Sipping off the Cuff with Tequila Aficionado

Sipping off the Cuff

What happens when two tequila lovers happen to get together and taste tequila?  Of course they’re going to talk about it!  Here’s what happened when M.A. “Mike” Morales and Alexander Perez got together all those many years ago.

Alex and Mike decided to podcast their tastings.  When video production became a possibility, they moved Sipping off the Cuff to video.  They chose to keep it simple.  Share their tasting experience through an honest discussion.  Sometimes they offer mixing suggestions for tequilas that may be better for mixing than sipping.  Sometimes they disagree on whether a spirit is a good one or not.  Whatever the case, they share it with you openly and honestly and never accept pay-for-play.

Alex Perez and Mike Morales announce their new series of tequila discussions – we don’t rate tequila but we will tell you all about every one we taste!

Look for new episodes coming in 2013!

tequila aficionado newsletter, blooper, sipping off the cuff, monday madness
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Sipping off the Cuff(tm) began as an audio podcast in 2006 and is Tequila Aficionado’s first and longest running tequila review program. Sipping off the Cuff is broadcast every Friday (and occasionally Tuesdays) on YouTube and Tequila Aficionado. If you are a Tequila, Mezcal or Sotol brand owner or representative and would like your product(s) reviewed on an upcoming episode of Sipping off the Cuff, please contact Mike@TequilaAficionado.com.

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What If There Were No Duty Free Tequila?

In the December 17, 2009 issue of Drinks International online magazine, the headline reads:

WHO plans global duty free liquor ban

The story goes on to say…

“The World Health Organization (WHO) has shocked the duty-free industry by proposing a global ban on duty-free liquor sales, a business which was worth $6.3bn last year.”

The proposal to slow down alcohol consumption was actually published in December of last year, but will finally get onto the WHO’s Executive Board agenda between January 18-23, 2010. The Board is made up of health ministers from 34 leading countries, and if it approves the proposal, it will be presented to the WHO’s full annual General Assembly in May 2010.

Keith Spinks, secretary general of the European Travel Retail Council (ETRC) believes that the proposal will pass the Executive Board and into the General Assembly that is made up of 193 governments, and warns, “If this goes though, it will be a disaster for the industry.”

Should the World Health Organization ratify this proposal, there is an upside.  According to Spinks, this proposal on liquor would not be “binding.”

“It is going to be up to each member country to decide whether to implement the proposal or not.” But, he adds, “My fear is that some countries will and some won’t, leaving us in a big mess.”

In 2005, the WHO tried to ban duty-free tobacco sales through its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC was ratified by 165 countries worldwide, but has yet to be implemented by any country.

A quick review of the members of the World Health Organization may give a clue as to why.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Tourism

All countries which are Members of the United Nations may become members of World Health Organization by accepting its Constitution.  So, which countries are members?

Australia, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, UK, and the USA, to name just a few.  Most all of these countries have one or more international airports with duty free stores selling among other things, spirits, cigars, and cigarettes.

Not only do most of these member countries tout tourism as a major industry, but many also have their signature spirits (and cigars, in some cases) that define them.  Examples are rum from Barbados, limoncello from Italy, and of course, tequila from Mexico.

Where duty free merchants pay inventory/business or other taxes, customers usually pay none.  For these countries, tourism, and the profit made at duty free shops from alcohol and tobacco sales, is directly related to each other.

How much damage could the enforcement of this proposal do?

WHO vs. Patrón

As stated above, duty-free liquor sales from last year amounted to $6.3 billion in 2008.  That accounted for 17.2% of the total global liquor business according to the Drinks International article.

In the April 2008 issue of Impact Magazine, it states that Patrón tequila was also penetrating the travel retail sector overseas, long a key channel for high-end spirits but one in which tequila was underappreciated.  Patrón was aggressively growing its brand by sampling at very visible public relations events in key cities such as London, Athens, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney, all whose countries are members of the World Health Organization.

The Patrón Spirits Company, producers of Patrón tequila, claim on their website to be in over 100 countries and islands worldwide.  Given that there are only 193 members of the WHO, the chances are good that Patrón is available in the duty free stores of most of these member countries.

Assuming that the same 163 countries that ratified the duty free tobacco ban in 2005 also decided to ratify—and enforce–the duty free alcohol ban, the results could be devastating not just for Patrón, but also for Sauza, Brown-Forman (El Jimador brand), and Jose Cuervo, as well as all spirits suppliers, duty free retailers, and airports.

While it seems likely that the World Health Organization’s Executive Board will ratify the alcohol ban proposal, it seems unlikely that any countries will actually enforce it.

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Tequila: The Year in Review

year in reviewAccording to figures released by Herradura, the number of cases of tequila exported annually are…

  1. US 11.5 million

  2. México 7.5 million

  3. Germany 450,000 

  4. Russia 300,000

  5. Canada 250,000

  6. France 200,000

  7. Greece 190,000

  8. Japan 150,000.   

Of worldwide tequila production, Mexico bottles 33% while the United States bottles 51% as bulk mixto. 

 

However, figures released by the CRT (Consejo Regulador del Tequila) state that from January to October of 2009, there was a 19% drop in tequila production from 2008.  

A reporter for Excelsior Online recently commented in his column that despite Mexico’s economic drop of 7% during the recession, as of October 2009, sales of tequila have increased 10% over last year. While this columnist attributes the rise in tequila consumption to consumers trying to make the recession more bearable, others in the tequila industry are more optimistic about the future.

Juan Beckmann Vidal, president of Casa Cuervo, sees enormous worldwide potential in the exportation of the Spirit of Mexico, particularly into Asia.  He foresees the annual sales of 137 million liters of tequila to double in the next five years.

With the current instability of each country’s economy, it will be interesting to see what the final production figures are at the end of 2009.

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Tequila Timeline: A Different Perspective

fast company, tequila timelineTequila Timeline: From Agave to the Worm

For some reason this article Tequila Timeline: From Agave to the Worm was reposted in Fast Company Magazine on Friday, November 20, 2009 from an earlier post on October 15, 2009.  (Maybe it was because the editors forgot to add the cute tequila graphics the first time?)

Anyway, most of the timeline is historically accurate, except for this factoid:

1873:  Don Cenobio Sauza exports three barrels to El Paso, Texas, the first tequila in the United States.  Today, the U.S. is the No. 1 market for tequila.  Mexico is second.  Third?  Greece.”

tequila timelineThe reference to Sauza exporting mezcal wine into El Paso in 1873 is incorrect.  I’ll explain why momentarily, but first…

Texas’ long history of laying claim to being the home of tequila in the United States can be credited to W. Park Kerr of the El Paso Chile Company fame.  Not for anything that he may have said, but for what he did.

Kerr was the first Texas entrepreneur to distill a private label tequila (Tequila Naciónal) in Mexico to his specifications, thus opening the floodgates of recent tequila brands based in Texas such as RiAzúl in Houston, El Grado in Corpus Christi, Republic Tequila in Austin, Buscadores in San Antonio, and Dos Lunas in El Paso, among others.

republic tequilaSorry to break this to tejanos, but Texas was not the final destination of that first delivery.

The Rest of the Story

In his book La historia del tequila, de sus regiones y sus hombres, author Rogelio Luna Zamora recounts:

“‘…con destino a Nuevo Mexico sale una partida de 3 barriles y 6 botijas….’  El punto fronterizo por donde salió fue el Paso del Norte (hoy Ciudad Juárez) en aquel entonces, paso obligado a las mercaderías exportadas por tierra al mercado estadunidense.”

[“‘…with a destination of New Mexico there is a lot of 3 barrels and 6 jugs….’  The border town point of entry was el Paso del Norte (present day Juárez) that in those days was the required land passage for commodities exported into the American marketplace.”]

 

 

In 1873, New Mexico was a territory of the United States, but still considered part of Mexico.  The final destination of Sauza’s shipment is believed to have been to the oldest capital city, Santa Fe.  Being also the terminus of the legendary Santa Fe Trail, the route that opened the Southwest to trading with the Eastern United States, this conclusion only makes sense.

Thirty-nine years later, New Mexico joined the Union.  Flash forward to today, and there is only one New Mexican owned brand of tequila (Silvercoin).

silvercoin tequila

Perhaps now is the time for more New Mexico entrepreneurs to step up with tequila labels of their own?

 

 

tequilarack

Originally posted November 22, 2009 by TequilaRack.

Click the image to buy TequilaRack online.

Please visit TequilaRack, a member of the Tequila Aficionado Flight of Sites.

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Are Rating Systems Flawed?

Wine Spectator reveals top 100 Wines of 2009, but…are all wine rating systems flawed?

Source: Los Angeles Times

November 20, 2009 | 5:16 pm

Now that Wine Spectator has finished dragging out the reveal of its Top 100 Wines of 2009 — a 2005 Columbia CrestCabernet Sauvignon was ranked No. 1 — over a yawn-inducing three days, we have to ask: Are wine ratings an accurate and useful guide for consumers? Or are they merely a series of wildly subjective impressions based more on context and expectation than the actual qualities of the wines?

That’s the question Leonard Mlodinow explores in a recent Wall Street Journal story, “A Hint of Hype, A Taste of Illusion.”Given the high price of wine and the enormous number of choices, a system in which industry experts comb through the forest of wines, judge them, and offer consumers the meaningful shortcut of medals and ratings makes sense. But what if the successive judgments of the same wine, by the same wine expert, vary so widely that the ratings and medals on which wines base their reputations are merely a powerful illusion?

That is the conclusion reached in two recent papers in the Journal of Wine Economics. He’s referring to findings published by Robert Hodgson, a retired statistics professor and the proprietor of Fieldbrook Winery. A few years ago, Hodgson joined the California State Fair wine competition advisory board, which allowed him to run a controlled scientific study of its tastings.The results, published in the Journal of Wine Economics, showed that the judges’ ratings varied by ±4 points on a standard 100-point rating scale. And “only about one in 10 [judges] regularly rated the same wine within a range of ±2 points.”

In September in the private wine newsletter the California Grapevine, Hodgson discussed his analysis of the complete records of several wine competitions. “The distribution of medals,” he wrote, “mirrors what might be expected should a gold medal be awarded by chance alone.'” Ouch. Many winemakers feel vindicated by Hodgson’s findings, while wine experts generally dismiss them.

If you want to try a similar, albeit much less scientific, experiment on your own, serve a group of friends the same wine in different bottles: first as a humble table wine and then as an expensive, award-winning wine. You’ll likely get a very different set of responses. When we know that something is highly valued by others, we tend to value it more highly. When we know that something is expensive, we’re more inclined to enjoy it. Almost nobody is immune from that. Apply that knowledge to the powerful tastemakers of the multi-billion-dollar wine industry, and where does that leave wine buyers?

At recently opened wine shop Domaine LA on Melrose near Highland Ave., owner Jill Bernheimer, who has run an online wine store for years, holds an annual contest for consumers to guess Wine Spectator’s No. 1 zinfandel. The winner receives a six-pack of wines that are rated 85 points or less, “just to prove a point,” she says. Namely, that there are plenty of underrated wines that are worth drinking. For Bernheimer, it’s about figuring out whose palate you trust.”You have to start somewhere and the easiest place is reading wine publications and scores,” she says. “But as people gain more experience and confidence in themselves, the best thing consumers can do is find a sommelier, a retailer or a critic who they feel they share a palate with. That can often be a better guide than scores on their own.”

tequilarack

 

Originally posted November 20, 2009 by TequilaRack.

Please visit TequilaRack, a member of the Tequila Aficionado Flight of Sites.

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TequilaRack is in Stores!

TequilaRack products are now available for purchase in select stores throughout Southern California.  The locations are posted on our website: http://www.tequilarack.com/store-locator.php

tequilarack

 

Originally posted June 11, 2008 by TequilaRack.

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Pomona Tequila Tasting 2005

Pomona Tequila Tasting

Video of some of the happenings at the Pomona Tequila Tasting in Pomona, CA.

pomona tequila tasting, agave girls

For information on future tequila tastings in the Pomona, California, area, contact the Agave Girls.

The Agave Girls are Latinas passionate about agave spirits! From highland Tequilas, to heirloom Mezcals, to emerging Bacanoras and beyond, they love exploring Mexico’s amazing spirits. Their mission is to share their discoveries through tastings and festivals.

For information on future tequila tastings and festivals in your area, wherever you are, be sure to visit the Tequila Aficionado worldwide events calendar.  We’ll keep you up to date on all the best tequila events we can find!

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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!!