Blanco Friday Holiday Tasting Challenge

Get into the Holiday Spirit and Join

The Blanco Friday Holiday Tasting Challenge

November 25-December 24, 2016

30 Spirits in 30 Days



Stop the Madness!

Fight the Black Friday and holiday madness by exercising your right to comfort and joy this holiday season with a great agave spirit every day!

Black Friday is Now Blanco Friday!

Start with a blanco, any brand, on Black Blanco Friday, November 25, 2016.  From there, it’s all up to you!  As long as you choose a tequila, mezcal, sotol or 100% agave spirit, feel free to get as festive as you like.  Drink blancos, reposados, anejos, extra anejos, cocktails, whatever you prefer.   Just make it a different one every day for 30 days (you may need to partner up with friends and share from your collections – but it’s the season for giving, right?)

It’s Insta-Easy

To enter, simply take a picture of your selected spirit, every day, and post it on Instagram with the tags @tequilaaficionado and #blancofriday.  (You can really get into the holiday spirit by tagging the brand and telling them why you chose them.)

There Will Be Prizes

All participating entries will go up on our Blanco Friday Wall of Fame and each entry, up to 30, will give you a shot at one of several packages of tequila swag (and bragging rights)!


Are you ready to get into the Holiday (Agave) Spirit?


Blanco Friday FAQs

Who can accept the challenge?

Anyone with an Instagram account that enjoys tequilas, mezcals, sotols, or agave spirits.

What is the challenge?

Try a new agave spirit/expression every day for 30 days beginning on Black Friday.

Where do I enter?

Post a picture of the spirit you’re tasting every day on Instagram.  Be sure to tag @tequilaaficionado and #blancofriday.

When is the challenge?

Start on Black Friday, November 25, and then continue to try a new brand or expression every day up to and including Christmas Eve for a total of 30 different tastings.

Why are you doing this?

We’re fighting the commercial madness of Black Friday and demanding comfort and joy this holiday season by kicking it all off on Blanco Friday!

What does it cost?

We won’t charge you a thing, but it is BYOB.  Get into the holiday spirit and share with your friends.  The holiday cheer is well worth it!

Can I get extra credit?

You should just for reading this far!  Yes, extra credit goes to anyone who shares a food pairing, cigar pairing, or recipe with agave spirits cooked in.

Can Brands Participate?

Of course!  Get the word out to your fans (feel free to share our posts, links and graphics) and have them enter and share their pictures of your spirit as their entries.  Every entry that tags us will be reposted on all of our social networks, reaching millions of tequila, mezcal, and agave spirit aficionados.

Share your holiday spirit – every day on Instagram!

Tag @tequilaaficionado and #blancofriday.


Last Tequila Standing – A Groundbreaking Tequila Reality Show


A Tequila Reality Show?

last tequila standing, adan y eva, alderete, alma, alquimia, Azuñia, Casa ZG, Crótalo, cuestion, don pilar, ekeco, Mañana, nature's agave, Pavoneo, Quinta de Gomez, pavoneo, RiAzúl, Sal del Mar, senor rio, Silvercoin, tributo, Vida, casa zgIn 2011, a group of television professionals sought to create the first tequila reality show.  They called upon the industry expertise of then journalist and Editor at Tequila Aficionado, Mike Morales.  When production began, just under 20 tequila start ups vied to be crowned the Last Tequila Standing in the world’s first broadcast Tequila Reality Show.

What? No Tequila Shots?

The creators of Last Tequila Standing only filmed their pilot season back in 2011.  From there, in the old school way of doing things, they sought to sell the program to a television network.  But the Latino markets they were approaching had no love for a tequila show that didn’t include shots.  They felt the world, or at least their audiences, wasn’t ready for such a thing.

Tequila History Preserved

Here at Tequila Aficionado, we knew better.  After years of discussions, we were finally given access to most of the show’s recorded materials. As this was not a Tequila Aficionado Media Production, we don’t expect to see another season but we’re thrilled that we were able to preserve these tequilas’ stories, personalities, and cocktails for posterity here at Tequila Aficionado Media.
The litmus test for most tequila start-ups is five years.  If you can make it in this business for that long, you’re in it for the long haul.  We’re very happy to see that many of these then “start-ups” are alive and kicking down doors five years later in the industry today!

Watch the whole Last Tequila Standing series here:

Criteria for Participants

Adan y Eva Tequila
Alma Tequila
Alquimia Natural Margarita
Azunia Tequila
Crotalo Tequila
Cuestion Tequila
Don Pilar Tequila
Ekeco Tequila
Manana Tequila Perfect Margarita
Pavoneo Green & White
Quinta de Gomez Tequila
Riazul Tequila
Senor Rio Tequila
Silvercoin Tequila
Tequila Alderete
Tributo Tequila
Vida Tequila

Mixology Products:


Tequila Education:



Learning From The Master – German Gonzalez

The tequila industry may not recognize their masters, but here at Tequila Aficionado, we know that we could never consider Germán Gonzalez, distiller of T1 Tequila and Tears of Llorona, any less than a Master at his art.

Learning From The Master - German Gonzalez

Enjoy this intimate talk we had the pleasure of having with German Gonzalez when he took off his iconic hat and joined us at our table with his stellar selection of tequilas.

Visit T1 Tequila Uno Online

The story of T1 Tequila Uno begins where the history of tequila begins. For centuries generations of tequila masters have perfected the art of making this unique spirit. A creation of Master Distiller Germán González, our tequilas have an acquired pedigree only achievable through heritage and continuity with the past. Handcrafted using these ancestral and traditional methods and from mature 100% Agave Azul grown in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, emerges a masterpiece collection of T1 Tequila Uno’s of extraordinary and exquisite caliber.

Visit Tears of Llorona Online

Tears of Llorona is an extra extra añejo tequila. It begins as 100% blue agaves from high volcanic slopes in Jalisco, where growth is slow. Master Tequilero Germán Gonzalez hand selects the agaves and has them harvested late, increasing their starch and sugars. The piñas are roasted slowly in the traditional way. His yeast is proprietary and fermentation is slow. Distillation is by copper pot still and barreling is at very high specific gravity.

Tears is aged in three different barrels — oak that has previously held scotch, sherry, and brandy — and brought together in very small batches to create a complex fusion that is more like a cognac than a tequila. Germán then bottles at 43% specific gravity to balance the flavors. This results in a very high rate of osmotic loss – the “angel’s tears” that are one reason for the name, Tears of Llorona.

Learning From The Master - German Gonzalez German Gonzalez

Master Distiller Germán González, is the great grandson of General Manuel González, former President of México between 1880 – 1884. In the late 1970s Germán’s father, Guillermo Gonzalez Diaz Lombardo, founder of La Gonzaleña launched what would become the first ultra-premium tequila imported into the United States, Chinaco. Germán worked closely with his father and learned how to handcraft tequila using traditional techniques. After years serving as Chinaco’s master distiller, Germán left the company to launch his own brand, like his father before him.

From Babes to Boss Ladies: Women & Tequila

Tequila Aficionado Exclusive Series

babes-to-boss-ladiesWe’ve had a special place in our hearts for the unsung heroines and muses in tequila for a very long time.  After reading Ilana Edelstein’s The Patron Way, Mike & I felt it was time someone brought other women’s stories to light – and what better place to do that than at the leader in tequila information since 1999 – Tequila Aficionado.

It all began with Tequila Boss Ladies and grew from there.  This series has grown over the years to include sotol, mezcal and agave spirits so there is still more to come!  In the meantime, you can catch up on the entire series to date.

From Babes to Boss Ladies

The contributions of women who create some of the amazing spirits we enjoy, direct production and distillation, support educational efforts, own brands we love, and otherwise contribute to the tequila industry are often overlooked beyond the 80’s throwback bikini-babe marketing efforts of behind-the-times brands.  (Perhaps that’s a bit harsh, but when women make 80% of the buying decisions in America today, don’t you think brands would be better served by changing their marketing approach with the times?)

Catch Up With The Series

Click on the links below to visit our ongoing series and explore some of the amazing contributions made by women in today’s tequila industry:

The 2016 Heartland Tour in Pictures

Look for new pictures and videos being added daily!

Tequila Aficionado Media Marks Milestone!

Uncorks Tequila PR & Marketing Agency…

 For Immediate Release!

Tequila Aficionado Media Marks Milestone & Uncorks Tequila PR & Marketing Agency 27,2016, San Antonio, TX:  The people behind Tequila Aficionado Media have strategically aligned to unfurl the next phase in agave spirits publicity, branding, marketing and social media–Tequila PR & Marketing—delivering agency level services exclusively to the craft agave spirits segment.

“You can’t market spirits the same way you market peanut butter,” says Lisa Pietsch, co-founder of Tequila PR & Marketing and CMO of Tequila Aficionado Media.

“And you can’t market agave spirits the same way you market vodka, whisky, scotch or rum,” adds Mike Morales, co-founder of Tequila PR & Marketing and CEO of Tequila Aficionado Media.

“So why would you go to a marketing and PR agency that generalizes?” reasons Pietsch.

With over 40 years of traditional and digital marketing experience between them, the partner’s individual businesses and staffs have merged to deploy agency level services and customized programs for craft agave spirits brands with Tequila PR & Marketing.

Tequila Aficionado Media Marks Milestone & Uncorks Tequila PR & Marketing Agency a finger on the pulse beat of agave spirits for over 20 years, Mike Morales has provided consulting, branding, public relations, sales assistance and training to the burgeoning craft agave spirits sector.

Lisa Pietsch has furnished targeted marketing strategies and social media management services to a variety of individuals and businesses for over 15 years.  Since joining Tequila Aficionado Media, her expertise has expanded to include craft agave spirits.

The pros at Tequila PR & Marketing believe that small or large, your craft agave spirit brand deserves personal attention that’s in keeping with your image and pedigree.

“Is that expensive photographer your over-priced agency hired still taking photos of babes in bikinis holding red Solo cups?” asks Morales.  “Would you trust your brand’s story—your voice–to a company where the staff in charge is still shooting mixtos?”

“We know what every generation and demographic is looking for in an agave spirit, and how they want to be approached by your brand,” declares Pietsch.


“Moreover, we tirelessly keep up with all the changes in search engine and social media algorithms, implement the most effective new tools and networks to ensure that you get the most out of your marketing dollar.”

“At Tequila PR & Marketing, we specialize in just agave spirits,” pledges Morales.  “We know agave spirits inside and out, and we prove it on a daily basis.”

Tequila Aficionado Media Marks Milestone & Uncorks Tequila PR & Marketing Agency“Nobody understands agave spirits consumers, the industry, and the laws that govern its marketing like we do,” explains Pietsch.

Adds Morales, “We understand what makes your customers reach for your bottle instead of theirs.”

“We also know this is a tough industry in which to stay competitive,” concludes Pietsch.  “So, when you partner with Tequila PR & Marketing, we become your edge.”


For YOUR edge, click here.  Tequila PR & Marketing offers individual and one-time services, as well as marketing management packages to fit every need for your agave spirit brand.

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20 Reasons Why USA Today’s Craft Tequilas List Failed

Let’s Review…

In a previous post, I enumerated my reasons for  dreading my participation in USA Today’s 10 Best Craft Tequila list.

In my experience, something inevitably goes awry with these sorts of “listicles,” and it usually starts with the editor.

Contrary to the galloping propaganda disseminated by some press releases, there were no additional USA Today editors involved in accumulating the original list of twenty craft tequilas.  Only the recruited “experts” were involved.

This time around, I blame the curator of these lists whose job it is to engage USA Today’s readership, which in turn leads to its increased ad revenue.

Now that the excitement has died down, it’s time to assess the damage done by deliberately withheld facts, and to clear the air of unbridled misinformation.

The Top 20 Reasons Why USA Today’s Top 10 Craft Tequila List


[Caution:  Rants Ahead]

20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed

1.  Lack of Respect.

When someone asks you to accrue a list on your area of expertise, you, as the curator, must assume that that person takes this task very seriously, especially since you’ve taken the time to background check the expert who is going to help you get PAID.

2.  Lack of Communication.

When this expert communicates questions to you via email or phone, be aware that this person expects a timely answer, especially when YOU have asked him for his list by a certain deadline.

3.  Lack of Trust.

When you deliberately avoid answering questions about who else is involved in

20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed

accruing a list for you, you immediately raise suspicion.

As with most “industry experts,” we tend to know one another.  In this instance, we could have worked in tandem to come up with a more complete list.

4.  Lack of Respect for Relationships.

You must also assume that the expert not only admires those items on his list, but personally knows each producer of those items and has forged lasting relationships with them over the years.

5.  More Lack of Respect for Relationships.

Because of these relationships, you must assume the expert is also highly regarded by those craft producers that he has included on his list.

6.  Lack of Understanding the Craft Segment.

By virtue of being craft distillers, you must understand that they are not made of money like the Big Boys.  These guys literally live by their shoestrings.

20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed

7.  Lack of Transparency.

Total and complete transparency when communicating with your experts is vital.  Explaining what opportunities and hidden fees await the winners is of utmost importance as that intelligence could alter the final list.

8.  Lack of Vergüenza (shame).

Where the HELL do you get off asking the winners for money for the licensing rights to use your seals, medals and trophies?

9.  Lack of Seriousness.

Do you realize that you are asking for similar fees by more respected and reputable spirits judging contests like the San Francisco World Spirits Competition or the SIP Awards?

20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed  Lack of Consideration.

Do you see that this lack of transparency on your part on behalf of USA Today could possibly put the expert’s friendships and reputation at risk?

11.  Lack of Realistic Expectations.

Do you really believe that these craft brands will fork over money for a meaningless popularity contest–for bragging rights?

12.  Underestimating the Brands.

How stupid do you think they (or we, the judges) are?

13.  Concealment of True Intentions.

Do you get that we understand that these contests you curate for USA Today are only to generate reader engagement which in turn determines your pricing to advertisers?

14.  Greediness.

Double dip, much?

20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed

15.  Conscious Collateral Damage.

Do you catch on that the winning and losing brands on this list probably now believe that the experts knew about the additional costs to the winners but chose not to divulge this information to them?

16.  Lack of Good Faith.

Most all professionally held beer, wine and spirits competitions openly inform participants of additional licensing costs to the winners.  YOU deliberately chose to keep this information from your experts.

17.  Elimination Due to Perceived Lack of Relevance.

Was it fair for you to eliminate those craft tequila brands because they had little or no social media presence?

18.  Lack of Foresight on Your Part.20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed

Bet you didn’t see that one coming, huh?

19.  Naïveté On My Part.

I only reluctantly became involved to help promote these deserving craft tequila brands.

20.  Underhandedness.

Thanks for cheapening the craft tequila segment.


Get on the Mike with Mike!


We’re currently scheduling video auditions/interviews.  We have a big season coming up in 2017 and need a whole team of reviewers to co-host Sipping Off the Cuff.  

If you would work for tequila and want to learn more about tequila, mezcal, sotol, or other agave spirits on the job, we want to hear from you!

Fill out the form below and we’ll get you scheduled for an audition! 

Sipping Off The Cuff | Tequila 512 Anejo

Mike Morales & Rick Levy taste and discuss Tequila 512 Anejo on this episode of Sipping off the Cuff.



Sipping Off The Cuff | Tequila 512 Anejo Austin, tequila isn’t saved for special occasions. It’s a standard go-to. It’s one of the many things Scott loves about the town he calls home, and why he set out to create a tequila that could be enjoyed anytime.
In Jalisco he found Luis Trejo, master distiller at La Cofradia. Batch by batch, they made their way to the earthy, spicy yet surprisingly smooth tequila we bottle today. The magic moment came when Scott decided to add a third distillation, making the good juice they’d created together just a bit smoother.
Scott’s friends back in Austin loved the results. So did the judges at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, who awarded Tequila 512 Double Gold and Best In Show.
To this day, Scott returns to Jalisco to taste every new batch, ensuring each is as good as the last. Because when it comes to great tequila, taste is the only test that matters.

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