The Tequila 3 Ring Circus

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Nm

The End of an Era

Inspired by this poignant and heartfelt Facebook post by Tom Nall, the gregarious co-founder of Republic Tequila, and Empresario LLC:

 The Tequila 3 Ring Circus is in Town

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4NmA new circus has replaced “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Imagine the spotlighted and off kilter Ringmaster who, in a booming Michael Buffer-eske voice announces–

Ladies and gentlemen, turn your attention to Ring Number One!”

Unless, you’ve been living under a rock since January 2017 (we wouldn’t blame you if you are!), you’ve no doubt heard of POTUS’ proposed 20% import tax on Mexican goods to fund the building of “The Great Border Wall” with Mexico to prevent illegal immigration.

Further, POTUS has promised that Mexico itself would pay for the wall.

Anyone with an iota of understanding of economics knows that this tariff would simply be passed onto consumers by the manufacturers of these goods.

And that includes tequila producers and mezcaleros.

According to this recent article, the collateral damage to other peripheral industries would be devastating.

Moreover, the archaic Three Tier System that was established in the United States after Prohibition, and on which alcohol distribution is based, demands that each level of the tier also pass along this 20% tax.

“Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung,” P.T. Barnum

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Nm

Once POTUS bullied Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in late January 2017 into cancelling his visit to the US if Mexico refused to pay for the 2,000 mile border wall, his strategy backfired.

Each leader took the war to Twitter.

While POTUS berated the Mexican President and screamed about the lopsidedness of the NAFTA agreement, Peña Nieto vehemently argued that Mexico would never pay for such a wall and managed to rally a divided country to his side.

It almost made us nostalgic to watch reruns of Destilando Amor, again.

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Nm

Meanwhile, under the Big Top, the Center Ring was where everyone clamored to sit near because only the most prestigious routines happened inside.

Ladies and gentlemen, we direct you to the Center Ring!”

In early February, an interesting thing happened in court.  A precedential ruling was handed down in the case Luxco, Inc. v. Consejo Regulador del Tequila, A.C.

The decision allowed the CRT (Tequila’s governing body in Mexico) to register the word TEQUILA as a certification mark and control its use.

Wait!  What?

Isn’t that the CRT’s job, anyway?

What changed?

The CRT aggressively protects Tequila like Disney or Levi’s conserve their trademarks.

When you read this article explaining the timeline and judgment of the case, you’re amazed at the depth of Luxco’s arrogance to file the lawsuit in the first place and to completely ignore Tequila’s geographic indication.

Surprising, too, since Luxco imports and distributes El Mayor tequila, and re-bottles Exotico and Juarez tequilas that are certified by the CRT as authentic, all at Destiladora González González (NOM 1143).

Makes you shake your head and wonder what Luxco was thinking.

 Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on Ring Number Two!”

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4NmRock & Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar has found a way around his alleged Cabo Wabo Tequila non-compete clause, and recruited his friend and fellow rock star, Adam Levine of Maroon 5 to develop–

Santo Mezquila?

According to its marketing copy, it’s a blend of 100 percent blue agave and espadín agave to “create a smooth and rich tequila flavor with the sweet and smoky taste of mezcal.”

But, what is it?

It’s not completely tequila, even though the 100% blue agave tequila portion is being distilled at Sammy’s original maquiladora, El Viejito (NOM 1107).

It is still unknown, however, at which palenque the mezcal portion is being distilled, and whether it comes from an industrial producer or not.

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Nm

One thing for sure, the label will NOT have a NOM number on it.

The Shell Game

As an adult, you realize now that the three ring circus was nothing more than an elaborate con.  An enormous shell game dressed up in glittering sequined costumes and face paint to keep you guessing where the action would take place next.

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Nm

The thrills and chills of trapeze artists, lion tamers, high wire stunts, acrobats, jugglers and clowns performing all at once.

Slight of hand and misdirection at its very best.

A View From the Cheap Seats

Unlike today’s stadiums and auditoriums, there was always a bad seat in the house underneath the Big Top, and chances were, you were sitting in it.

There was always a feeling of missing something–a triple somersault, or dancing stallions, or roaring big cats jumping through flaming hoops.

To keep track of the drama from one ring to another, you craned your neck, unless…

You sat in the cheap seats, high above in the nosebleed section.

 Ladies and gentlemen, back to Ring Number One!”

At first, there was some question as to whether tequila and mezcal would fall under the proposed tariff.

Being the largest consumer of tequila in the world, America’s agave lovers were hoping that their favorite spirits would be spared.

Since 100% de agave tequila, and other agave spirits with an appellation of origin, can only be made in Mexico, it seems that the additional tax is almost a certainty.

Newsflash!

We knew the price of tequila was going up, anyway.

We covered this in The Agave Shortage of 2017 is Worse Than We Thought.

Due to an unexpected snowstorm in Arandas in March 2016 that damaged agave crops; subsequent substantial contracts with medium sized maquiladoras (distilleries that produce tequila for various other brands) by transnational corporations tying up enormous quantities of tequila to be bottled under their labels; and aggressive competition for ripe agave by los mieleros (pharmaceutical companies), tequila prices were scaling up.

Whether Mexican spirits are affected by a tariff or not, or due to the scarcity of blue agave, look for prices to increase across the board.

 Ladies and gentlemen, let’s return to Ring Number Two!”

Speaking of the blue agave shortage…The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Nm

Accusations persist that truckloads of espadin agave, generally used to make mezcal, are still being sent by the truckload from Oaxaca to Jalisco headed for tequila distilleries to fulfill pending orders.

Rather than hide this clandestine fact any longer, Sammy and friends have perhaps decided to take the practice public and spin it into Santo Mezquila.

As a result, long time mezcaleros like Doug French of legacy brand Scorpion, have taken to distilling whiskies from heirloom corn to ride out the storm of the espadin shortage.

Also, to conserve wild agave species, as well as to ensure future supplies for his wildly popular mezcal expressions, Doug has planted small plots of agave instead of trying to compete with deeper celebrity pockets.

“To the Center Ring for the Grand Finale!”

While we still scratch our heads about the Luxco court decision, and if, in fact, POTUS does levy a 20% tax on all Mexican imports, including Mexican beer and spirits, here’s a few possible scenarios to consider.

The Human Cannonball

If the above cited article is correct, beer and tequila companies are using NAFTA only 8% of the time, and tequila comes in free for all World Trade Organization (WTO) members, anyway.

The proposed tariff would, in essence, tear up NAFTA, regardless of whether POTUS decides to renegotiate it or not, and fire a message across to Mexico that he’s not kidding around.  But…

Mexican President Peña Nieto has an ace up his sleeve.

More Fun than a Barrel of Monkeys

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4NmRemember this flash from the past from 2003?

POTUS’ blatant disdain for Mexicans could lead to the CRT and Mexico retaliating by requiring that all tequila shipped in bulk to the United States be bottled in Mexico to insure the quality of the juice.

The consequences of this move, as described in the above cited DISCUS (Distilled Spirits Council of the United States) press release could be cataclysmic, particularly for those bottling plants in the Southern US.

Surely, this tactic would be fully endorsed by former Mexican President, Vicente Fox, who has no love loss with POTUS, and under whose term the ban was originally proposed.

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Enraged, POTUS might completely disregard Appellations of Origin, in general, and not just Mexico’s.

He could allow micro and craft distillers across the country to make American tequila, mezcal, sotol, champagne, Bordeaux, and anything else that is protected by geographic indicators, triggering international incidents.

Pernod Ricard, maker of Avión and Olmeca Altos tequila, has already expressed its concern about this possibility.

51-49% cognac, anyone?

Don’t look now.  It’s already happening.

Products like Three Wells from Tucson, Arizona, and the controversial Besado

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Nm

calling itself “tequila” are already capturing the public’s attention, and commanding shelf space.

And, for the second or third time (we’ve lost count), South Africa is throwing its hat in the ring with its version of “tequila.”

Here’s a thought:

Maybe THIS is what Luxco was going for, after all?

This Way to the Egress

The way we see it, the CRT will have its hands full policing impostors on this side of the wall and abroad.  But…

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Nm

As Master Marketer, and P.T. Barnum expert, Joe Vitale says, “people will spend their last dime to be entertained,” and that includes their favorite agave spirits.

The Tequila 3 Ring Circus http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4Nm

By the way, P.T. Barnum never said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”  Instead, he professed that, “There’s a customer born every minute.”

Be an informed customer.

Demand authenticity and transparency from your favorite agave spirit producer.

Don’t be a sucker.

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!

Interview with Sammy Hagar from Cabo Wabo Tequila

cabo wabo, sammy hagarIn March, Tequila Aficionado Magazine attended the 28th International Nightclub & Bar/Beverage Retailer Convention and Trade Show
hosted by Restaurant Marketing Magazine. It was an incredible show to say the least.

Among the many tequila companies represented, we had an opportunity to visit with Sammy Hagar from Cabo Wabo tequila.

Tequila Aficionado: How do you feel about the success of Cabo Wabo?

Sammy Hagar: I think it is phenomenal, everyone has dreams and stuff and that is just one of the ones that I had no idea it was going to be such an instant success and I know it was the best tequila I ever made in my life; I mean that I had ever tasted in my life but I had no idea that everyone would get it and I am happy about it.

TA: What are your plans for this year, any major promotions of Cabo Wabo?

SH: Always, the way I live my life is the Cabo Wabo lifestyle so everything I do, it promotes itself because I don’t have to go out and say I am selling this, I am Mr. Cabo Wabo! So I just be there and I don’t have to try to hard sell anything because I am not about that. I am not about holding up a carton and saying “drink this because I say it’s good.” This is what I drink, I drink CaboWabo and that’s why .. , it’s not an endorsement, I own the company if you know what I mean. So, between the club, my stage show, which is built around the CaboWabo, and the tequila – it’s like a snow ball thing, it all promotes itself.

cabo wabo, tequila, blanco, sammy hagarTA: Explain to us what is the Cabo Wabo lifestyle?

SH: Well the Cabo Wabo lifestyle is pretty much, spicy food, margaritas and shots, having fun, a lot of beach time.

TA: You are in your beach wear right now!

SH: Well this is the way I dress. If I can’t dress like this, I go somewhere else where I can. I don’t like wool, you know It’s the Cabo Wabo lifestyle. I don’t like hats, I don’t like socks, I don’t even like shoes, I don’t even like clothes period but you know you gotta wear a t-shirt and some shorts. That’s it – that’s CaboWabo to me.

TA: What got you into the Tequila’s?

SH: I have been living in Mexico for 18 years off-and-on, part-time I’d say, and went to the town of Tequila about 16, 17 years ago and it blew my mind when I tasted real handmade Tequila. Before then I had been drinking like everyone else the stuff that you go, “I will never drink that as long as I live,” and you have gotten sick in college on rot-gut tequila, but once you taste really good tequila, as good as any fine cognac or armagnac or scotch or anything else so I got turned on to that and I became a new man.

cabo wabo, tequila, reposado, sammy hagarTA: Do you have any mentors that you follow to get into Tequila? Any mentors you can talk about?

SH: Well I would say the first time I went to the town of Tequila and I tasted a little factor called Delahancia, it was about 14 years ago and I was building the Cabo Wabo and I was over there looking for boutique Tequilas that I could have in my club that you could not buy. And it was the best tequila I had ever tasted in my life and since then, they don’t exist anymore, I am sure they got bought out by some big boys or something, and it’s probably some big factory now that it is no longer handmade, but at the time I was on a search to find that kind of tequila and they made me CaboWabo for a long time. They didn’t make it Cabo Wabo, they made me tequila in jugs they would send me for my club and everyone that tasted it flipped out. So when I finally found Miravalle, the factory that makes CaboWabo, and that’s all they make now, but they had a couple other little brands at the time and now they just make CaboWabo. Miravalle said “what do you want it to taste like” and I kept tasting and the chemists there kept making me different tequilas and I would taste them and taste them until I tasted what I thought was close to that, thing it was almost like peanut butter, it was very “caramelly”. I then started liking simpler, less aged tequilas, quite honestly, and I am almost like a blanco guy now.

cabo wabo anejo tequila sammy hagarTA: A purist?

SH: Yes, in a way I am. Because you like the taste of the tequila and I don’t like four-year old aged tequilas, they taste like scotch and I am not a big scotch drinker, I am a tequila drinker. So, that is kind of where my head has gone and in the future, but originally I was going for that one-year aged killing-taste that Delahancia was. So he is my mentor but I don’t know where they are those people.

TA: So do you consider yourself a Tequila Aficionado?

SH: Oh absolutely! Last night I was in a restaurant in Palm Springs and I asked the bartender, (he didn’t know who I was or nothing, and I was with my nephews and my brother, we were out having boys-night-out) and said “hey, do you got any tequila,” and he said “sure man,” I said “you got CaboWabo” and he goes “yeah we do that’s really good tequila, I hear a lot about it. Have you had it?” and I am going “no, never had it.” So I was doing that with the guy and I sat there and I tasted it and I mean, I didn’t see the bottle, he poured it and I thought yeah this guy could be “bulls—–g” right. I smelled it,… instant recognition! I said this is CaboWabo, I could tell you anywhere in the world that this is CaboWabo, then we ordered a Patron and we ordered a Don Julio, we order Porfidio, we ordered all these and smelled them all next to each other and CaboWabo is the best tequila in the world. That is my honest opinion, you know it’s all about taste. It’s what your taste is, well for me that is the kind of tequila I like. You know with wine you might say I am a burgundy guy or I am a Bordeaux, or I like cheval blanc over Latour, it’s all a matter of taste, for me CaboWabo is the best Tequila in the world.

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!

Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine is Back in Texas

A Triumphant Return to Tejas

On this soggy and swampy St. Patrick’s Day, I was graciously invited to spend the afternoon at Sam’s Burger Joint by Mexican Moonshine creator and indie music rock star,  Roger Clyne.  He had arrived in Texas for a busy week of concerts at the famed music, media, film conference and festival, South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin.SamsPatio

With additional gigs in San Antonio and New Braunfels, this night he was slated to perform an acoustic set at Sam’s Music Hall with his Arizona Peacemaker compadre, Jim Dalton.  The rest of the band would catch up later as they traveled by bus.

Over a burger and a cerveza (and a few selfies), Roger and I caught up on current events.

When We Last Left Our Hero…

Simultaneous selfies.
Simultaneous selfies.

When we last saw Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers in 2013 and sipped and talked tequila on his tour bus, his then Texas spirits distributer had suddenly and unceremoniously dumped Mexican Moonshine tequila, despite its growing sales and Roger’s staunch Texas fan base.

Undaunted, he continued to seek more adequate representation for Mexican Moonshine in what is arguably one of the biggest tequila-consuming states in the Southwest.

This time around, Clyne elected to join forces with a much

Clyne's new guitar.
Clyne’s new guitar.

smaller, boutique distributer.  However, he is keenly aware that such a decision can be a double-edged sword in the spirits business.

As many brands of promise often do, they lean towards employing these specialty distributors in hopes of gaining more attention for their label than they would from large, impersonal corporations who are only interested in mass volume case movements and “what’s on spiff?” items.

Staff trainings on Mexican Moonshine’s finer points is key to seeing bottles moving off of the shelves and into customer’s hands and into local bars and restaurants.  A challenge he is certainly up for since he continues to conduct pre-show tastings of Mexican Moonshine to fans at selected clubs and concert halls.

Coming Back With a Vengance

RogerJimLuckily, the timing of Mexican Moonshine’s relaunch into the Texas market coincided with the Peacemakers’ assault on Austin during SXSW.

Clyne admitted that he has no delusions of becoming the next Margaritaville or Cabo Wabo, or any of the other celebrity-owned tequilas.  Like his music, Roger’s aspirations for Mexican Moonshine are much more independent.

“I want to be a Southwest brand of tequila,” he confessed.  “I have no dreams of entering large competitive markets where Mexican Moonshine will disappear in a sea of brands.”

Due to the heavy Mexican cultural influence of his rugged

Mexican Moonshine table tents
Mexican Moonshine table tents

Arizona upbringing, Clyne has not ruled out venturing into the world of other agave spirits in the future.

“But,” he adds cautiously with a sly smile, “let’s get some traction back in Texas, first.”

Guess Roger and I will have to talk about those distant opportunities next time over some street tacos and Mexican Moonshine.

ClyneCerveza

 ***

Enjoy the following snippet of Roger Clyne and Jim Dalton as they perform Marie during a sound check at Sam’s Burger Joint.

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!

Cabo Wabo Anejo Tequila Review

Cabo Wabo Anejo

Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Cabo Wabo Anejo Tequila, nominating it for the 2014 Brands of Promise Awards.

Cabo Wabo Tequila was born in 1996 on the backroads of Guadalajara by legendary musician andtequila aficionado, Sammy Hagar. After searching for atequila exceptional enough to serve inside his cantinain Cabo San Lucas, Sammy partnered with a tequila-making family with over 80 years of experience. Today,the agave used to make Cabo Wabo Tequila is grown,cultivated and harvested by this same family.

 About Cabo Wabo Anejo

cabo wabo anejo tequila sammy hagarFor those who appreciate the deep, robust flavor that only proper aging can bring, Cabo Wabo Tequila Añejo is truly a tequila without peer. Matured in American oak barrels for 14 months, our Añejo presents a full vanilla and caramel nose that quickly gives way to woody notes on the palate complemented by hints of honey and chocolate. A long, delicate finish – the definition of smooth – completes the experience, and it makes Cabo Wabo Tequila Añejo a drink best enjoyed on its own.

  • Amber-gold color
  • Aged in American oak barrels for 14 months
  • Vanilla and caramel nose with honey and chocolate flavors

Visit Cabo Wabo Tequila’s website for more information on the famous tequila and the lifestyle.

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!

Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila Review

Cabo Wabo Reposado

cabo wabo, tequila, reposado, sammy hagarMike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila, nominating it for the 2014 Brands of Promise Awards.


Cabo
Wabo Tequila was born in 1996 on the backroads of Guadalajara by legendary musician andtequila aficionado, Sammy Hagar. After searching for atequila exceptional enough to serve inside his cantinain Cabo San Lucas, Sammy partnered with a tequila-making family with over 80 years of experience. Today,the agave used to make Cabo Wabo Tequila is grown,cultivated and harvested by this same family.

 About Cabo Wabo Reposado

Recognized as one of the finest tequilas in the world, this Reposado delivers a distinctive experience that even the most discerning drinkers find delightful and unique. An assertive nose of sweet lime, orange and fresh herbs excites upon pouring. Maturation in American oak casks for 4 to 6 months infuses our Reposado with a bold peppery flavor and hints of fruit that linger on the palate briefly, followed by a long, spicy finish. A truly incomparable spirit, Cabo Wabo Tequila Reposado is ideal for sipping solo or in a top-shelf margarita or other mixed drinks.

  • Amber-yellow color
  • Aged in oak casks for four to six months
  • Rich, peppery taste with abundant fruit flavors

Visit Cabo Wabo Tequila’s website for more information on the tequila and the lifestyle.

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!

Founder’s Feature: Sammy Hagar & Cabo Wabo Tequila

sammy hagar, cabo waboAlexander Perez, Founder of Tequila Aficionado, interviews Sammy Hagar in this classic Founder’s Feature from the Tequila Aficionado vault.

Sammy Hagar has since sold Cabo Wabo to Campari, but he continues to live the Cabo Wabo lifestyle that he describes in the interview.

 

Look for our reviews of Cabo Wabo tequilas Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and Diablo coming soon to tequila Aficionado.

 

blanco, cabo wabo, sammy hagar, tequilaCabo Wabo Blanco:

As crystal clear as the waters surrounding Cabo San Lucas, Cabo Wabo Tequila Blanco arouses the senses with fresh floral aromas complemented by notes of lime and mint. Handcrafted from 100-percent Weber’s Blue Agave, our blanco boasts unadulterated agave flavors and a slightly spicy character that teases the palate, and delivers a crisp, clean finish that leaves you energized and refreshed. Enjoy Cabo Wabo Tequila Blanco as a chilled shot or in your favorite premium drink.
Pure, crystal-clear color
Bottled direct from distillation
Fresh, floral bouquet with spicy lime and full agave flavors

 

repo, cabo wabo, reposado, sammy hagar

Cabo Wabo Reposado:

Recognized as one of the finest tequilas in the world, Cabo Wabo Tequila Reposado delivers a distinctive experience that even the most discerning drinkers find delightful and unique. An assertive nose of sweet lime, orange and fresh herbs excites upon pouring. Maturation in American oak casks for 4 to 6 months infuses our Reposado with a bold peppery flavor and hints of fruit that linger on the palate briefly, followed by a long, spicy finish. A truly incomparable spirit, Cabo Wabo Tequila Reposado is ideal for sipping solo or in a top-shelf margarita or other mixed drinks.
Amber-yellow color
Aged in oak casks for four to six months
Rich, peppery taste with abundant fruit flavors

 

anejo, cabo wabo, sammy hagar

Cabo Wabo Anejo:

For those who appreciate the deep, robust flavor that only proper aging can bring, Cabo Wabo Tequila Añejo is truly a tequila without peer. Matured in American oak barrels for 14 months, our Añejo presents a full vanilla and caramel nose that quickly gives way to woody notes on the palate complemented by hints of honey and chocolate. A long, delicate finish – the definition of smooth – completes the experience, and it makes Cabo Wabo Tequila Añejo a drink best enjoyed on its own.
Amber-gold color
Aged in American oak barrels for 14 months
Vanilla and caramel nose with honey and chocolate flavors

 

diablo, cabo wabo, cabo diablo, cinnamon tequila, sammy hagar

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CRT Drops Ball, Campari Keeps Cabo Wabo

Cabo Wabo Moved to Brown-Forman?

When we downloaded the 28 April NOM List from the CRT to update the Tequila Aficionado NOM List, we were shocked to find that Cabo Wabo Tequila had moved from Campari to Brown-Forman.  Naturally, we needed to discuss the state of affairs with other aficionados.  Luckily, Campari was on the ball.

 

 

crtJust a Mixup at the CRT

Great news!  We have it on excellent authority that Cabo Wabo has not moved.  Hopefully, the CRT will make the appropriate corrections soon.

 

Direct from Campari

Following is the letter I received today from Caitlin Crisan, the Public Relations Manager for Campari:

 

cabo wabo, tequila, campari

 

From: Caitlin Crisan
Sent: Friday, May 02, 2014 12:14 PM
To: Lisa Pietsch
Subject: Cabo Wabo NOM Issue

Hi Lisa,

I saw your post yesterday on the NOM issue with Cabo Wabo Tequila. I assure you this was a mistake and the brand is still very much with Campari America.

cabo wabo, tequila, campari, brown-forman, If you have any further questions or clarification, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Best,

Caitlin Crisan

Public Relations & Events Manager

CAMPARI AMERICA

A GRUPPO CAMPARI COMPANY

1255 Battery St. Suite 500

San Francisco, CA, 94111

tel 415.315.8093 | fax 415.315.8062

www.campariamerica.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CampariAmerica

Fan us on Facebook.

 

Cabo Wabo

Cabo Wabo Tequila is The Original Rock&Roll ultra-premium tequila. Cabo Wabo was created by Rock&Roll Hall-of-Famer Sammy Hagar to have a superior tequila to serve his friends in his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Handcrafted from 100% Blue Weber Agave, Cabo Wabo offers a Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo tequila. Cabo Wabo is acknowledged as one of the finest ultra-premium tequilas in the world and continues to win top competitive tasting awards, including a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the Chairman’s Trophy at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

Cabo Wabo is STILL owned by Gruppo Campari.

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Salt, Liquor, Lime–A Tequila Flux Capacitor by M.A. “Mike” Morales

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.

***

The Stars of the indie short film, Salt, Liquor, Lime.
The Stars of the indie short film, Salt, Liquor, Lime.

Remember 1989?

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.

 

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Skinny's Lounge in North Hollywood, CA.
Skinny’s Lounge in North Hollywood, CA.

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

The mysterious magic bottle of tequila.
The mysterious magic bottle of tequila.

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.

 

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Susan Thompson and Cynthia Macadam, co-producers of Salt, Liquor, Lime.
Susan Thompson and Cynthia Macadam, co-producers of Salt, Liquor, Lime.

 

The Story Behind Salt, Liquor, Lime

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.

 

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      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 tequila.
Karma tequila.

 

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 tequila.
Embajador tequila.

 

 

 

 

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 tequila courtesy of Felicity Ryan.
Suerte tequila courtesy of Felicity Ryan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Each of these brands not only understood the value of independent films as art, but also the importance of supporting female spearheaded projects, particularly in this era where marketing numbers show that 70%-80% of the buying decisions for the household are heavily influenced by women.

The Challenges of Filming A Female-Driven Comedy

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.

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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

Stunt booze.
Stunt booze.

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.

 

 

Ready For Our Close-up! 

In a surprise move by Cynthia and Susan, Tequila Aficionado was mentioned in one of the character’s dialogue.

tequila aficionado, salt liquor lime movie
Tequila Aficionado in the movies.

 

 

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Quiet on The Set!

Craft table.
Craft table.

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…

 

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…More hilarious laughs.

 

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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.

Balancing act.
Balancing act.

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.

The ladies of Salt, Liquor, Lime have fun with Siete Leguas tequila.
The ladies of Salt, Liquor, Lime have fun with Siete Leguas tequila.

 

Keep it here on TequilaAficionado.com to see how this tale ends.

 

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If you’d like to support the indie film Salt, Liquor, Lime, go here.

Follow Salt, Liquor, Lime on Facebook. And on Twitter @SaltLiquorLime

 

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Sammy Hagar Sells Out Completely to Campari!

Skyy Spirits is building on its recent growth spurt.

Skyy — the San Francisco-based North American base of operations for Italian parent Gruppo Campari — is looking to add at least six and staffers to its current roster of 92, including senior brand managers for its Wild Turkey bourbon and Cordials brands.

sammy hagar, cabo wabo tequilaIn June 2009, just after Campari made San Francisco its North American headquarters, Skyy had 62 staffers, most of them based in the city, with a small production facility in San Jose and a few workers in home offices.

Campari reported a 13.3 percent jump in U.S. sales for the six months ending June 30. In North and South America, where Campari generated 34 percent of total first-half revenue, sales skyrocketed 46 percent. Fifteen percent of that came from its acquisition of Wild Turkey and its Kentucky-based distillery in May 2009 from Pernod Ricard.

The company in late July signed a deal to acquire the remaining 20 percent minority stake in Cabo Wabo tequila it doesn’t already own from rock Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar. The price was $11 million (plus payment of $3 million over the next three years to the selling shareholder), said CEO Gerry Ruvo.

Skyy’s best-selling products include Skyy Vodka, Wild Turkey Bourbon, Skyy Infusions (vodkas infused with natural pineapple, ginger, citrus, passion fruit, grape, cherry and raspberry), Campari and Cabo Wabo Tequila.

In a statement, Ruvo attributed strong sales to the Wild Turkey acquisition, successful introductions of Infusions Ginger and Espolon Tequila and Skyy’s strength in off-premise sales, as opposed to sales in restaurants, where the recession’s impact has lingered. Comparisons to “relatively low” prior year numbers also helped, he said.

#tequilaville, justin timberlake, sauza, beam brandsSkyy’s original vodka, the No. 3 vodka brand nationally, fell behind rivals over last year, with sales slipping nearly 2 percent at retail outlets, while several competitors saw sales increase by about 5 percent, according to Chicago’s SymphonyIRI Group research firm. But its infused varieties saw significant growth.

Editor’s Note: For more information on rock stars and tequila, read our articles on Justin Timberlake and 901 Tequila.

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

 

Salud!!