How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018

How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

Whether you’re in the business, a savvy consumer, or just an Average Joe overwhelmed by the hype of agave spirits, how can you ensure that you’ll survive the upcoming tequila turmoils of the rest of this year, and beyond?

We’ll show you how.

But first…

Let’s Review

You’ve heard the news of the current agave crisis that we covered in The Agave Panic of 2018:  Bloodshed on the Streets of Tequila. 

You’ve kept track of the trend since last year when we explained that The Agave Shortage of 2017 is Worse Than We Thought.

If you’re launching agave spirits brands during this time of crisis, we need a short discussion about–

Mega Distributors

Aside from some notable craft brands being swallowed up by corporate distillers, M & A has been the name of the game in the spirits distribution sector, too.

How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

Late November 2017 brought the news that distributor Breakthru Beverage was set to combine with Texas based distributor Republic National Distribution Company to match 2016’s mega-merger of Southern Wine and Spirits with Glazer’s, Inc.

This means that smaller agave spirits labels are in danger of never gaining the attention of these behemoth corporations.

And, if your small batch agave distillate has been promised a slot in the hulking distributors’ newly formed “craft spirits division,” specifically to “incubate” promising brands, my advice…

Don’t Do It!  It’s A Trap!

How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

Whether they’ve promised your juice a small amount of attention, or you’re in the “full book” (entire spirits catalog), these divisions are engineered to give the up-and-coming little guy a false sense of hope–and a false sense of security–that your gem will be distributed nationwide, some day.

Fat chance.  It’ll never happen. Wake up!

These mammoth distributors are in bed with the Big Boys, and won’t lift a finger to help you get the word out or build your brand.

Whatever that friend-of-a-friend-who’s-been-in-the-business-a-long-time-and-you’ve-been-golfing-buddies-forever has pledged to you, these departments are engineered to safely “sit” on your precious tequila or mezcal because it has been deemed a threat to the shelf space of their higher paying bread-and-butter flagships.How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

With the recent pay-for-play scandals that have been in the booze news lately, this technique is tougher to detect.

You’ll still be in the same boat you’re in now, doing all the work yourself.

Instead…

Support Your Local Distributor

Not a day goes by where a rising agave star doesn’t ask us for recommendations on a “good distributor” [There’s an oxymoron!] in any state.

Personally, I hesitate to recommend any particular distributor.  I’m not a big fan of them.  Some will argue that the Three Tier System of distribution in the United States is archaic, and serves only the Big Brands.

That said, small-to-mid sized distributors, in my opinion, will become even more important in the grand scheme of things, especially in light of the next impeding mega-merger between Republic National and Breakthru Beverage.

If you’re lucky enough to find hustlers like agave-centric Glass Bottom Distributors in Southern California, or Creospirits in Arizona, your troubles might be fewer.

On the other hand, if you decide to go with a small wine house, or choose a beer distributor or some other arrangement, you’ll still need to instruct their sales staff on how to sell your agave spirit.

Assume that they are simply order takers and woefully under trained (they are!) on anything other than wine or beer, or what’s “on spiff.”

When instructing these salespeople, speak to them in terms they will understand, and don’t have high expectations.

Maybe, just maybe, they won’t disappoint you too much.

Savvy Consumer

You’re one smart cookie.

Not too many people can pull the wool over your eyes, but…

You’re afraid of falling for the excessive marketing that’s endlessly broadcasted to you from all sides of the tequila aisle.

Relax.How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

We suggest you re-read our 2-part series, Craft Tequila:  WTF Does THAT Mean? Part 1.  And, the guidelines put forth in the Craft Tequila Gauntlet in Part 2.

Add Kosher

While you’re at it, add kosher tequila and mezcal to your arsenal, too.

Don’t laugh.  It’s a billion dollar business.

If Rothschild can release a kosher rose champagne, what’s keeping tequilas and mezcals from doing it, too?

Check out our 4 part series, The BIG Business of Kosher Tequila, Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 .

The Average Joe

If you’re just an Average Joe, and even if you’ve done all the aforementioned due diligence, you’re still in danger.
How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

Rather than taking shortcuts in order to meet heavy worldwide demand and risk losing quality, some reputable tequila makers have reportedly stopped distilling temporarily in the hopes that agave prices will level out.

[At this writing, agave prices are at $25 pesos per kilo.]

One industry insider confessed to us, however, that a major brand name tequila had switched completely to using diffusers to produce its tequilas.

Asked whether the owner of this large distillery was concerned that the quality of his juice would suffer, he admitted that he didn’t care.

He defended his position by saying that his tequila had been around for so long, and was moving a significant amount of cases, that consumers would never know the difference, anyway.

To purists, news like this breaks their heart.

To savvy consumers, this deliberate disrespect of the public’s intelligence should raise their hackles.

To the Average Joe, this will make your head spin because you make your buying decisions based mostly on tried and true names that you’ve always trusted.

Mainstay brands that were standouts before being bought by global companies, or invested in by foreigners outside of Mexico, are banking that you’ll fall for their marketing–and, on your ignorance.

Don’t let them!

How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

What Else You Can Do

Support small producers of agave spirits.

The Big Boys will always weather the storm, but a few of the little guys could be out of business over the course of the next five years or so.

In promoting them–and even some of the more popular brands, it seems–expect to pay more at your local bar or liquor store.

Whether the agave crisis is fact, fiction or a fusion of both, the scarcity of a commodity will always drive prices higher.

In this thoughtful article by the non-profit advocacy group, Tequila Interchange Project, here’s what else you can do to prepare for what’s to come–without selling out.

Informed agave spirits consumers should always strive to drink for a greater, and more balanced, agave distillates industry.

Glass Bottom Spirits: At the End of Good Tequila

What’s at the End of Every Good Tequila?

In the agave spirits soaked Southern California market, no distributor works harder or smarter than owner Humberto Ibarra, importer and distributor at Glass Bottom Spirits.

Co-founded with his cousin, attorney Arturo Lomeli Ibarra in December of 2012, Glass Bottom Spirits was established with a single vision and purpose–

Glass Bottom Spirits: At the End of Good Tequila https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5tn

To import and distribute only the best premium tequila that the great state of Jalisco, Mexico had to offer.

Glass Bottom has since expanded its portfolio to include craft Mexican beers and wines whose quality they believe in.

As a licensed wholesaler, importer, and distributor of the brands they carry, it allows Glass Bottom to set competitive prices to retail stores, restaurants, clubs and bars throughout California.

We spent a warm autumn afternoon talking tequila with Humberto at his offices in Pico Rivera.

[*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.]

From Nothing to Something

In this clip, Humberto shares with us his background, what brand building means to him, and how his mother-in-law came up with the company’s unique name.

Humberto divulges his tips for start up tequilas and mezcals contemplating entering the American market.

Ibarra admits that some brand owners have unrealistic expectations when coming into the United States.  He feels it’s his job to steer them in the right direction.

Glass Bottom Spirits: At the End of Good Tequila https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5tn

Of vital importance to him–

That each brand he imports and distributes must budget for some kind of marketing in order to compete for mind share in the already over-crowded liquor store shelves and restaurant back bars.

The Magic of Mandala

Here, Humberto discusses what it takes to bring a small brand with a specialty bottle onto the burgeoning Extra Anejo segment.

Tequila Tasting with Humberto

This clip discusses the sexy Chisholm Trail Crafts jarrito tumbler for tequila tasting with the newly relaunched 4 Copas tequila.

What a Chore

We continue our tasting flights with Humberto Ibarra’s newest acquisition, La Tarea tequila.

With the agave crisis looming, the demand for smaller, craft brands that are supported by their own agave will be more in demand.

We also touch lightly on mezcal medley (ensemble), The Lost Explorer.

The Importance of Distribution

Glass Bottom Spirits: At the End of Good Tequila https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5tn

In an era of mega-mergers between competing distributors, the informed consumer will be seeking more quality craft agave spirits.

To that end, small-to-mid sized distributors will become even more important for these brands in the race to compete with the Big Dawgs.

Glass Bottom Spirits seems poised to maintain significant shelf space for its clients against all comers.

Open Bar #4 With Glass Bottom Distributors

Open BarIn our 4th Open Bar show, Mike Morales and Lisa Pietsch talk with Humberto Ibarra of Glass Bottom Distributors. Some of the topics include women who love mezcal, the diffusor in tequila production, empowering small brands, and much more!

Visit: http://www.glassbottomdistributors.com/
Tweet: https://twitter.com/GlassBottomDist
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/glassbottom/
Glass Bottom on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/glassbottomdistributors
Mezcal Legendario Domingo on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DomingoMezcalUS/?fref=ts
Tequila Don Fermin on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tequiladonfermin/?ref=br_rs
Tequila Senda Real on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sendarealtequila/?fref=ts

A Truckload of Agave – Agave Spirits, That Is

Agave Spirits Everywhere!

Agave piñas.
Agave piñas, agave spirits

 

 

If you’ve been following Tequila Aficionado Media closely, you may have noticed a lull in the weekly Sipping Off The Cuff ™  episodes that traditionally have aired every Friday.

As you may know, every tequila, mezcal or sotol label that submits samples for Sipping Off The Cuff ™ is automatically entered into our ground-breaking end-of-year Brands of Promise ™ awards program.

 

We’ve Got Our Work Cut Out for Us 

test pattern, agave spirits, tequilaAfter an unprecedented amount of entries to our Brands of Promise ™  awards, and the flabbergasting influx of new tequila and mezcal brands with fabulous juice in 2014 (and some unforeseen technical difficulties in our post production department that were beyond our control), Sipping Off The Cuff ™ returns with a vengeance.

 

Coming In Hot

agave spirits, tequilaStarting this week, our post production department is backing up the truck and dumping a huge load of agave onto your screens.

Until virtually the end of 2014, brand-spanking new episodes of Sipping Off The Cuff ™ will premier–

Daily!

tequila reviews, agave spiritsLook for your favorite–or start up or little known–tequila or mezcal brands to be deconstructed, dissected and discussed by our Founder, Alex Perez, and CEO Mike Morales.

Plus…

We’re planning some surprise guest hosts to star with Mike on special episodes of Sipping Off The Cuff ™ that will be taped from some of the more popular and trendy tequila bars around the country.

Sipping Off The Cuff ™–On Demand!

 

Fast and Furious, agave spiritsDon’t worry if you miss a chapter or two of these upcoming reviews with Alex and Mike.

They’ll be coming in fast and furious till the end of the year, but you can always catch up by subscribing to our YouTube channel, as well as following TequilaAficionado.com’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.

And if you haven’t done so, take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter and be assured of never missing the latest tequila scuttlebutt, event, or feature story.

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

 

 

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Senda Real Reposado Tequila Review

M.A. “Mike” Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Senda Real Reposado and explain why they chose it as a 2014 Brands of Promise Nominee.

Glass Bottom Distributors Chose Senda Real Tequila

Glass Bottom Distributors LLC was co-founded by cousins, Arturo Lomeli Ibarra, Humberto Ibarra, and good friend Sergio Estrada Luna in December of 2012. All three wanted to share their enthusiasm for premium quality tequilas. After many conversations they soon came to the realization that they shared the same vision: To import and distribute only the best premium tequila that the great state of Jalisco, Mexico, has to offer.

It all started with one bottle, one brand “Tequila Senda Real”.

Since then, Glass Bottom Distributors LLC has focused on importing and distributing only the finest premium tequila. Their warehouse is centrally located in Los Angeles, California, where they distribute across the state of California. They carefully select their products in order to offer what they find to be the best in quality & value.

Follow Glass Bottom Distributors

OnlineFacebookTwitterInstagram

 

taco fest, senda realJoin Glass Bottom Distributors and Senda Real tomorrow, August 16, 2014, from 2pm – 8pm at the 2014 LA Taco Festival at Mariachi Plaza, Boyle Heights, CA 90033.

 

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