After a tiring day of meetings and visiting key accounts in Austin, TX, Andres Garcia, Regional Sales Manager for family owned Embajador Tequila, was kind enough to visit with us in our San Antonio offices of Tequila Aficionado Media. Over pizza and pours of Embajador reposado, Andres shared some insights into the SIP Award winning tequila brand.
We Are Family
In this clip, Andres tells how he and his wife, Esmeralda, first became involved with the estate grown Embajador tequila, as well as some of the symbolism depicted on the bottle.
Relentless in his pursuit of proper preparation, Andres discusses the value of continuing education. He also reveals that by working with famed Maestra Tequilera, Ana Maria Romero Mena, he has improved his tasting techniques in the field, and has amped up his appreciation for the entire tequila process.
In this snippet, Andres shares how he separates Embajador tequila from the rest of the pack when visiting potential customers.
Slow And Steady
A handful of well known brands already come from the distillery (NOM 1509), but Andres has no illusions of what it will take to make its flagship Embajador tequila successful.
Savvy Guerilla Marketing
Aside from entering carefully selected tasting competitions like the SIP Awards, Andres has also sought unique ways to help promote Embajador.
Embajador tequila signature cocktails are featured prominently on the brand’s website including a whimsical drink inspired by and dedicated to popular Latino stand-up comic, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, himself a fan of Embajador.
The family has also partnered with Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan one of the hottest mariachi groups in Mexico. As they travel globally, these talented mariachis bestow special bottles of Embajador (ambassador, in Spanish) to foreign dignitaries at each Mexican embassy they visit.
Additionally, understanding the value in being a start up company, Embajador was a sponsor of the female led indy film Salt, Liquor, Lime in which they received prominent product placement.
Here, Andres relates the extent of the family’s long term commitment even in the midst of the current agave shortage, as well as a scoop on an upcoming release to its line of award winning expressions. [Spoiler Alert!]
Not To Go Wide, But To Go Deep
Andres Garcia expresses the family’s philosophy on the future of Embajador tequila.
It’s obvious that the family is building more than just a brand. They are creating a legacy that is focused on producing quality tequila.
“After all,” concludes Andres Garcia, “tequila is Mexico and we are proud to be one of its Ambassadors.”
Tequila Aficionado Media on The Set Of Salt, Liquor, Lime
Tequila Aficionado Media first made contact with the co-producers of Salt, Liquor, Lime in the Spring of 2013 via social media. Once production was moved in late August to Southern California during a blistering heat wave, we were invited to join the cast and crew to exclusively record our experiences on the set.
There were only a handful of 100% de agave tequilas back then: Herradura, Chinaco, El Tesoro de Don Felipe, Hornitos and a young upstart brand that would revolutionize the spirits world, Patrón. These were popular with the original tequila snobs–movie stars and artists–but mixto tequila (51% blue agave, 49% “other sugars”) captured the lion’s share of the market.
It was the end of the Reagan era with the election of George H. W. Bush as President while hundreds of savings and loan associations were bailed out by the government for $150 billion. Exxon’s oil tanker, Valdez, spilled 11 million gallons of oilafter running aground in Alaska, but gas was just 97 cents per gallon.Anddue to the greenhouse effect, scientists declared 1989 as the warmest year on record.
Meanwhile, in music, Jon Bon Jovi married his high school sweetheart in Las Vegas while Michael Jackson was named the “King of Pop” at the Soul Train Awards. The Moscow Music Peace Festival took place in the Soviet Union and was headlined by Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe, Skid Row, Cinderella, and the Scorpions. Finally, Whitesnake’s David Coverdale married rock n’ roll video vixen (and every adolescent boy’s dream), Tawny Kitaen.
In their hey day, famed West Hollywood night clubs like the Whisky-a-Go-Go, the Roxy and the Troubadour packed patrons in to see such groups as Great White, Warrant, Poison, and Guns N’ Roses. Out in North Hollywood, The Lodge, now known as Skinny’s Lounge, was serving the gay/transsexual communities in droves.
Twenty-five years later, Skinny’s is now the scene of a raucous new indie short film that takes place during the glory days of glam rock, power ballads, big hair and cheap tequila.
Salt, Liquor, Lime
Salt, Liquor, Lime is the story of three forty-something women, Diana (Vené Arcoraci Dixon), Jenn (Connie Marie Chiarelli) and Michelle (Sabrina Stewart) reuniting for their 20th college reunion. Before the big event, they decide to pre-game at their old hangout, the Deja Vu Tavern (Skinny’s), for one drink. It’s there that Marie (Liane Curtis), Deja Vu’s ageless owner and tequila maven, gives them some magical tequila from a mysterious bottle.
The hangover effect of this “tequila flux capacitor” takes the gals someplace unexpected where they discover their true hearts desire.
Billed as “a short film about time, tequila and the space time continuum,” Salt, Liquor, Lime is written and directed by Cynthia Thompson MacAdam, and co-produced by her and her multi-talented cousin and make up artist, Susan Thompson.
During a break in filming at Skinny’s Lounge, they discuss the project’s long history.
Indie Tequilas Answer The Call
No one knows the blood, sweat and tears that it takes to bring an independent film from conception to fruition better than a tequila brand owner, especially a small, independent tequila brand owner.
Struggling with mounds of paperwork, sometimes for years in both English and Spanish, to locating and acquiring financing and choosing the right distillery to direct the project. Then, devising an effective marketing strategy to advertise the brand on a shoestring budget while fighting for shelf space next to the “Big Boys” with unlimited piles of cash. And even if you win an award here and there for your quality and excellence, that’s still no guarantee that cases will move and bottles will fly off the shelves (or, in the case of movies, put butts in the seats), at least not without high powered distribution in place.
That’s why the following leading independent tequila brands chose to support Salt, Liquor, Lime and were rewarded with some slick product placement.
Karma (NOM 1107)–An award winning blend of double and triple distillation, this Highlands tequila is fronted by partners Ray McBride, Robert Grant and Gary Eisenberger who have carefully and strategically grown the brand from the West Coast to East Coast using pure passion and, of course, good karma.
Embajador (NOM 1509)–Declaring to be “the finest shot in the game,” this Arizona based family owned brand is gaining serious traction in the tequila industry.
Suerte (NOM 1530)–One of the hottest young brands to come along, this tequila has quickly acquired a name and a reputation for quality under the shrewd guidance of its co-founders, Lance Sokol and Laurence Spiewak.
Whether it’s marketing a fledgling tequila brand or shooting an indie film, flexibility while keeping an eye on results is critical for its survival.
In this clip, Cynthia and Susan discuss the changes and challenges of filming Salt, Liquor, Lime, a female-driven comedy, and where they’d like to ultimately end up.
Keeping It Real
Skinny’s Lounge in North Hollywood doubled as the Deja Vu Tavern, the fictional club in the Midwest that is the scene of all of the short film’s interior action. Actress (and one time bartender) Lacy Fisher, also the film’s production designer and whose husband owns Skinny’s, made sure that everything on and behind the bar echoed the trends of 1989 and today. Even the cocktails had their own stunt doubles. No alcohol was poured or harmed during the making of this film.
Ask anyone who’s ever worked on a film set and they’ll tell you, movie making is like the military–“hurry up and wait.” Long lulls between scenes while the crew lines up lighting and camera angles can last hours. Not so on the set of an indie film. Much like bringing a young tequila brand to the market, nimbleness and thinking on your feet are required.
Budget constraints, time crunches and scene continuity are dealt with in real time. Skinny’s opens every night of the week at 8pm, so the cast and crew had early set calls for hair and make up and none of the equipment could be left overnight.
Teamwork and camaraderie are strengthened, and most times, egos are left at the door. What results are more brilliant portrayals, more genuine emotion, and…
…More hilarious laughs.
And the Award Goes To….
Salt, Liquor, Lime, the short film, premiered on January 24, 2014 to a full house at Skinny’s Lounge. Guests were treated to cocktails and laughs and the cast and crew were given a proper send-off.
Like a start-up tequila brand, hopes and dreams are nurtured by hard work and care. Film festivals like South by Southwest (SXSW), the Sundance Film Festival and many others are certainly a possibility for Cynthia and Susan’s project.
Whether a newcomer tequila envisions itself to be the next Cabo Wabo or Peligroso, or Salt, Liquor, Lime promises to be the next Bridesmaids or The Hangover is anyone’s guess. But like any indie film or indie tequila, it’s not just about the buzz behind your brand, but how well your story is told.
Keep it here on TequilaAficionado.com to see how this tale ends.
If you’d like to support the indie film Salt, Liquor, Lime, go here.