Embajador Tequila Pairing at Torch Cigar Bar

[*FTC Disclosure: Brands appearing on the Tequila Aficionado Wild Wild West 2017 Tour were vetted as Brand of Promise(c) Nominees and paid a nominal fee to be included.]

Spark Me Up!

Across the vast Desert Ridge Marketplace on trendy High Street in Phoenix is nestled the fashionable Torch Cigar Bar.

Embajador Tequila’s freshest customer provided them an early evening time slot for a tequila and cigar pairing that did not disappoint.

Torch Cigar Bar

Torch Cigar Bar is the new gold standard in cigar bar and lounges.  A lovely, spacious lounge with a contemporary feel, plush furnishings and a warm, inviting atmosphere.

For fine cigar and spirits lovers, Torch is considered a sanctuary from hectic schedules and day-to-day concerns.

Wide Selection

Billed as having over 200 premium cigars and over 200 total spirits, shelf space at Torch is scarce, but…

There’s always room for passion and craft tequilas.

Bar Manager, Chris Cuestas, describes Torch’s growth in Phoenix, and his plans to expand the tequila and mezcal choices.  [Editor’s note:  Chris also makes a mean espresso!]

Cigar Expert Extraordinaire

Torch’s Cigar Maven, Shannon Horton, shares her options on pairing puros with each of Embajador’s expressions.

Inside the Humidor

Replete with personal lockers for members to stash their prized sticks, Torch’s state-of-art humidor is designed as a shrine to fine tobaccos.

Here, Shannon explains her recommendations for Embajador’s anejo, the Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express.

Embajador Tequila and Cigars:  A Perfect Pairing

Andres Garcia, Regional Sales Manager for Embajador Tequila, explains his reasoning for approaching Torch in the first place, and why small batch tequilas make perfect sense in this environment.

Save Your Sanity

As Jon Harrington, co-founder of Torch, puts it–

“…save your sanity in an insane world….”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaNqBVYjMlX/?taken-by=tequilaaficionado

Visit Torch Cigar Bar and save your sanity.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Tequila Aficionado Media Hits the Trail for the 2017 Wild Wild West Tour

Wrangles Agave Spirit Brands of Promise for History Making Promotional Roundup

For Immediate Release!

SAN ANTONIO, TX, UNITED STATES, October 3, 2017

Like the early settlers of the frontier, Tequila Aficionado Media goes west.  Driving a prairie schooner (actually, a travel trailer) loaded with distilled agave spirits—26 brands with 58 distinct expressions in all–to share at private events, public pairing dinners, pop up seminars, and educational catas (tastings) throughout the month of October.

Each yearly tour celebrates Brand of Promise© winners and nominees elected during Tequila Aficionado’s thunderingly popular Sipping Off The Cuff© video and audio reviews.

“Our tours are all about co-creating meaningful brand stories for craft agave spirits worthy of the public’s attention,” explains Lisa Pietsch, CMO of Tequila Aficionado Media and Co-Founder of TequilaPR.

“According to current statistics,” states Mike Morales, CEO of Tequila Aficionado Media and Co-Founder of TequilaPR, “three of the top ten tequila consuming states is out west, and that’s exactly where we’re headed.”

With the determination of the Pony Express, Tequila Aficionado Media’s Wild Wild West 2017 Tour will barnstorm to rowdy saloons and ghost towns in Van Horn, Texas, White Sands, New Mexico, and Tombstone, Arizona.

Where we’ve been during the #wildwildwest2017 tour.

A post shared by Tequila Aficionado (@tequilaaficionado) on

On the route is a whistle stop at the famed Elvira’s Tequila Cocina Vino in Tucson, Arizona where Terralta Tequila from legendary 3rd Generation Master Distiller Felipe Camarena will be introduced along with an exciting new menu.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaFKw3qDHZV/?taken-by=tequilaaficionado

Glitz, glamour, and glamping are reserved for a special visit with Torch Cigar Bar and Lounge in Phoenix, hosted by the award winning Embajador tequila.

Inspired by the California Gold Rush, Tequila Aficionado’s Wild Wild West Tour rough rides toward La Jolla for a private interview with tequila Dos Almas’ founder Emilio DeSoto.

The following evening, a tequila pairing dinner with DesMaDre tequila is on tap at Sol Mexican Cocina in Newport Beach.

On location in Los Angeles, there will be two more private catas held by Revel Avila blue agave spirit, and Tres Ochos tequila.

During the public and private tastings, the “jarrito” tumbler–a new experimental glass designed specifically for tasting and serving tequila, mezcal, and other agave spirits–will be showcased.

Developed by Chisholm Trail Craft Glasses in Austin, Texas, the jarrito tumbler is expected to revolutionize the glassware industry by being more aesthetic and organoleptically accurate than other vessels currently used to sample and judge Mexican agave spirits.

The end of the trail will be celebrated at the landmark El Cholo Cafe Restaurant’s annual Tequila Tour in Pasadena.  El Cholo’s Tequila Tour commemorates its 94th year serving authentic Mexican cuisine to Southern California.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Ba20AHRDvbR/?taken-by=tequilaaficionado

Tequila Aficionado Media will anchor an exclusive VIP Hour inside El Cholo’s Tequila Tour to honor the 18th anniversary of the first Sipping Off The Cuff© podcast taped at the iconic eatery.

“The range of agave spirits on this year’s Wild Wild West 2017 Tour is some of the finest sampling of Mexican agave spirits we’ve ever travelled with,” declares Morales.  “We urge you to try them for yourself.”

###

For a complete list of participating agave spirits on the Wild Wild West 2017 Tour, click here.  For ticket information on El Cholo’s Tequila Tour, go here or call 626-795-5800.  More about Chisholm Trail Craft Glasses is here.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Embajador Commands Craft Tequilas on USA Today!

Locks-In Top Spot Among 10 Best Boutique Brands…

 

November 9, 2016, Austin, TX:  In September, 2016, family-owned Embajador Tequila (Spanish for ambassador) was voted among the top tier of boutique tequilas by USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice List.

Embajador Commands Craft Tequilas on USA Today! http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4XRIn a hard-fought race, Embajador ran away from a tight field of 19 distinct craft sippers for the entire 4 week run of popular voting by knowledgeable tequila aficionados and loyal fans worldwide.  A last minute surge from its closest rival nosed Embajador from its lead by just the slimmest of margins.

“We are elated to be counted among the very top craft tequila brands on USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice,” declared a family spokesperson.  “More people will know our Embajador tequila and this motivates us to continue giving our best every day to honor our name as Ambassador of Mexico.”

“It’s an exciting time for Embajador Tequila,” beamed Regional Sales Manager and family member, Andres Garcia.  “We have all been putting in long hours to position Embajador in the US market for success by focusing more on the consistency and quality of our tequila rather than mass production or distribution.”

Garcia’s duties include getting Embajador to consumers by partnering with trusted retail outlets and distributors that value the effort and care that goes into every batch of Embajador Tequila.

Indeed, Embajador’s thoughtful and deliberate strategy has secured its place on the top shelves of such prestigious venues like retailer Total Wine & More in Nevada, Arizona and Texas.

Other high-profile locations that have recognized Embajador’s commitment to craft tequila excellence include the luxurious JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in Tucson; the trendy gastropub Taco Guild in Phoenix; and the famed Barrio Cafés, owned and operated in Phoenix by multiple James Beard Award nominee, the legendary Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza.

“The superior standard of our family brand is the key to our success,” asserts Garcia.  “Embajador’s placing as one of the top tequilas in USA Today’s 10 Best list speaks volumes about what the public is seeking—authentic, handcrafted, one-hundred percent blue agave tequila that represents the true spirit of Mexico.”

“Moreover,” adds Garcia, “the fact that Embajador tequila led a very competitive field of pedigreed contenders means that we are on track.  Our loyal fans know it, and now, thanks to USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice, so does the world.”

“Simply put,” he concludes, “it’s about getting a sip of Embajador past the lips, and letting the Ambassador do the rest!”

***

Add multi-award winning Embajador Tequila to your top shelf, now!  Contact Regional Sales Manager Andres Garcia at andres@embajadortequila.com, or call 469-216-0567.  Learn more about Embajador’s story here.  Read about USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice list here.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Women In The Tequila Industry: Leticia Aceves Alvarez

Women In The Tequila Industry: Leticia Aceves Alvarez http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4LgI first met Carmen Leticia Aceves Alvarez in July 2016, during my investigative visit to Fabrica Santa Rosa.  The distillery is responsible for such fan favorite tequilas as Alma de Agave, Crótalo, Cabresto, and their flagship brand, Embajador.

At a round table lunch over delicious babacoa (barbecue) skirt steak at a local restaurant in Atotonilco, the group from the fabrica introduced me to its newest offering, Jaliscience.  We enjoyed small glasses of  the reposado while waiting for the mysterious and elusive “Lety” to join us.

Having sampled the above mentioned tequilas from NOM 1509, I was struck by how each one had its own distinctive taste and aroma.

“Oh, that’s Lety’s doing,” I was told.

“Lety is the maestra tequilera?” I asked, incredulously.

All the men at the table nodded approvingly.

We’ve already encounted several female master distillers like Melly Barajas of

Women In The Tequila Industry: Leticia Aceves Alvarez http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Lg

Sino Tequila, or Maribel Garcia Cano of Don Diego Santa, who soar undetected in the Tequila Industry, while opening doors and people’s palates.

The shy and demure Lety is not unlike the other unsung lady heroes.  Here are her responses to our standard handful of questions.

[Editor’s note:  For the convenience of our interviewee and our Spanish speaking audience, this article is in both English and Spanish.]

 ***

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

(¿Cómo describiría sus experiencias como una mujer de alto rango en su posición en una industria dominada principalmente masculina?)

LA:  Participating in the predominately male Tequila Industry, more than one obstacle has been a challenge that has afforded me the chance to bring a distinct approach to my work.

Every time, more women are involved in the Tequila supply chain.  We are making an effort to bring sophistication to this spirit, standardize its methods, and to highlight the artistic marvels that a bottle of tequila implies.

To be a woman in the Tequila Industry represents strength and dedication that sustains years of experience.

Women In The Tequila Industry: Leticia Aceves Alvarez http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Lg

(Ser participe de la industria tequilera, donde predominan hombres,  más que un obstáculo ha sido un reto que me ha permitido brindar un enfoque distinto a mi trabajo.  

(Cada vez más mujeres estamos involucradas en la cadena de suministro del Tequila.  Estamos haciendo esfuerzos en sofisticar esta bebida espirituosa, estandarizar sus técnicas y resaltar las maravillas artísticas que implica una botella de Tequila.

(Ser mujer en la industria tequilera representa fortaleza y dedicación, que sustentan años de experiencia.)

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

(¿Cómo han sido capaces de cambiar las cosas dentro de su industria?)

 LA:  Perseverance is definitely a key point in this industry.

Women in Tequila have focused on opening and exploring new segments in the market.  One clear example is our entrance into Asia.

Currently, I am involved in a group of tequileros who jointly export [tequila] into China and surrounding countries.

This predominately female group is comprised of tequila lovers like me who struggle day by day so that more people recognize and value our spirit as a Women In The Tequila Industry: Leticia Aceves Alvarez http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Lgmarvel of our country.

(Definitivamente la constancia es un punto clave en esta industria.

(Las mujeres en el Tequila se nos hemos enfocado en abrir y explorar nuevos nichos de mercado. Un claro ejemplo es nuestra incorporación a Asia.  

(Actualmente formo parte de un grupo de tequileros que en conjunto exportamos a china y alrededores.  

(Este grupo predominan mujeres amantes del tequila como yo, que día con día luchamos para que más personas reconozcan y valoren nuestra bebida espirituosa como una maravilla de nuestro país.)

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

 (¿Qué ves como el futuro de las mujeres que trabajan en la industria del Tequila?)

 LA:  Women have always been involved in the history of Tequila.  What has changed is that more women are taking the reins of corporations, and not just in our industry.

More professionals are becoming interested in forming part of the beautiful art of tequila and this [movement] has served to revolutionize and to fine-tune tequila’s perception onto the world.

It’s not just historic [first] families of tequila that are in the industry, but qualified people who are contributing to the solidity of the beverage.

There have been huge efforts to leave behind the image that tequila is just an intoxicating drink, and I see a clear elevation of Tequila before the world.

(Las mujeres siempre hemos estado involucradas en la historia del tequila.  Lo que está cambiando es que más mujeres estamos tomando las riendas de corporativos y no sólo en nuestra industria.

(Más profesionistas  se están interesando por formar parte del bello arte del tequila lo que ha llevado a revolucionar y sofisticar la percepción del tequila ante el mundo.

(Ya no sólo son familias de antaño en la industria sino gente preparada que está aportando una solidificación de la bebida.

(Se han hecho esfuerzos exorbitantes para dejar atrás la imagen de que el tequila es únicamente una bebida embriagante y veo una clara ascendencia del Tequila ante el mundo.)

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

 (¿Qué cosas gustaría cambiar? )

 LA:  I’d like to bear witness to the existence of major education regarding tequila in the marketplace.

That more dinner guests order a snifter of tequila, and that more of us are aware of the respect and history that this beverage entails.

That there would be an aligned strategy to grow as an industry around the world.

Women In The Tequila Industry: Leticia Aceves Alvarez http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Lg

(Me gustaría ser testigo de que exista una mayor educación del mercado acerca del tequila.

(Que más comensales ordenen una copa de tequila, que más estemos enterados del respeto e historia que conlleva esta bebida.

(Que exista una estrategia alineada para crecer como industria alrededor del mundo.)

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

(Esta Ud está de acuerdo con la comercialización de marcas de tequilas o mezcal, hoy en dia?)

Women In The Tequila Industry: Leticia Aceves Alvarez http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4LgLA:  I believe it is an error that we’ve, and various brands, have committed in following the leaders of our industry, instead of looking to define a unique personalty and to focus on particular segments.

The principle reasons that this has occurred is because of the lack budgeting for marketing departments, and, on occasion, it is forgotten that these efforts help in the commercial and sales arena to solidly position the brand.

(Creo que un error en que hemos incurrido varías marcas es en seguir a los líderes de nuestra industria en lugar de buscar definir una personalidad única y enfocarnos en nichos particulares.

(Las razones principales que esto ocurre es por falta de presupuesto para departamentos de mercadotecnia y en ocasiones se olvida que estos esfuerzos ayudan al área comercial y ventas, ya que al posicionar la marca la misma se vuelve más solida.)

 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?

 (¿Existe algo que le gustaría decir a las mujeres que pueden estar contemplando entrar y trabajar en la industria del Tequila en una forma u otra?)

LA:  The Tequila Industry is extremely passionate; it envelopes history and tradition.  It’s incredible to see that reflected in a snifter of tequila–all the flavors of Mexico.

To be a woman in the Tequila Industry is a challenge and a responsibility to present our nation before the world.

I invite even more women to not only form a part of the industry, but to be leaders that project Tequila as a beverage that exposes colors, flavors, aromas, and hundreds of years of struggle.

A beverage that deserves respect and celebration.

(La industria del tequila es extremadamente apasionante; te envuelve la historia, tradición.  Es increíble ver reflejada en una copa de tequila todos los sabores de México.

(Ser mujer en la industria del tequila representa un reto y una responsabilidad de presentar a nuestro país ante el mundo.

(Invito a que más mujeres no sólo formen parte de la industria sino sean líderes que proyecten el Tequila como una bebida que expone colores, sabores, olores y esfuerzo de cientos de años.  

(Una bebida que merece respeto y celebración.)

Women In The Tequila Industry: Leticia Aceves Alvarez http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Lg

Embajdor Tequila Online

  

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Embajador Tequila: Framework for The Future

[Transportation, room and board were provided to M.A. “Mike” Morales by Embajador Tequila in order to research this article.  No monetary compensation was received and no guarantee of a favorable article was given by M.A. ‘Mike” Morales or Tequila Aficionado Media.  This article was written by, and is the opinion of, M.A. “Mike” Morales.]

Open Doors

Embajador Tequila: Framework for The Future http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4mC

Everyone in Atotonilco had heard of the Fabrica Santa Rosa’s suspension due to COFEPRIS’ (Comisión Federál para la Protección contra Reisgos Sanitarios) and SAT’s (Servicio de Admistración Tributaria) prolonged “Juntos Contra la Ilegalidad” (“Together Against Illegality”) crusade  to reduce illegally produced alcoholic beverages on the Mexican market.

Many were shocked since Embajador’s outstanding reputation for producing top notch tequilas had been stalwartly guarded–and envied–for years.

20160719_165039Collectively, the crew at Fabrica Santa Rosa was still reeling from the aftereffects of the shutdown.  A few described these agencies’ G-Men as acting arrogantly and condescendingly.

Certainly, this was no way to treat a group of professionals who had many years of extensive experience in distilling frontline tequilas to the strict adherence of the normas.

Individually, each recounted how he or she felt ambushed by the government officials and bum-rushed by the deliberate escalation of what were considered by many high ranking officials in the industry as minor—even laughable– infractions.

Despite that, neighboring tequila distilleries were shaking in their boots wondering if their stored tequila would be targeted by those government agencies’ assault that existed only to add more liters of seized juice to their latest numbers.

In fact, the concerned brand owner’s tequila who inspired my Bullying In Tequila editorial during the early stages of Embajador’s closure, is distilled just up the road from Fabrica Santa Rosa.

In this clip, we entered through the iron gates of the perimeter of Tequila Embajador.  The rows of estate grown agave and the rich, red soil of Atotonilco el Alto took center stage.

(Taken from inside our SUV, it may be too fast to watch continuously, and the sound is a bit muffled by the wind as we drove onto the grounds.)

20160719_124459

Once we parked on the property, the charm of the Fabrica Santa Rosa took over.

How the Magic Happens

Here’s where it all starts:  three autoclaves, from 40,000 KGS to 25,000 KGS in capacity, plus 2 ovens of mamposteria (brick/stone masonry).  The cook time in autoclaves is approx 10 hours; in ovens it’s 24 hours.  Embajador is a combination of both of these methods.

Behind the Iron Door

Opening the iron door of one of the masonry ovens and taking a peek inside.  As you can tell, it’s quite a chore.

Adjusting to Variables

Our tour guide, Francisco Segura Garcia, the company’s accountant and bookkeeper who, since the age of 16 has worked in the tequila industry in some form, explains–

A tahona for the boutique distillery.
A tahona for the boutique distillery.

What influences the flavor profile of a tequila?  A common question, he admits, that has a simple answer, yet, complex at the same time.  For instance…

Older agave vs. younger agave; and healthy agave vs. diseased agave.  If you put either of these through the same process, you won’t get the same results.

20160719_144545 (2)Cooking time varies with the time of year, as well.  That’s why there are master distillers with years of experience in the variations that can affect the final outcome.  Also, the seasons of the year makes a difference (summer vs. winter).

The agave is an extraordinary organism, continues Francisco.  One of the most adaptable plants ever created.  It can exist in the desert or near the coast.  Wherever water is abundant, or in extremely arid climates.

Francisco outlines that when they harvest during the colder months, the agave defends itself with a special coating that they must adjust for.

Variables like pressure, cook time, water temperatures at shredding, and above all, fermentation and distillation.  Otherwise, the tequila produced appears cloudy and bitter even though you’ve followed the same recipe as before.

Two Important Elements

Francisco discusses the importance of fermentation and distillation, and how they are equally influential elements within the tequila making process.

The type of yeast used during fermentation is also important since some can produce more higher alcohols than others, which is in violation of the normas.

Framework surrounding a new shredder.
Framework surrounding a new shredder.

Embajador uses proprietary yeast made from their own estate grown agave.

Fermentation time also varies depending upon the time of year (warm vs. cold weather).

The Vision

We witnessed the ongoing construction on the grounds leading to its phased in expansion that would eventually include a boutique distillery within the larger Embajador distillery.  It will include a tahona, barrel room, gift shop, and an historically accurate re-creation of a vintage working tequila taberna, among other things.

The mini distillery is estimated to be completed by the end of 2016, with the remaining improvements to be finished within a year.

Eco-Friendly

Aiming to cut down on the distillery’s carbon footprint, the eco-conscious family recently modernized the fabrica by installing a boiler to heat water used in the plant.  It runs on a combination of leftover bagasse (bagazo) from shredding the agave and wood chips.

The Future Framework

The framework of Embajador’s future.  More of the buildings and what they will house on the grounds.  (Hint:  Even the bricks of the vintage distillery are made by hand.)

Positioned For Success

Licenciado Cristobal Morales Hernández, legal representative for Tequila Embajador and the Fabrica Santa Rosa, describes what he sees for the immediate future of Embajador in two to three years, including the improvements and growth projected for the distillery.

He also takes into consideration the ramping up of the volume of the plant’s production without suffering a dip in quality of its consistently exceptional juice that they have proudly maintained for 12 years.

He concludes that the buying public should continue to expect the same lofty standards of prizewinning tequila and he acknowledges that the situation concerning the mandated stoppage in production was simply a lesson learned.

See And Taste For Yourself

Lic. Morales relays what he wants consumers to know about Embajador.

He graciously extends a heartfelt invitation to the public to see their more than adequate facilities for themselves.

Shhh...Embajador is resting.
Shhh…Embajador is resting.

He ensures that Embajador is strictly adhering to Mexican and global regulations, and that when the public samples any of the tequilas produced at the fabrica that they can be assured of its propensity for high standards of excellence.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Embajador Tequila: Business As Usual

[Transportation, room and board were provided to M.A. “Mike” Morales by Embajador Tequila in order to research this article.  No monetary compensation was received and no guarantee of a favorable article was given by M.A. ‘Mike” Morales or Tequila Aficionado Media.  This article was written by, and is the opinion of, M.A. “Mike” Morales.]

Let’s Review…

Embajador Tequila: Business As Usual http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4lfIn Part 1, Embajador Tequila:  Rectifying The Situation, we listed all the minor infractions that the distillery, Fabrica Santa Rosa, was charged with by COFEPRIS (Comisión Federál para la Protección contra Reisgos Sanitarios) and SAT (Servicio de Admistración Tributaria).

We also brought to light the fact that every breach was addressed within hours, and that the real delay of lifting the ban on the Embajador distillery’s operations was the bureaucratic read tape surrounding the method of documenting and tracking of raw materials and supplies.

Before we tackle this topic, however, a word about the yellow journalism popular with Mexican news agencies.

Scraping A Dead Horse

The phrase “beating a dead horse” is often used when the same story is repeated over and over again, until the subject matter becomes tiresome.

Scraping is a term used by copywriters when expounding on a press release Embajador Tequila: Business As Usual http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4lfthat is distributed to several news agencies at once.  It’s extracting pertinent information from the news release or website, sometimes copied word-for-word, without proper credit given to the original source material.

In essence, it’s stealing (plagiarism), but, it helps to keep the topic fresh and different from the rest of the reports seen on other news channels.

Making matters worse, name any reputable producer allegedly busted during COFEPRIS’ and SAT’s “Juntos Contra la Ilegalidad” (“Together Against Illegality”) blitzkrieg, and they are instantly guilty by association.

While there are many honorable news writers in Mexico (many having lost their lives, especially those reporting on narco trafficking activities), most Mexican newspapers are tabloids using this archaic, unethical and unprofessional style of reporting.

The more controversial the titles and the more alarming the descriptions, the more the reader feels like an actual eyewitness to the alleged crime, and, the more newspapers are sold.

It resulted in sensational headlines for the copywriters who, chances are, had never even set foot onto a tequila distillery, and high fives all around for COFEPRIS and SAT.

Embajador Tequila: Business As Usual http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4lf

No one at the Fabrica Santa Rosa denies that they were guilty of the minor infractions they had been charged with, but, in reviewing the aforementioned articles in Part 1, you’d think the Untouchables had just captured Al Capone for tax evasion.

In true Elliot Ness fashion, there was a loophole.

But, it’s wasn’t what you thought.

The Loophole

Embajador Tequila: Business As Usual http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4lf

Imagine driving across the state line and being immediately pulled over by a state trooper.  When he asks you for your home state’s current registration, the smokey takes one look at your paperwork and tells you that your registration is not legally recognized by his state’s laws.  He then impounds your car until you can prove that your registration is legal.

That’s exactly what happened to Tequila Embajador.

Embajador Tequila: Business As Usual http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4lf

After a mound of paperwork providing and proving their procedural accurateness, converting to the more approved methods of record keeping–ninety days later–the ban on Fabrica Santa Rosa was lifted and it’s back to business as usual.

Embajador Tequila Goes On The Record

In this snippet, Licenciado Cristobal Morales Hernández introduces himself as the legal representative for Tequila Embajador and the Fabrica Santa Rosa.

Lic. Morales explains that while Embajador has never suffered infractions due to the wholesomeness and quality of their tequila (in other words, it has never produced illegal tequila), the main problem was in providing proper documentation as per the normas.

Morales goes on to describe that what the authorities actually did was to seal the distillery and the remaining tanks and barrels of tequila, but the product was never destroyed as is customary for the aforementioned government agencies to do during their “Juntos Contra la Ilegalidad” offensive.

The distillery was allowed to finish elaborating the tequila in all its various stages of production until the matter of the paperwork documentation was in compliance with the normas.

Embajador Tequila: Business As Usual http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4lf
Lic. Cristobal Morales with flagship tequilas, El General, Embajador and Jalisciense.

They were not allowed to truck out finished product, however, or to receive more harvested agave until that matter was resolved.  These same conditions were enforced on all of their contracted brands, as well.

In fact, even though the method of paperwork was not in keeping with the two agencies’ guidelines, paperwork DID exist making every step of Embajador’s tequila making process traceable to the very last agave plant and liter of tequila.

Lesson Learned

Cristobal asserts that in the 90 days of the plant’s closure, the company not only met the requirements of the agencies, but exceeded their expectations throughout the distillery, particularly concentrating in the fermentation, distillation and warehouse sections of the fabrica.

Lic. Morales admits that while the agencies’ reaction to the minor infractions were considered harsh, the situation served as a wake up call to step up their game on all levels of each department to stay on par with their indisputable high quality.

***

In the next segment, Embajador Tequila showcases its Framework for The Future.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Embajador Tequila: Rectifying the Situation

[Transportation, room and board were provided to M.A. “Mike” Morales by Embajador Tequila in order to research this article.  No monetary compensation was received and no guarantee of a favorable article was given by M.A. ‘Mike” Morales or Tequila Aficionado Media.  This article was written by, and is the opinion of, M.A. “Mike” Morales.]

The Situation

Embajador Tequila: Rectifying the Situation http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4iZSince that morning in early April when a news report in the Chinese press first announced that the Embajador distillery (NOM 1509) had been cited by COFEPRIS (Comisión Federál para la Protección contra Reisgos Sanitarios) and SAT (Servicio de Admistración Tributaria), and shut down for various minor infractions, I’d been anxious to investigate their situation, in-depth.

Without a single citation in over 12 years, multiple improvements in the works to compete effectively in Asia and Russia, and kosher certification, it made no sense to endanger their forward movement and future plans by being seemingly underhanded and distilling tainted juice.

This family-owned distillery has a stellar reputation for producing such Embajador Tequila: Rectifying the Situation http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4iZexquisite fan favorites like Alma de Agave, Crótalo, Cabresto, along with its highly decorated flagship brand, Embajador.

Things Don’t Add Up

As I expressed in my editorial, Bullying In Tequila, I believed this was clearly a case of government agencies bullying an up-and-coming player poised to enter the burgeoning Chinese and Russian spirits markets, and known to Tequila Industry insiders as a formidable force firmly positioned in the private label sector.

When Andres Garcia, Regional Sales Manager for Embajador Tequila, called to invite me to inspect the day-to-day operations of the Fabrica Santa Rosa, I found their willingness to be transparent refreshing, especially in the wake of such damaging charges.

The “Violations”

Let’s get right down to brass tacks.

According to the initial Chinese report–

Embajador Tequila: Rectifying the Situation http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4iZ
New log book and safety signs.

“Mexican health authorities seized over one million liters of tequila on Friday, which belongs to a production company in flagrant breach of health norms.

“All production of tequila was immediately suspended after the investigation found “sanitary conditions far below standards for production, as well as an inability to trace supplies and a lack of legal documentation.”

“The security included seizing 980,399 liters of tequila in tanks or unmarked bottles, 34,677 liters of finished products in labelled boxes mainly from the El Embajador and El General brands, and around 55,000 liters at various stages of the production process.”

In this news release from Mexico

“The second largest seizure of alcohol in three years is carried out.”

“It concerns the second largest securing of illegal inebriating beverages….  In this operation, 1.70MM liters of irregular alcoholic beverages were seized….”

(“Realizan el segundo decomiso más grande de alcohol en tres años 

“Se trata del segundo aseguaramiento de bebidas embriagantes ilegales mas grande….En esta acción…se aseguararon 1.70MM litros de bebidas alcoholicas irregulares…”)

In this incendiary report from El Financiero

Embajador Tequila: Rectifying the Situation http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4iZ
New delineation of departments.

“Federal authorities confiscated one million 70 thousand liters of tequila outside the normas in the locality of Atotonilco el Alto, and it concerns the largest securing of irregular alcoholic beverages.

(“Autoridades federales incautaron un millón 70 mil litros de tequila fuera de norma, en la localidad de Atotonilco el Alto, y se trata del aseguramiento más grande de bebidas alcohólicas irregulares.)

[Aforementioned federal authorities] imposed seals of closure and immobilized the product and installations of Tequila Embajador, where work and services were suspended due to deficient sanitary conditions in the production process, lack of traceability of supplies and scarcity of legal documentation.”

(“…impusieron sellos de clausura e inmovilizaron el producto e instalaciones de la empresa Tequila Embajador, donde se suspendieron sus trabajos y servicios por deficientes condiciones sanitarias en procesos de producción, falta de trazabilidad de insumos y carencia de documentación legal.”)

Embajador Tequila: Rectifying the Situation http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4iZ
New department signs.

“Security measures applied included the seizure of 980,399 liters of product in bulk inside storage tanks and bottled without labels; 34,676.7 liters of finished product in cases and labeled primarily of the brands El Embajador and El General; as well as 55,000 estimated liters of product in various stages of production, chopped, shredded, fermented and distilled.”

(“Las medidas de seguridad aplicadas, incluyeron el aseguramiento de: 980 mil 399 litros de producto a granel dispuesto en tanques y en botellas sin etiqueta, 34 mil 676.7 litros de producto terminado en cajas y etiquetado principalmente de las marcas El Embajador y El General, así como 55 mil litros estimados de producto en proceso, troceado, molienda, fermentación y destilación.”)

“Sanitary irregularities were also detected such as tanks without protection,

Embajador Tequila: Rectifying the Situation http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4iZ
Protection and delineation.

[and] accumulated dirt and grime.  Additionally, there were no physical separations between the fermentation and distillation areas from the rest of the spaces of the distillery.”

(“También se detectaron irregularidades sanitarias, como tanques sin protección, y acumulación de suciedad; además que no había una separación física entre las áreas de fermentación y destilación del resto de los espacios de la empresa.”)

“In addition, there were flies present in the fermentation and distillation zones due to a lack of pest control, evident lack of order and cleanliness and there were no log books registering the carrying out of cleaning and maintenance of equipment.”

(“Además, se detectó la presencia de moscos en zonas de fermentación y destilado, debido al deficiente control de plagas, evidente falta de orden y limpieza en las instalaciones y no se contaba con bitácoras de limpieza actualizadas ni registro de mantenimiento de equipos.”)

And, from this blatant smear campaign–

Embajador Tequila: Rectifying the Situation http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4iZ
More coverage and delineation.

“Any person who would want to consume any of the brands of tequilas involved should know that these products were elaborated under dubious sanitary conditions.  For instance, the inspectors found a platform over the reception tanks and one over the fermentation tanks that did not have any protection.

Moreover, there were gutters without protection with an accumulation of grime, evidence of consumed foods in the processing areas and lack of cleanliness in the fermentation area with the presence of non-useful materials including a motorcycle.”

(“Cualquier persona que guste consumir alguna de las marcas de los tequilas involucrados, debe saber que estos productos fueron elaborados en condiciones sanitarias muy dudosas; por ejemplo, los inspectores encontraron una plataforma sobre las tinas de recepción de jugo y uno de los tanques de fermentación, las cuales no tienen protección; además, se encontraron canaletas sin protección y con acumulación de suciedad, evidencia de consumo de alimentos en las áreas de proceso y falta de limpieza en el área de fermentación, con presencia de materiales en desuso, incluyendo una motocicleta.”)

“Also, an open bag was identified with detergent and a bottle containing liquid with the smell of disinfectant over the barrels.  There was lack of maintenance of the walls and a presence of clearings, windows without protection [screens] in different areas.  The distillery had no physical separation between the

Embajador Tequila: Rectifying the Situation http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4iZ
Barrels naturally protect against…birds.

fermentation and distillation areas from the rest of the spaces.  It also had no identification and delineation of the areas such that packing material, products, chemicals and bottles were found in the same place.”

(“También identificaron la presencia de una bolsa abierta con detergente y un envase conteniendo un líquido con olor a desinfectante sobre las barricas; hay falta de mantenimiento en paredes y presencia de claros, ventanas sin protección en diferentes áreas; la empresa no cuenta con una separación física entre las áreas de fermentación y destilación del resto de los espacios del lugar, ni tiene identificación y delimitación de áreas, de tal forma que el material de empaque, productos químicos y envases se encontraban en un mismo sitio.”)

And finally, a simple English translation from the original press release by COFEPRIS and SAT by trade magazine, The Spirits Business.

The Rest of The Story

What all these news services failed to mention was that each of the above infractions, except one, was addressed within a couple of hours.

So, why was the lifting of the closure of Fabrica Santa Rosa distillery not met with equal timeliness by these government agencies?

Why allow the escalation of a situation that normally requires only a warning, and malign a distillery’s spotless reputation?

Why did it take almost 90 days to rectify the situation and to restore the Embajador family’s impeccable integrity within the industry?

Two reasons–

Embajador Tequila: Rectifying the Situation http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4iZ

COFEPRIS’ and SAT’s ongoing three year campaign (some call it a smoke screen or a witch hunt) called “Juntos Contra la Ilegalidad” (“Together Against Illegality”), to reduce illegally produced alcoholic beverages on the Mexican market, and…

Paperwork.

***

Click for Part 2, Embajador Tequila:  Business As Usual.

 

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

The Top 20 Craft Tequilas You’ve Overlooked

USA_Today_comIn early August of 2016, I received an email from USA Today asking me to weigh in on their craft spirits-themed Readers’ Choice contests, and in our case (at press time), the soon-to-be-launched craft tequilas list.

I’ll be honest, I dread these lists.  What’s worse is, I dread being asked to participate in compiling them.

Let me tell you why.

It’s A List

In the Digital Age, everyone wants things in bite sized form and they want it now.  It is also proven that numbered lists draw attention.  And, there are so many of them out there on the Interwebs–

Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover…

The 10 Best Ways to Cheat On Your Mate…

Six Ways Your Cat Plots to Kill You…

A Word About Your Sins

Ever wonder why those numbered titles are so enticing?7-deadly-sins

It’s because they are aimed at the 7 Deadly Sins.

A steadfast rule of copywriters is to compose content that elicits an emotional response from readers to take action.

To drive your particular sin even further to cause you to read the content, the word YOU is hammered into every title.

[Editor’s note:  See what I did with my title?  You choose which sin fits best for YOU.]

Craft Is A Buzzword

As we thoroughly examined in our reports, Craft Tequila:  WTF Does That Mean? Parts 1 and 2, the term craft has been kidnapped by marketers writing fancy copy to confuse the consumer.

Only 10?

gato sorprendido

While the instructions in the email required at least 20 selections from me, the contest will butcher the selections down to only 10–

Selected by those who are unaware of what a craft tequila really is, and…

Curated by someone whose job it is to find ways to engage USA Today’s readers.

It’s A Contest

check-list-red-wfjgrkbmmkvlWhen our COO, Lisa Pietsch, examined the contest website and the myriad of other pre-existing lists, she found that this is a clever way for USA Today to increase reader engagement.

Reader engagement translates to readers’ time spent on USA Today’s mammoth website, which in turn translates to money they charge advertisers.

The term we use is “sticky” as in spider’s web sticky.

Which leads me to–

Paid Advertisers 

Having been paid to ghost write Editor’s Choice lists in the past, I am fully aware that many times, spirits sponsors of major magazines and websites tend to sneak onto them.

This, despite my vehement objections to the editors that such a move invalidates the list altogether.

So, before any of the Usual Suspects wind up on USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards Craft Tequilas list, here are my selections.  Bear in mind, I was limited to only twenty brands.

The Top 20 Craft Tequilas You’ve Overlooked

In no particular order…

  1. Fortaleza
  2. T1 Tequila Uno
  3. Tears of Llorana
  4. Suerte
  5. Siembra Azul
  6. Siembra Valles
  7. Tapatio
  8. Tequila G4
  9. ArteNOM 1414
  10. ArteNOM 1580
  11. ArteNOM 1146
  12. ArteNOM 1549
  13. Trianon
  14. Pasote
  15. Embajador
  16. Alquimia
  17. DesMaDre
  18. Dulce Vida
  19. Don Fulano
  20. IXA

The Fallout

12995-anxiety_news

Whether any of my selections make the cut, remains to be seen.

Depending on who the other “tequila experts” were that contributed to the final list to be voted on, the results, if nothing else, should be interesting.

One thing is for certain–

Not everyone will be happy.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Open Bar #6 Andres Garcia of Embajador Tequila

Embajadores-3, EmbajadorOpen Bar #6

During Tequila Aficionado’s Open Bar #6, Mike Morales and Lisa Pietsch talk to Andres Garcia of Embajador Tequila about his recent visit to the USA Trade Tasting in New York City, his Level 3 Catador class with Ana Maria Romero Mena, and how he is expanding his brand’s market footprint.

Visit Embajador Online

Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Pinterest | Google+ | Instagram

From their website:

We are a family who is motivated and inspired by the idea of crafting superior quality and distinguished Tequila. Embajador is produced in small batches to focus on the brands consistency and quality principles. We produce Embajador using only 100% Blue Weber Agave that is grown on our estate located in Atotonilco in the highlands
(Los Altos) of Jalisco, Mexico. This region in the valley of the Highlands of Jalisco is distinctive with its nutrient rich soil, along with a natural spring water aquifer that runs through our land, which is the essence that gives Embajador its distinguished characteristics.

We will not sacrifice the honored value of our methods or the superiority of our Agaves for mass production. We will not cut corners to meet new demand and boost the bottom lines. Our handcrafted methodology and patience is honored and fully committed to producing superior quality Tequila.

Our goal is to craft a brand that will always be consistent in aroma, taste and quality. We want Embajador Tequila to be here for generations to come, some 200+ years. The dedicated commitment to quality measures at each step of the production of Embajador is one that will define our core strategic sales and marketing goals. We will establish Embajador for steady growth in the high-end premium category over the next 3, 5 and 10 years.

This is not a sprint race for us, but more of a marathon and we are taking the proper steps to condition ourselves to achieve a strong successful presence in the US and Global market within the High-End Premium Tequila Category.   

After all, we are the Embajador (Ambassador) of Mexico.

 

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Corner Restaurant Fuels the Fire of Austin’s Craft Tequila Scene

[In mid-February 2016, at the suggestion of Andres Garcia, Regional Sales Manager of award winning Embajador tequila, Tequila Aficionado Media met with Brian Jaymont, General Manager of the Corner Restaurant, inside the JW Marriott in the heart of Austin, Texas.

We were first exposed to the fine hospitality of the JW Marriott on our second visit to the Texas Nightclub & Bar Alliance Convention.  The JW Marriott will again be the host hotel for the 2016 edition of TBNA, with the tasting event taking place at the famed Brazos Hall.]

20160211_131821

Local Flavor at Corner Restaurant

“Their braised short rib street tacos are to die for!” exclaimed Andres Garcia of Embajador tequila.

20160211_133806

Biting into the first of my three tacos, I wholeheartedly agreed.

Boasting a menu devised by celebrated Executive Chef Jennifer Etzkin, Corner’s fare is billed as “modern Texas cuisine served with an urban flair.”

20160211_133756

Featuring regional ingredients, coupled with stunning views and an inviting atmosphere, our lunch couldn’t have been better paired than with two Glencairn glasses of Embajador Platinum blanco.

In The Beginning…

20160211_140943Brian Jaymont, General Manager of Corner Restaurant, is a true tequila aficionado and student of agave spirits.  He is also well-versed in Texas micro-brewed beers, wines, whiskies and bourbons.

Along with the stellar tequila selection of the Corner, Brian’s also been responsible for the enviable tequila array at the JW Marriott’s San Antonio property, the Hill Country Resort & Spa’s Cibolo Moon tequila bar.

Below, Brian discusses how his passion for tequila and agave spirits began and eventually led him to do more in-depth research.  He also reveals how he’s been able to infuse that passion into the properties he’s worked in.

To date, Cibolo Moon is the only bar in Texas that is certified by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) with a “Distintivo T.”  The entire staff has undergone thorough training, tasting and testing to achieve this certification.

Brian beams with pride as he describes the enthusiasm with which the entire staff at the JW Marriott’s Hill Country Resort & Spa’s Cibolo Moon embraced their Distintivo T training.

20160211_150353

At Brian’s insistence, plans are in the works for the staff at Corner Restaurant to also be “T” certified.

During his tenure, Jaymont was also involved in the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa’s famed Salúd tequila bar.

 Who Has the Best Toys?

Here, Jaymont describes the dynamics of Austin’s craft beverage scene and how he, the Corner Restaurant and Marriott are fueling the fire.

Geeking Out With Brian Jaymont

Brian shares his routine before choosing a new tequila and admits to personally using the NOM List as a way to find other tequilas to try.

What Bourbon, Wine and Tequila Have In Common

Brian asserts that there are hidden similarities to tequila that both bourbon and wine share.

A Blanco Guy

Brian Jaymont explains his personal preference for unaged, blanco tequilas.

Move Over, Bourbon!

Jaymont dissects the steady transformation of Austin’s bourbon-centric palates that are now drawn to Texas-based aged tequilas.

Micro-Local Focus

Brian defines Marriott’s “micro-local” focus highlighting Texas craft beers, wines, spirits, including tequilas.

The Corner proudly pours Austin-based tequilas, Embajador, Dulce Vida, Tequila 512, and more to come.

Glencairn–The Preferred Glass

Brian reveals why he chose Glencairn glasses to serve Corner’s tequilas.  No lime or salt needed–ever!

From Education to Enjoyment

How General Manager, Brian Jaymont motivates his staff to make sure the customer has a pleasant experience with the tequila’s available at the Corner Restaurant.

Supporting Local Businesses

Supporting Austin’s local micro-brewers, distillers, and brand owners to give the visiting tourist a memorable experience, and to keep Austinites coming back for more.

It’s refreshing to find a global hotel chain like the Marriott offer its guests a more local approach to their dining and drinking experience.

20160211_151900

Deciding where to spend your next Taco–or Tequila–Tuesday should be a cinch!

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

How to Get Paid to Drink Tequila:

How you can turn your passion into profits and get paid to drink tequila as a blogger, vlogger, podcaster or author

 

Salud!!