By now, many of you have seen or read the following story that first appeared in the Chinese press and was then regurgitated by the Mexican newspapers, followed by this video report concerning the alleged shutdown and supposed seizure of over a million liters of tequila at the Embajador distillery (NOM 1509) located in Atotonilco, Jalisco Mexico.
Recently, a concerned tequila brand owner emailed us the following:
“Curious–in your opinion do you think they [COFEPRIS (Comisión Federál para la Protección contra Reisgos Sanitarios) and SAT (Servicio de Admistración Tributaria)] might be just flexing muscle? Wonder if some of it was just paperwork and getting blown out of proportion? …Nothing surprises me, anymore.”
Whether you’re a consumer or a tequila brand owner, you’d be correct in asking these same questions.
And, since you asked…
To me, this is clearly a case of government agencies bullying an up-and-coming player poised to enter the Asian market.
Here’s why I think that–
My sources tell me that the family-owned distillery has had a clean track record without a single citation in over 15 years. Moreover, in the past year or two, the family has made a number of improvements and investments to the distillery in order to compete effectively in Asia, with a focus on China.
Oddly, the news broke almost immediately in the Chinese press with an exact list of the seemingly minor infractions and liters of tequila “seized.”
Why was it not reported in the Mexican press, first? How did China scoop Mexico in its own backyard?
Realistically, the amount of seized juice could be estimated to have a wholesale value of $10 million dollars, and a retail value of exponentially much more.
Why would a family-owned tequila distillery suddenly become so careless with a process that is very near and dear to them?
In my opinion, this whole situation reeks of a deliberate and malicious act to not only bully the family-owned distillery, but to also smear its reputation locally, and potentially, globally.
The aforementioned sources also claim that no tequila was physically seized, carted away or even dumped. Customarily, the minor infractions that were meticulously listed in the news reports would only garner a fair warning and would never warrant such a full blown assault on any tequila producing factory.
Strong arming Embajador Tequila and making it a sacrificial lamb to justify the existence of an illusory campaign against illegally produced tequila is simply bad politics.
My research reveals that the Embajador distillery is working closely with the CRT.
It will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds.