hysteric–highlights.] 

TacoGuild

Church, Tacos, and Tequila With Roger Clyne

Phoenix, Arizona

One of the highlights of Tequila Aficionado Media’s breakthrough Dia de los Muertos Tequila & Mezcal Tour was lunch with indy rock legend Roger Clyne of Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers.

2015-10-21 10.44.42

After graciously posing for a quick photo outside our Cruise America RV with Lisa’s boys, we anxiously followed Roger and his lovely and elusive wife, Alisa, inside the historic Taco Guild gastropub, a deconsecrated Methodist church where he had recently conducted an exclusive tasting for fans of his Mexican Moonshine Tequila.

2015-10-21 11.03.53

Having spent most of my young life inside churches, my first inclination was to

2015-10-21 10.49.41

speak reverently in whispers.  Like most places of worship, the Taco Guild had its original stained glass windows and acoustically high ceilings that amplified the din of the lunch time crowd.

It didn’t take long before whispering was futile and more tequila and cocktails were needed.

2015-10-21 11.21.26

Next On Deck

After ordering and savoring some delicious taco plates, Alisa and Roger clued us in on what was ahead for Mexican Moonshine tequila.

2015-10-21 12.17.17

Not only were they planning an extensive 2015 fall tour, but they were also gearing up for 2016’s annual Circus Mexicus.  But, there was another surprise–

The exclusive Mexican Moonshine extra añejo in a ceramic, commemorative 20th anniversary collector’s bottle depicting the “Fizzy Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy” album by Roger’s then group, The Refreshments.

2015-10-21 11.04.00

The band financed the effort so successfully via an Indiegogo campaign that the extra funds enabled them to parlay Mexican Moonshine as a featured tequila in twenty locations–including their own branded cantinas– throughout Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball club for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

RC_AZ

Tequila Tasting With Roger Clyne

A staunch reposado enthusiast, Roger was making it his personal journey to research extra añejos in order to help him define his preferred flavor profile

2015-10-21 12.39.43for Moonshine’s upcoming XA offering.

2015-10-21 10.57.06

Known for their varied and extensive tequila menu,

2015-10-21 11.27.30

naturally, an impromptu tequila tasting ensued courtesy of the Taco Guild’s gracious bar manager.

2015-10-21 13.17.25

After selecting and sampling a variety of tequilas from other producers with varying production methods,

2015-10-21 10.51.14

including some exclusive ultra añejos from behind the Taco Guild’s sacred bar for over an hour, it was time to say goodbye to Roger and Alisa.

2015-10-21 10.49.15

After supplying the Clynes with a bottle of blanco tequila and an añejo mezcal (for educational purposes, of course!), we hefted our bulging bag of leftovers onto the Cruise America RV.

Playing Catch Up

On the way back to our RV park, we stopped at the local supermarket to stock up on supplies for the what we expected would be the crown jewel of our tour–

The Grand Canyon.

After catching up on our required social media chores, a light dinner was in order along with sips of Mestizo Mezcal to chase away the creeping chill of the Arizona evening.

Sipping off the Cuff: Santera Tequila Reposado

https://youtu.be/xGrpHyvVc8A

Santera Tequila

Santera_Tequila_LogoSantera Tequila is produced and bottled by Destilladora de Valle de Tequila, Casa Maestri in Tequila, Jalisco, the heart of Mexico’s blue agave growing and tequila producing region. The creation of Santera Tequila begins with the perfectly matured blue weber Agave. The agave plant is grown in the red volcanic soil of the dormant Volcán de Tequila in the northern highlands of Jalisco. The 10,000-foot Volcano last erupted 22,000 years ago, forming the only environment in the world where agave grows in perfect harmony with the climate. This is the lifeblood of Santera Tequila.
Website http://santeratequila.com/
Tumblr http://santera-tequila.tumblr.com/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/SanteraTequila/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SanteraTequilaOfficial/

Sipping Off The Cuff™

SSantera-Compositeipping Off The Cuff™ 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 your product(s) reviewed on an upcoming episode of Sipping Off The Cuff, please contact Mike@TequilaAficionado.com.

Tequila Aficionado | Open Bar 14 | De La Tierre Maple Tequila Liqueur

Tequila Aficionado’s Open Bar

maple liqueurEach Monday evening at 7pm Central, we have one new guest on our live show, Open Bar.  This week’s guest was Wayne Rezunyk of award winning De La Tierre Maple Tequila Liqueur.

We use the Blab.im platform for these Open Bar shows. Blab is easy to use, more interactive than a phone call, but just as easy to participate in.

De La Tierre Maple Tequila Liqueur

De La Tierre TequilaMaple Cinnamon Truffles, maple tequilaThe story is simple, It all started out with an epiphany that hit Troy Bilodeau January 31st 2010.

A then long time friend Wayne Rezunyk and Troy put their heads together and started testing that day, this was followed with a little research (tasting) okay okay a lot of research, then they agreed that they maybe on to something. Countless hours of, testing and researching and the duo came up with what is now “De la Tierre” Canadian Maple Tequila. With a lot of effort, belief, luck and unquenchable desire to make this spirit a true blend of Canadian and Mexican taste at their finest, “De la Tierre” Canadian Maple Tequila was born !

maple tequila scones recipeExtensive “testing and researching” later and partnering with Ralph Berezan who had the same desire and vision, we are now able to offer a unique flavored Tequila, the only Canadian Maple flavored Reposado currently on the world market. The name De la Tierre is slang in Spanish for “from the Earth or of the Earth” as both the Canadian Maple tree and the Mexican Agave plant are grown in the Earth.

No longer just for our friends and family, you are invited to enjoy this very special blend of spices, 100% pure Canadian maple syrup, mixed with a gold medal winning 100% Blue agave Reposado Tequila from Mexico. “De la Tierre” Canadian Maple Tequila will be available for the enjoyment of all.

We hope you enjoy the plethora of tastes that this flavored Tequila has to offer!

Find De La Tierre online at: http://www.canadianmapletequila.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MapleTequila/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MapleTequila

El Viejito

El Viejito is a classic Mexicano tequila company, claiming roots back to 1937.

The distillery is located in the town of Atotonilco, approximately 98 km (60 miles) from Guadalajara, in the “Highlands” of the State of Jalisco in Mexico. This region is recognized, among other things, for having the best soil, climate, water and altitude to grow Agave plants and of course for the quality of the tequilas produced in this region.

All of El Viejito’s 100% blue agave tequilas show moderate to macho agave intensity and flavor, with pepper and citrus as secondary notes. High quality water, ripe agave and lots of experience combine to produce the premium tequila they have been making since 1937.

“El Viejito” was one of the founders of the Tequila Regulatory Council in 1994.

Find El Viejito online at: http://www.tequilaviejito.com/

Sipping Off the Cuff: Santera Tequila Blanco

https://youtu.be/kyxBWGAwvQ8

Santera Tequila

Santera_Tequila_Logo Santera Tequila is produced and bottled by Destilladora de Valle de Tequila, Casa Maestri in Tequila, Jalisco, the heart of Mexico’s blue agave growing and tequila producing region. The creation of Santera Tequila begins with the perfectly matured blue weber Agave. The agave plant is grown in the red volcanic soil of the dormant Volcán de Tequila in the northern highlands of Jalisco. The 10,000-foot Volcano last erupted 22,000 years ago, forming the only environment in the world where agave grows in perfect harmony with the climate. This is the lifeblood of Santera Tequila.
Website http://santeratequila.com/
Tumblr http://santera-tequila.tumblr.com/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/SanteraTequila/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SanteraTequilaOfficial/

Sipping Off The Cuff™

SSantera-Compositeipping Off The Cuff™ 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 your product(s) reviewed on an upcoming episode of Sipping Off The Cuff, please contact Mike@TequilaAficionado.com.

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