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One Day, At Band Camp…
Recently, myself, and a few select others in this tightly knit tequila community, were asked to be interviewed for quotes concerning “surprising things you can do with tequila” for the May issue of a major, worldwide men’s magazine.
In the US, this would be just in time for Cinco de Mayo, and the predictable onslaught of articles riddled with comical inaccuracies and beginning with hackneyed clichés like…
“Remember when you were in (grade school, high school, college)…?” Or…
“Celebrating Mexican Independence Day…” Or…
“I can’t stand the smell of tequila to this day because one time….” And, my very favorite–
“…tequila, made from the agave cactus….”
The author of this upcoming article told me that his magazine’s circulation encompassed a wide age demographic that included
males from their mid-twenties to early sixties. In other words, from Millennials to Baby Boomers.
He further confidently informed me that his readership “has no idea about tequila outside of Cuervo Gold.”
At least, that’s what his boss–the editor!–told him to assume was his audience.
I was both disheartened and dismayed.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
According to this magazine’s website…
“[It] is the world’s largest and best-selling men’s magazine with 47 editions in 61 countries and a global readership of more than +35 million. In the U.S., [its] circulation exceeds 1.8 million, and it has been named a Capell’s Circulation Report top-ten performer every year for the past decade.”
This magazine also gives complete breakdowns of their demographics including education and income, and how they compare to other men’s magazines.
It is, by far, the leader. Further, its mission statement is…
“It’s the brand for active, professional men who want greater control over their physical, mental and emotional lives. We give men the tools they need to make their lives better through in-depth reporting, covering everything from fashion and grooming to health and nutrition as well as cutting edge gear, the latest entertainment, timely features and more.”
Lastly, it claims to be…
“#1 source of information for and about men.”
Underestimating Your Audience
What does it say about editors of major men’s magazines who still insist that their audience only shoots tequila and chugs suds when their own stats tell a different story?
Major men’s magazines who service this demographic continue to dumb down significant advancements in the spirits industry, as well as perpetuate tequila myths to keep their readers in the dark.
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Tequila hasn’t just “come of age.” It’s been coming “of age” for
the past twenty years like the most recent Paleo diet or ab workout. Cutting edge technology doesn’t only occur in the latest sports car or luxury wristwatch.
Here’s a newsflash for you, Perry White–
The issues facing the Tequila Industry at this point in time are much more critical than “surprising things you can do with tequila.”
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When you construct 9 pages on your website to convince potential advertisers that your audience is wealthy and educated, act like it.
Give them timely information with substance–
This article in the Times-Picayune is a prime example of a journalist who refuses to underestimate her newspaper’s audience while adding value to their lives.
It’s no secret these days that the craft beer and distilling industries are taking a bite out of the huge market share that beer and spirits multinational corporations have dominated for decades.
In case you missed it, Tequila Aficionado Media tackled this issue at length in Craft Tequila–WTF Does That Mean? Part 1 and Part 2. In Part 2, we made suggestions on how you can distinguish a craft tequila from all the others (the Craft Tequila Gauntlet).
These behemoth conglomerates continue to fight back, either by swallowing up smaller brewers or distillers, or, as in Budweiser’s case, by turning up its nose at the whole craft concept, illustrated in this now infamous Super Bowl XLIX TV spot.
Whether it’s a by product of self-education and exploration, or the education being received from the craft spirits sector of the market, the average consumer is becoming more aware of what they’re imbibing and demanding quality and transparency from the industry.
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So much so, that some consumer groups have taken it upon themselves to sue spirits makers like Austin, Texas’ Tito’s Vodka, and most recently, Jim Beam bourbon, for false claims that they are handcrafted.
While Simon Ford, one of the erudite founders of The 86 Company, makers of Tequila Cabeza, agreed in this interview, that such lawsuits are frivolous, he does admit that small companies like his owes it to the consumer “to explain the ins and outs of how it’s made and why it’s a worthy spirit.”
Therein lies the rub.
The Truth and Nothing But The Truth
It behooves all small craft brands to continue educating their customers every chance they get, whether in person, through word-of-mouth, in point-of-sale materials (POS), or through social media channels. And…
It is vitally important do so in print periodicals.
Conversely, it is the responsibility of the journalist, blogger, writer, copy editor or author of the article to report the information accurately–no matter what your boss says.
Think we’re being too difficult in demanding that we be quoted truthfully? That we’re acting like prima donnas because we refuse to pair down our quote to fit your word count? That we’re making a big deal out of a little white tequila lie?
Read this horrendous tequila blog posted on Liquor Online from August 2014, and then, get back to me.
If The Explosion Doesn’t Kill You, the Fallout Will
This piece of rubbish garnered such responses from readers like…
“What a disservice to someone that wants to learn / understand!”
And, this one…
Lifestyle and Spirits Writers–
Let Me Let You In On a Little Secret…
It isn’t that we in this tequila community aren’t grateful for the opportunity to voice our opinions and impart our knowledge of our beloved spirit to your subscribers. On the contrary–we are fully aware of the enormous goodwill that that kind of street cred can generate for us.
But you must understand and respect that it is our reputations, images, and brands that are also on the line. Not to mention our character and integrity.
You asked for our expertise to up your street cred, too!
Those of us throughout the tequila community take very seriously what we preach. Whether we’re in the liquor store
aisles or quoted in the pages of a magazine or newspaper, we believe that at every moment we are adding value to someone’s life and lifestyle.
Don’t Be That Magazine
Like it says on Tequila Aficionado Media’s website and all of its social media, it is…
“The most comprehensive and informative source for Tequila, Mezcal and Sotol on the Internet or in print today.”
We don’t pretend to be anything else. Your favorite magazine shouldn’t either.