How to Infuse Your Tequila Con Ganas

The Bing Crosby Effect

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Influencer Marketing is a hot social media buzz phrase that can be directly attributed to Bing Crosby.

From the moment the famed crooner, and fellow entertainer and business partner, Phil Harris, imported Herradura, the first 100% agave tequila into the US, celebrity endorsements of alcoholic beverages have influenced American’s buying habits–

And, become an all too common occurrence.

This article traces the history of influencer marketing, from the early days of cinema to a new kind of social media personality, the influencer.

I Wanna be Like Mike

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Continuing that tradition, celebs like Diddy (DeLeon), George Clooney (Casamigos), Sammy Hagar (Cabo Wabo, and now, Mezquila), and Justin Timberlake (Sauza 901) are just a few of the A-listers peddling agave spirits.

It can be argued that desire for a megastar endorsed item is fueled by our emotional attachment to the star himself.

Hence, the more we care about a renowned personality, the more we “want to be like Mike.”

Celebrity Covetousness

Noel Shu is Chief Luxury Officer and Head Sommelier at Prodiguer Brands, Ltd.  The “Prince of Luxury,” and the man responsible for the most expensive champagne in the world, (Goût de Diamants) explains here why celebrity affiliation works for luxury items.

“No matter what, the rest of the world is keeping tabs on the rich and famous.  In order to be more like them, many go out of their way to get what celebrities have,” asserts Shu.

“Beneath the pretense of glam, money and prestige, a purchase boils down to one thing: familiarity.  It is mental association at work.”

Shu determines, “When a person is constantly reminded that their favorite actor is wearing or using a product, they begin gravitating towards the item themselves.”

The danger in promoting celebrity covetousness in agave spirits brand marketing is that it’s shallow, superficial, and unmemorable.

The emotional bond between your label and your customer, like a sample from a tequila girl in a black mini-skirt, is fleeting, at best.

Intimacy Can be Measured

On the flip side, a very enlightening website reveals a brand’s intimacy quotient.How to Infuse Your Tequila Con Ganas http://wp.me/p3u1xi-50U

MBLM states that “brand intimacy is a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand.”

Before I get to how this new level of marketing relates to agave spirits branding, let me point out a couple of Tequila Market growth facts, courtesy of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).

Who Cares About Luxury?

According to DISCUS, the fastest growth in 2016 has been in High End and Super Premium brands.

Virtually a non-existent segment before 2002, volumes of Super Premium tequilas have zoomed 706% to 2.9 million cases.

Intimacy by the Numbers

Taking a look at the Beverages category as a whole on the MBLM site, we discover that its intimacy quotient falls almost 4 points below the cross industry average.

Most notably, though, the Luxury division practically brings up the rear, a full 13 points below the industry median!

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The numbers for Mexico are even more eye-opening (Abreojos?) with both Jose Cuervo and Herradura (Brown-Forman) at the bottom of the Top 10 Mexican Beverage labels of 2017.

Of the last two tequila marks, only Jose Cuervo is still Mexican owned.

Power to the People

“Brands are in the hands of consumers today,” says MBLM.

A true statement since, chances are, you’re reading this on your preferred handheld device.

MBLM goes on to preach,”…people trust one another more than they trust a corporation.”

We’ve heard it said that word-of-mouth—especially in social media–is everything.  (Just ask United Airlines!)

MBLM continues, “…brands are proliferating, saturating our attention, increasing confusion, and often cannibalizing each other.”

How to Infuse Your Tequila Con Ganas http://wp.me/p3u1xi-50U

That’s certainly an honest view of the spirits industry.

A simple walk through your neighborhood liquor store’s tequila aisle will more than convince any skeptic of that assessment.

Given the above information on this new form of “emotional marketing,” it raises the question—

What’s the point of describing your agave spirit as a “luxury” or “lifestyle” brand?

Fearless Prediction

How to Infuse Your Tequila Con Ganas http://wp.me/p3u1xi-50UWith the trend toward attracting Millennials, and their demand for quality, transparency and affordability in the wines and spirits they seek, the growth of the High End and Super Premium segments seem destined to falter.

Celebrity worship and their endorsement of products, however, will continue to be a part of the daily fabric of every social media platform.

As Shu points out in the above article, “No matter how much fanfare or glitz a product gets from being in the limelight, it’s the opinion of experts and influencers on the product itself that keeps it there.”

Luxury items are only attractive when in use by someone we care about or admire, famous or not.

Agave Attachment

How can start up agave spirits entrepreneurs create lasting emotional bonds between their products and their customers?

By telling their brand stories clearly, consistently, and emotionally in a creative and engaging manner across all mediums.

In addition, instead of trying to interest megastars to front your tequila or mezcal, decide to become your own best Agave Ambassador.

Bo Knows

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The new breed of agave spirits brand owners must not be afraid to stand in front of their own juice to preach their message to the masses.

The Founding Fathers of the Tequila Industry knew the value of forging personal relationships with not just their business associates, but with everyone.

In the tradition of old skool tequileros, luminaries like Guillermo Erickson Sauza, Carlos Camarena, German Gonzalez, David Suro, Sophie Decobecq, Ken Austin, Dr. Adolfo Murillo, Tomas Estes and many others, have not only produced some of the most beloved tequilas, but have fearlessly chosen to be their own qualified spokespersons.

There’s No Crying in Tequila!

How to Infuse Your Tequila Con Ganas http://wp.me/p3u1xi-50U

Agave spirits inherently embody the passion and history of Mexico.  If luxury items are cold and unfeeling, then, agave spirits are the complete opposite.

An agave spirit without a representative, however, is like a band without a front man; like a basketball team without a point guard; like a country without a leader.

No amount of marketing spin can improve a label’s lifeless approval rating, or a vote of no-confidence from customers.

Tequila:  Con Ganas!

“Advancements in neuroscience reveal that virtually all decision making is emotional,” declares MBLM.  “Behavioral science demonstrates that the way we feel about a brand is the single best predictor of purchase.”

MBLM concludes, “up to 90% of the decisions we make are based on emotion.”

How to Infuse Your Tequila Con Ganas http://wp.me/p3u1xi-50U

So, if you decide to be the ultimate emotional mouthpiece for your agave spirit, the bottom line is…

Echale ganas!

 

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!

Herradura Directo de Alambique Tequila Review

Herradura Directo de Alambique

2015 DIRECTO DE ALAMBIQUE TEQUILA, UNCOMPROMISED.

At 110 proof without barrel aging, “Directo” is a crystal-clear tequila with robust notes of sweet agave, green pepper, citrus, and a hint of herbs and spice. Taken together, these notes provide a smooth, complex, and prolonged presence. A bold tequila expression for true tequila lovers.

This small-batch tequila is produced using only the finest blue agave plants, harvested at the peak of perfection. It is then fermented with natural yeast amid the warm breeze and citrus trees of Casa Herradura, a process entirely unique in the industry. Finally, it is bottled direct from the still at 110 proof, preserving the fresh, youthful flavor of Herradura’s beautiful tequila, a taste unchanged since 1870. The result is a crystal-clear tequila with robust notes of sweet agave, green pepper, citrus, and a hint of herbs and spice. Taken together, these notes provide a smooth, complex, and prolonged presence. A bold tequila expression for true tequila lovers.

Sipping off the Cuff with Herradura Directo de Alambique“We are delighted to introduce Coleccion de la Casa, Reserva 2015 – Directo de Alambique to our Tequila enthusiasts in the United States just in time for the holidays,” said Liz Edwards, Senior Brand Manager for Tequila Herradura. “The fourth edition in Tequila Herradura’s small-batch tequila series is 110 proof and straight from the still. It’s an ideal expression for discerning tequila drinkers looking to enjoy the crisp, vibrant flavor of Herradura.”

Tequila Herradura has a strong reputation as an industry innovator and is credited with introducing the first-ever Reposado in 1974 and Extra Anejo tequila in 1995. Coleccion de la Casa is a great example in the industry of how four of the primary sources of flavor– agave, water, fermentation, and distillation, absent of maturation impacts the character of the final product creating a totally new flavor profile. As with the other three editions, Master Distiller Maria Teresa Lara, one of the only female Master Distillers in the tequila industry, was the force behind Directo de Alambique.

“I am excited to share Coleccion de la Casa, Reserva 2015 – Directo de Alambique with consumers throughout the United States,” said Ruben Aceves, International Director for Brand Development and Tequila Herradura’s Master Taster. “Directo is personally one of my favorite expressions of Tequila Herradura – straight from the pot still with no aging.”

Find Herradura Directo de Alambique Online:

Website: http://www.herradura.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HerraduraTequila/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HerraduraTeq
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/herradurateq/?hl=en
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/herraduratequila

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!

Tequila Aficionado Media Announces the 2015 Brands Of Promise Award Winners!

Honors Bestowed During LIVE Blab Webcast

For Immediate Release!

PLATINUMFINAL2015March 14, 2016, San Antonio, TXTequila Aficionado Media’s Third Annual 2015 Brands Of Promise© Awards were broadcast LIVE on Blab in Tequila, Mezcal and other assorted agave-related categories. See the full list of medal recipients here.

Among the brilliant stand outs of 2015, Ambhar Tequila took the Judges’ Best-of-Show accolade scoring highly in several categories. Recent upstarts GOZA and Papa Bueno also made significant showings.  In a surprise return to the Brands Of Promise© Reposado class, Del Bravo Spirits unanimously took the Platinum award with Route 66 tequila.

Legacy brands Orendáin, Milagro, Tequila 1921, Centinela and Herradura were well represented in both the High-End and Value segments, while Dulce Vida and Suerte convincingly cornered the Extra Añejo tequila market.

In what proved to be the toughest bracket for the judges to date, Malinalli Tequila swept the Platinum trophy in the hard fought Blanco division, with Ambhar, El Mayor, and Mamalón tequilas close on its heels.

The surging Mezcal classification was dominated by the popular Gracias A Dios brand, while Montelobos and Amarás collected Golds in each of their groups.

Gold Medal Winner Lisa Elovich, brand owner of Organic Tequila One With Life, was ecstatic, saying, “Thank you so much! It is such an honor to get this award. I know this will help us with marketing and distribution.” She graciously added, “Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners! So happy to be part of it!”

In an equally gracious statement made over their Instagram account, medal recipient Papa Bueno Tequila wrote, “We are honored to have been among this impressive group of nominees! We love tequila and congratulate all the winners and thank Tequila Aficionado for the time, humor and love they bring! Definitely Bueno!”

About the Brands Of Promise Awards

All brands were judged by Founder, Alex Perez and CEO, M.A. “Mike” Morales, as well as by other Tequila Aficionado staff, on how they performed during Tequila Aficionado’s wildly popular Sipping Off The Cuff™ video series seen regularly on TequilaAficionado.com and viewable on its YouTube channel.

Unlike other spirits contests, The Brands Of Promise™ Awards does not require participating agave spirit brands to pay an entry fee.  It also does not charge winners additional hefty licensing tariffs for the rights to use the medal award graphics on their labels, neck tags, shelf talkers, brochures, point-of-sales materials and websites.

For a full list of Brands Of Promise© winners, click here.

 

 

To enter your tequila, mezcal, sotol, raicilla, bacanora or other agave spirit or related product in the coveted Brands Of Promise™ Awards, click here.

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!

Herradura Tequila Scotch Cask Finish Reposado Tequila Review

Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Herradura Tequila Scotch Cask Finish Reposado

Tequila Herradura Unveils New Limited-Edition Coleccion De La Casa Scotch Cask Finish

herradura, scotch caskLOUISVILLE, Ky., Oct. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Stemming off the success of its small-batch tequila series, Tequila Herraduraannounces the release of the third Coleccion de la Casa, Reserva 2014 – Scotch Cask Finish Reposado. Having undergone a double maturation process after resting in two different types of oak casks, American oak and single malt Scotch casks, this limited edition tequila offers a desirable taste and finish to delight the senses.

“With the latest in the Coleccion de la Casa small batch series, Tequila Herradura solidifies its commitment to provide new tequila experiences to discerning spirits drinkers who appreciate specialty crafted, artisanal tequilas,” said Liz Edwards, Senior Brand Manager for Tequila Herradura.

Casa Herradura has a strong reputation as an industry innovator and is credited with introducing the first-ever reposado in 1974 and extra anejo tequila in 1995. Coleccion de la Casa is the best example in the industry of how each of the sources of flavor– agave, water, fermentation, distillation, and maturation – impacts the character of the final product and creates a totally new flavor profile. As with the other two editions, Master Distiller Maria Teresa Lara was the force behind the Scotch Cask Finish Reposado.

Coleccion de la Casa, Reserva 2014 – Scotch Cask Finish Reposado will be available at fine wine and spirits stores in October nationwide for a limited time at a suggested retail price of $89.99.

Tasting Notes for Herradura Coleccion de la Casa, Reserva 2014 – Scotch Cask Finish Reposado
Color: Warm gold with brilliant hues.

Aroma: A masterful combination of toasted malt, cooked agave, and smoky wood.
Taste: The finest aged tequila is highlighted by the taste of vanilla, butter, honey, caramel and balanced soft spices.
Finish: The unique scotch cask results in a long-drawn and with a touch of sweetness.

About Casa Herradura
Casa Herradura is one of Mexico’s most historic and renowned tequila producers. Casa Herradura has been hand harvesting, handcrafting and estate bottling fine tequilas from the small town of Amatitán, Jalisco, since 1870. In 2007, Casa Herradura was acquired by Brown-Forman Corporation of Louisville, Ky.  Brown-Forman is a diversified producer and marketer of fine quality beverages and alcohol brands. For more information about Tequila Herradura, visit www.herradura.com/

 

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Congratulations to the 2015 Sip Award Winners

NEWPORT BEACH, California, June 30TH 2015 – Eighty seven consumer spirit enthusiasts gathered at the waterfront Balboa Bay Resort on May 31, 2015 to participate in the 7th annual consumer based spirits competition. The 2015 SIP Awards comprised of 423 brands from all over the globe competing for rank at the impartial mercy of consumer based blind-tasting.

route 66, sip awardThe 2015 SIP Awards was a battle among the elite in each of the world’s most popular Spirit categories. Each chilled, undiluted sample was presented to Judges in NEAT glasses, scientifically engineered to deliver an enhanced consistent tasting experience.

Tequilas, Gins, Rums, Whiskeys, Cognacs, Vodkas and Liqueurs were some of the participating spirits this year, each graded on Aroma, Taste, and Finish.

sip award

The 2015 top rated brands included these agave spirits:

Platinum – “Best of Class”

El Jimador Blanco
DECADA Tequila
El Tesoro Reposado
El Mayor Anejo
Zignum Mezcal Anejo

Platinum Winners

Malinalli Tequila, sip award

Route 66 Tequila
El Mayor Reposado
Tarantula 100 Reposado
Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila
Herradura Anejo
Agave 99 Anejo
Malinalli Extra Anejo
Zignum Mezcal Reposado
AGA-VIE Esprit D’Agave

Design

DECADA Tequila
Kah Tequila Series
(For a complete list of the categories, winners, and photos from the event, visit: www.sipawards.com)

Staying true to the commitment to provide the most reliable measure of international beverage quality ratings, every year’s Judges are every-day spirit consumers and extensively screened to ensure no affiliation with marketing, wholesalers or distributors tied to the spirits industry.  “People deserve the highest quality spirits at their fingertips. I want to level the playing field by stripping away the hype to provide quality brands a fair platform on which to compete.” Says Paul Hashemi, founder of SIP Awards.

kahAwards include Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Best of Class for each category. The newest award introduced in 2014, is the Consumers’ Choice Award, which honors a brand’s unwavering commitment to their Legacy, Craft and to the ever important Consumer Palate, by placing in the SIP Awards two or more consecutive years.

The SIP Awards has experienced exponential growth within each of its 15 beverage categories. The increasing number of participating brands reflects SIP’s ability to provide spirit makers a valuable, unbiased and exciting opportunity to distinguish themselves in the industry.  It has also shined light on the obvious need in the marketplace for its honest arbitration.

About SIP Awards

Catering to the opinions and palates of the discerning public, the SIP Awards present a unique, spirit judging competition, unaffected by industry bias. This pragmatic and refreshing model of evaluation provides an honest stage for feedback and recognition where top brands showcase their achievements. To learn more about the SIP Awards beverage competition, venue partnerships, or for a complete list of 2015 winners, visit www.SIPAwards.com.

Download the Sip Awards Press Release here sipawards2015pr

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!

Barrio Café–A Tequila Oasis

[In an industry of cookie-cutter airport cantinas, it was refreshing to experience a little bit of the local flavor at Barrio Café during a recent layover at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport’s Terminal 4.]

*Yawn!*

Frequent flyers are a highly sought after target market.  Just ask any company that pays top dollar to advertise in in-flight magazines.  They’ll admit that a temporarily sequestered audience with nowhere to go (but up?) is a gold mine.

But, with security protocols being what they are now, bored and isolated travelers awaiting the next leg of their trip desperately seek to pass the time at engaging airport bars/restaurants with strong food and drink selections, and even stronger wifi.

What struck me most about Barrio Café, however, was that it was a tequila oasis in a sea of food court cuisine.  Coupled with an informed and educated staff, and my ears perked up.

The Original Comida Chingona of Phoenix

Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, along with her partner, Wendy Gruber, opened the first Barrio Café in the Calle 16 neighborhood of Central Phoenix in 2002, and it quickly shot to culinary stardom.

Inspired by regional dishes from Oaxaca, Ensenada, and the Yucatán, Chef 0514151503Silvana transforms them with a French twist to create, as it reads on their menu, “some seriously bad ass Mexican cuisine.”

Chef Silvana’s acknowledgements are as long as your arm, too!

Highlighted by an induction into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame in 2004, voted as one of the Top 9 Mexican Chefs by MSNBC Latino in 2010, and four James Beard award nominations in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Employing local graffiti artists and muralists to illustrate and beautify each location, Barrio is notorious for attracting eclectic customers–from low riders to politicians.

 Not Your Mother’s House

Beloved and admired by Chef Silvana’s long term café employees, server Brittany Sabo proudly elaborates on this and other locations, its founders, and Barrio’s varied menu.

Help Conserve Water, Drink Tequila

The Barrio Café bar inside Terminal 4.
The Barrio Café bar inside Terminal 4.

With a tequila selection as assorted as their clientele–from the Usual Suspects to Arizona based smaller brands–their list also includes eye-opening tequila flights.

Here, Brittany reveals Chef Silvana’s future plans for a possible private label tequila.

Precioso, Hermoso, and Ready for You!

A snifter of 7 Leguas tequila.
A snifter of 7 Leguas tequila.

The idea of catering to short term secluded audiences hasn’t escaped big name tequila companies.  But, that warm cozy feeling of being welcomed into a neighborhood bar and restaurant is an unexpected quality not usually found in cookie cutter cantinas.

For years, Jose Cuervo has licensed branded Taberna del Tequila bars in airports around the US.  The Blue Mesa Taco & Tequila Bar at Dallas/Ft. Worth International, has long been an Herradura (Brown-Forman) stronghold, as well.

Airline travelers eventually come and go, but a snifter of good tequila and a house taco of cochinita pibil at the Barrio Café in Terminal 4 could very easily make you miss your connecting flight.

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!

The Mega Marketing of a Brand Part II – Jose Cuervo Is A Friend of Mine

Originally published on TequilaAficionado.com Dec 3, 2006

tequila aficionado vault, jose cuervo

 

 

In a relationship that the Animal Planet calls symbiotic–like the small fish feeding on scraps from a shark’s jaws, or birds picking the bugs off a hippo’s butt–Cuervo has benefited nicely over the years by partnering with major restaurant chains all over the US. They have single-handedly influenced thousands of tequila drinkers.

 

The Lonely Bull

In an informative article in the Los Angeles Daily News last December, Staff Writer Brent Hopkins recounted the humble beginnings of one of the oldest Mexican food restaurant chains in Southern California.

el torito, jose cuervoEl Torito--which also celebrated its golden anniversary in December 2004–was the brain-child of ex-fighter pilot Larry Cano, whom Brent describes as having “…a few recipes and knowledge of an exotic sounding foreign drink known as tequila….”

In the late ’70’s and early ’80’s, it was the ultimate place to eat, drink, and party. I’ll admit, I was among those who enjoyed traditional Mexican food with more than one margarita and a round of shots.

According to the article, El Torito grew into an international powerhouse with restaurants as far away as Turkey and Abu Dhabi. After many changes in ownership, it has been streamlined to a manageable 69 locations.

Through it all, Jose Cuervo was there.

El Torito has now begun to focus on its cuisine, but one look at the menu–which we’ll do shortly–tells you that that’s not the only thing management is emphasizing.

In a relationship that the Animal Planet calls symbiotic–like the small fish feeding on scraps from a shark’s jaws, or birds picking the bugs off a hippo’s butt–Cuervo has benefited nicely over the years by partnering with major restaurant chains all over the US. They have single-handedly influenced thousands of tequila drinkers.

Where other tequila houses like El Tesoro de Don Felipe and Cazadores visit bars and restaurants around the country, Cuervo’s version of a grass roots campaign is a little bit different.

 

 

The Good Ol’ Days

In Part I, I promised a glimpse at Cuervo’s La Rojeña distillery, but first, more about me….

LaRojena1I had just moved to New Mexico from Southern California. My first job was in Customer Service with one of the largest paper, food, and chemical distributors in the state. Starting at the bottom, I figured the quickest way to becoming a darling of the company–a route salesman–was getting to know the old dogs.

Before my arrival to this company, one other product that it sold was liquor. When the family-owned operation sold out, half the sales force morphed into one of the two major liquor distributors in New Mexico. Those that stayed with the food and chemical division longed for the good ol’ days.

At one of the quarterly meetings’ mandatory dinners, 25 raucous salesmen (and a few of us from Customer Service) ran up a $3000 bar bill on the company’s credit card! During a round of Cuervo Gold shots is where I heard it first.

“This reminds me of the time at Jose Cuervo,” said one salesman.

“What a party that was!” agreed another.

Simultaneously, they described the beauty of the facilities, the grounds, and the tequila at Jose Cuervo’s La Rojeña distillery.

7079The hospitality at these Cuervo “education” junkets is legendary. Mariachis, food, and all the tequila you can drink. Not to mention a generous spiff to each salesman for every caseload sold, or every new account acquired.

“We used to send two delivery trucks a week to every territory,” lamented another salesman. “One with food, and the other full of booze!”

Ah, the good ol’ days!

Many tequila distilleries graciously open their doors to tequila aficionados. CorralejoLa Cofradia (Casa Noble), and Herradura’s Tequila Express, a train that takes turistas to their distillery, to name just a few. But no one does it better–or did it first–than Jose Cuervo.

From Applebee’s (The Perfect Margarita made with 1800), to here in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the Garduños chain of Mexican restaurants (with locations in Arizona and Las Vegas, too), to the popular El Torito. Wherever you live, in every major or minor market in America, there is sure to be a restaurant chain–or liquor supplier to that restaurant chain–that has fallen under the spell of La Rojeña.

 

The Secret to Jose Cuervo’s Success

jose cuervo, brandsTo understand how deeply Jose Cuervo is entrenched in El Torito’s menu, you have to be aware of the “rules of engagement.” It’s called “the three tier system,” and it’s the key to the final segment of this series, so heads-up!

In order for a tequila producer–or any spirits producer, for that matter–to get his product to the US, he has to use an importer (Tier One). This importer is in charge of spreading the word to as many spirits distributors–state and national–as possible (Tier Two). Once distribution is secured, their sales forces are responsible for getting the product to their consumers–every bar and restaurant they service (Tier Three).

Here’s the secret to Jose Cuervo’s success…

Like a computer virus, Cuervo can be found everywhere along these three tiers. At one time or another, every importer, distributor, and chain of bars or restaurants has been invited to enjoy the pleasures of tequila at La Rojeña.

Unfortunately, unlike wines, spirits, by US law, cannot be sold directly to the end user (you and me) by the producer. Let’s drown our sorrows over that one, shall we…?

 

El Torito–Auténtico!

On every table is a simple, hand-sized brown three ring binder. A painting of a jimador harvesting a blue agave–that looks coincidentally like a well-known photo taken at one of the Cuervo agave fields–shares the cover with the El Torito logo, a lonely bull, and the word auténtico. Desserts and drinks in one little package, all made with Jose Cuervo products.

There’s the classic Cadillac Margarita with a side of Grand Marnier. You can order this signature drink in different colors like Green (Midori Melon), Pink (cranberry juice), and Red (Rémy Red).

The Blue Mesa Margarita with 1800 and Blue Curacao. The Real Mex Margarita with Tradicional. And a series of popular tequinis with names like Buenas Noches and Agave Tequini.

To be fair, El Torito serves other very respectable blanco, reposado and añejo tequilas like…

Sauza Tres GeneracionesDon EduardoChinacoCorralejoHerraduraCazadores…and Quita Penas. Along with the Cuervo standard bearers, Gran CentenarioReserva de La Familia, and even Don Julio (suspiciously missing from Cuervo’s Taberna del Tequila menu in the previous segment).

You can even wash down your dinner, drinks and dessert with a cup of Mexican coffee made with Tradicional and Kahlúa.

Each of the signature drinks is very reasonably priced from just over $5 to a bit under $7. Shots range from $5.25 to $10.50.

Although their menu tries to give equal time to other tequilas, when you check the bar, there’s no mistaking who’s on display…

Jose Cuervo!

In the final segment, I’ll take a look at where the marketing future of Jose Cuervo is headed. Here’s a hint…

You’ll be surprised to learn that it has nothing to do with tequila! Instead, it’s slick, high-tech, and chances are good that you already own one. And with it, Cuervo conquers the mystery of the missing “fourth tier.”

 

logo1By Mike Morales, Co-Organizer
New Mexico International Tequila Experience™
Southwest Tequila Association

New Mexico International Tequila Experience™

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!

Jessica’s Journey – Herradura’s Perro Borachito

Herradura Distillery Tour

Herradura Herradura! You know the name. It’s everywhere. Every liquor store, bar, and restaurant that serves tequila likely serves Herradura, a brand that seems lesser known than Sauza or Jose Cuervo, but is the oldest distillery still intact and operating in Tequila, Mexico.

We pulled up to a traditional hacienda on a dirt road. The front gates opened only slightly to an interior courtyard and we saw three men in traditional charro garments, astride three chestnut mares. A boy, roughly ten years old or so, emerged from the massive wood doors with his donkey in tow.

The building was nondescript. The retaining walls surrounding the courtyard from the street are a muddied yellow from recent storms kicking up dirt into the paint. To the left of the massive oak doors was a simple sign: “Casa Herradura”.

Entering the gates into the courtyard is like walking onto a film set. Unlike to the dusty dry dirt road we arrived on, a hand laid cobblestone road lie before us, leading to another set of massive wood gates set in another retaining wall and surrounded by lush foliage and bright colors.

haciendaH1On either side of the cobblestone road were small bungalows painted blue and yellow and pink with carefully tended front gardens lining the walls to the outside world. Magnolia trees stretched up as high as I could see, full of bountiful white flowers emitting the sweetest fragrance.  Women emerged from dark shadowed doorways looking busy sweeping but more likely looking for an excuse to get a look at this group of tourists taking in the scene.

dog1From a doorway on the right came what appeared to be a small toy. Fluffy and white with a low center of gravity, with great big floppy ears and big dark eyes, this dog stole the hearts of everyone with a wag of his tail! I don’t know that I have ever seen a pet look so much like a child’s toy but what was unnerving was the energy of this puppy. He seemed so silly. He cocked his little head from side to side as we each bent down to adore his overwhelming cuteness.  All I could think was that there was something “off” with this dog of epic cuteness.

A woman’s voice broke in, pulling our focus from the dog and instructing us to gather as our tour was about to begin. “This is Herradura and this is the oldest tequila distillery in Mexico still in operation” she began.

The gates opened for us and we passed through them. I turned around to watch the gates close, taking note of the dog sitting obediently on the other side of the closing gates. Following the docent, the story of Herradura began to unfold.

The Herradura Love Story

herradura, hacienda In Mexico every story begins with a love story. There are very few exceptions. As it is with all thing’s Mexico, there is a romantic story of intrigue and perseverance, overcoming all odds in this seemingly perfect place.

This love story begins with Félix and Carmen. A lucky man at the age of 45, Félix López meets and marries the beautiful and determined eighteen year-old, Carmen Rosales. Of this great love and union came two children, Aurelio, and Maria de Jesús (Jesusita.). The union of this couple and their family legacy brought the modern production of tequila to the Hacienda and together they built a factory that remained in the family and was used until 1963.

Félix López died in 1878. He left the future of the Hacienda in the hands of his young wife. Carmen’s brother Ambrosio Rosales and his wife, Elisa Gomez Cuervo de Rosales, step in and help Carmen with Ambrosio running the estate with great success for many years. As is Mexican custom, the property was to be handed down to Félix López’s son but Ambrosio taught the business to Carmen’s son, Aurelio, as well.
Pretty normal thus far, right?

Here is where the story gets good! Aurelio, a traditionalist and fervent Catholic, eventually takes control of Hacienda San José del Refugio, and throws himself into the production of this Mexican Moonshine, the family tequila, and he gives it the name of “Herradura”.

Cristero Rebellion

herradura, hacienda The distillery was threatened by the Cristero Rebellion (La Cristiada), a bloody battle between the Catholic Church and the State of Jalisco (1926-1929). In an effort to limit the incredible political stronghold of the Catholic Church, the federal government began harassing priests, outlawed the practice of Catholicism, and banned the display of all crosses. To make an example of the offenders of these newly enacted laws, trees and posts were strung with the bodies of offenders as a clear and callous reminder of the ramifications of disobeying the new laws. Before long, priests were being hunted down and killed. Those people who stood up against the government were called “Cristeros”.

Aurelio worked tirelessly on behalf of the Cristeros. He put out a call to the workers of the Hacienda to join the fight, provided financing, and gave shelter to priests and supporters at the hacienda. Built within the walls and confines of the Hacienda were endless tunnels that wove a tapestry beneath the Hacienda and all of Amatitán. Aurelio was later recognized for his brave and courageous hospitality and blessed with the official title “El Cristero”.

herradura, hacienda, distillery, museum In 1927, the government began raids on the homes of Cristero sympathizers, and Aurelio was well aware that his life was at risk. Devising a plan to escape, he tricks the advancing federal soldiers. The Hacienda had a large store of wooden balls which were designed to crush agave. They were of little use for that, but by placing them around the perimeter walls of the hacienda, and outfitting them with hats and sticks, the advancing soldiers believed that the Hacienda was a well-fortified fortress and turned back. Aurelio and his sister made their escape through the tunnel system and into the countryside. It was later speculated that Aurelio spent three years in exile and safety at the Vatican before he came back to México. Sadly he never returned to the hacienda.

When Aurelio fled the country, he left the Hacienda in the care of his cousin, David Rosales, the son of Ambrosio. At a time when mixto tequila (tequila made with the addition of sugar) was becoming a method of cutting expenses, Don David insisted that Herradura remain 100% agave tequila, maintaining the integrity of the family tradition. In November of 1928, the brand of “Tequila Herradura” was officially registered with the government in Mexico City —with the horseshoe as the logo.

Herradura’s Renaissance

herradura, hacienda, distillery, museum The property took you through the time of the story maintaining its original architecture and layout with the exception of the newer distillery implemented by Doña Gabriela de la Peña Rosales.

Hacienda San José del Refugio attributes much to the oversight of Doña Gabriela de la Peña Rosales. Married to an heir of the hacienda and finding herself a widow not long thereafter, she was a stunning beauty, of notorious legend, and worked harder than anyone else on the Hacienda. She was up with the sun every morning to greet the workers at breakfast, looked at accounts over lunch, then headed into Guadalajara to make sales in the afternoon. It was under Doña Gabriela’s supervision that a modern distillery was built, keeping the Old Factory as a museum. She introduced Herradura añejo tequila in 1962, and introduced the world to reposado in 1974.

herradura, hacienda, distillery, museum We went on a museum tour of the original distillery within the walls of deep old adobe, passing windows on tunnels that led deep under the distillery and down, down, down into darkness. We saw the wells in which the pinas were thrown and the system used to pull the great wheels that crushed the pinas. The docent explainined that at first it was a man that pushed the massive wheel in circles hour after hour and later lead a mule or burro to pull the weight over the pinas. We saw the ovens in which the agaves were cooked to a perfect temperature and texture for fermentation and the walls of white and French oak casks for the storage of the extracted juices. We were transported back to a time when manual labor meant putting two hands in and then if necessary all of you in.

Seriously!!

casksherraDid you know that some tequila fermented faster with sweat? It is a fact.
The jimador would come in from the field and strip down to nothing. He would then climb into the vat or well with the cooked agave and as the pinas were dropped one by one into the vats, he would wrap his entire body around the core of the agave, and squeeze with all of his might until the juice extracted from the plant. Then the plant was pushed back out to be used for other purposes similar to the way we use hemp today. This was done because the yeast was activated by the acids of the body and the PH from the sweat interacted with the juice, creating a faster sugar decomposition and ultimately alcohol. Mexican Moonshine old school!

We concluded with a tasting. The docent didn’t realize she was educating the educated. With a charming smile and an enigmatic personality, she enthusiastically told us the proper way to take the sip, inhale and exhale, and taste the notes of the varietals of the Herradura flight of products.

Canine Connoisseur

dog3Coming out of the distillery into the light of day, I remember turning my face up to the sun and breathing in yet one more breathtaking moment of my beloved Mexico and her rich history. And then I was pulled back by a commotion happening in the distillery. There beneath the shiny modern vats was that dog, taunting the security guard who yelled at him for being “borracho”. The dog dodged the security guard, dipping behind and under the heavy steel machines until he fell over. Just fell over.

The security guard reached down gently and picked up the dog like a toy. As the man brought the lifeless animal up to his chest, it looked like a rag doll. The irritated security guard marched off toward the bungalows shaking his head as he cradled the dog to his chest and muttered to himself.

My face must have registered the horror I thought I had witnessed. I stood there bewildered as the man was so calm with the dog’s lifeless body in his arms. I couldn’t quite grasp the casual demeanor and irritation he exhibited when he reached down to scoop up the collapsed animal either. It seemed so surreal. That’s when the docent marched up to me with a great big smile and said “Don’t worry Senora, the puppy is just borracho”.

Seems the “silly” puppy lives in a state of tequila euphoria. His preferred station is beneath the drip leak of the distillation vats. He is a canine tequila junkie and they cannot keep him from his “habit” no matter how hard they try. The dog has grown to be adept in his search for tequila. He has mastered dodging security, sneaking under the gates, sitting under the dripping vat, and once he has had his fill, passing out cold. Obviously he has no care for moderation or sipping responsibly.

 

jessica Arent, Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyJessica Arent has spent her career steeped in the Hispanic culture. Passionate about the Latin culture and experiencing roles that have taken her from television to digital marketing throughout the United States and Mexico, Jessica’s passion for Mexico runs in her blood. An accomplished writer, Mexico is where her heart lives and is the focus of her work and writing.  Specializing in marketing Hispanic based products and services, Jessica will tell you there are few people in the world or places she has traveled, from Asia to Europe and in between, who compare to the Mexican culture.  Building websites such as ALL ABOUT MEXICO and fostering the marketing endeavors of a number of tequila products, to name a few, Jessica sets out to inspire the world around her, one person, one relationship at a time, to know and understand the culture she calls home.  Jessica is a partner at Intermountain Media, LLC, the Communications and Media Director of Terra Energy Resources Corp, and shares other travel and tequila adventures on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico.
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Herradura Tequila at La Fogata’s October Tasting

Enjoy Tequila Tricks and Treats at La Fogata’s October Tasting

Herradura Tequila Featured from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm October 11th and 25th

1795782_10152390040978465_1214426092_n Cooler breezes are blowing, bringing fall and the traditions of Dia de los Muertos and Halloween to life, so the tequila experts at La Fogata are serving a witch’s brew of spooky spirits for you to enjoy. Learn a few tricks about tequila while treating yourself to one of La Fogata’s award-winning margaritas during their free October tequila tasting on Saturday, October 11th and 25th. And to make the evening even more flavorful, pair a margarita made with October’s featured tequila, Herradura, with Quesadilla de Flor de Calabaza, (otherwise known as pumpkin blossoms and white cheese on thick masa tortilla) and enjoy your fabulously flavored fall festive meal!

10599493_10153164994288465_9115869167788940983_nBased on their past experience drinking shots for effect vs. flavor, most people tend to shy away from tequila, but tequila offers a wide range of flavor to explore and enjoy. Top shelf tequilas are made only with 100% agave and are distilled to perfection, removing any impurities that would cause a pounding headache the next day. The cheaper tequilas you may have consumed as a youth were probably mixed with sugars are other additives, making them more likely to give you a hangover. This grown up version of the drink of youth gives you all the fun, minus the hangovers.

1382188_10152423391123465_1385350950_nWhen drank straight up, tequila is meant to be sipped and savored like a fine scotch or bourbon, rather than taken as a shot. Swirl the tequila in the glass, take a small sip and swish the liquid around your mouth for a few seconds, allowing your taste buds to pick up on the tequila’s unique flavors. Swallow, enjoy and repeat—no salt or lime required!

The free tasting table will feature the premium tequila served both straight up and mixed in one of La Fogata’s award-winning margaritas. The tasting table will be open on La Fogata’s main patio from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. But if you can’t make the tequila tasting, don’t worry:  La Fogata is featuring Herradura throughout the month of October, so you have the opportunity to try the tequila by ordering it in your favorite drink at La Fogata.

10505333_10153045698978465_2585908032997278470_nFeaturing longtime favorites alongside all-new cocktails, aperitifs and margaritas inspired by member of La Fogata’s “extended family”—its most loyal guests—the restaurant’s new drink menu is the perfect way to expand your drink palette while exploring tequila flavors. Enjoy a fabulous night at La Fogata on October 11th and 25th, and before you head to your table for an amazing meal, be sure to stop by the tequila tasting table to learn more about Herradura.

For more information on La Fogata, visit www.lafogata.com or call 210-340-1337.

 

1965463_10153077162768465_5604995753194980736_oAbout La FogataOffering authentic Mexican cuisine made with fresh ingredients from traditional recipes, La Fogata has made its mark on San Antonio with fabulous food, welcoming staff and a lively, upbeat atmosphere that never fails to deliver a smile. Known for its award-winning margaritas, fire-roasted salsa and its terrific outdoor dining on patios filled foliage, fountains and mariachis, the restaurant encompasses almost three city blocks and is considered the place to take out-of-town visitors, the spot to celebrate special occasions and the place to go when you want an authentic Mexican meal without ever leaving San Antonio. Founded in 1978, the restaurant’s mission is to create happiness. La Fogata is located at 2427 Vance Jackson Rd., just 12 minutes from downtown San Antonio. For more information, visit www.lafogata.com.

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!

The Diffusor in Tequila Production: Are They Cheating?

The Diffusor in a Recent Twitter Conversation:

A thought provoking question was asked via Twitter about the use of diffusors in tequila production.

For the uninitiated, diffusors are used to efficiently extract the starches from harvested agave piñas that are subsequently cooked and distilled to make mass produced tequila.  To purists, its use is blasphemy because it strips the tequila of character and results in something akin to vodka.

Furthermore, its use is usually kept under wraps by those distilleries who would prefer to let their marketing departments lead you to believe that they still produce tequila the “old fashioned way” without shortcuts.

Case in point is this following Twitter conversation:

 

Click on any of the links within the Twitter stream to follow, favorite, retweet, quote or respond.

More Questions Than Answers

Now, not only are we left to wonder who’s zooming who on whether or not Herradura uses a diffusor, but we feel the need to question the reasons for using a diffusor, who has been known to use it in the past and who may still be using it to eek out the most juice from their agave.

Follow the link below to one of the most thorough crash courses on tequila diffusor technology.

 

muchoagave.com, diffusor, tequila, tequila aficionado

 

 

Link: http://www.muchoagave.com/the-difusor—there-may-be-too-much-agave-in-your-tequila-or-mezcal.html

And this link on revealing tequila trends written in 2012 by freelance spirits writer, Emma Janzen.

 

Additional discussions on Linkedin proved informative:

  • International Business Manager at Jorge Salles Cuervo y Sucesores S.A. de C.V:

    Eventhough I do not like that Diffusers are used, I think that using it is not cheating. It is a new way to produce Tequila, that is approved by law and obviously will do no harm to whom may drik it. Any way the consumer that drink Tequila that has been produced with a Diffuser are aiming at a Low Cost and Low Quality product that cannot be compared to one that has been elaborated in a traditional method, which will give a much better flavour and quality.

  • Owner/CEO at Corazon Azul Spirits, LLC.

    Jorge Antonio Salles is right on his answer, the use of Diffusers in the production of tequila will just yield a lower quality product in very large quantities but it is not cheating, although they are not largely used in the industry, only the big producers due to the cost and operation are able to buy them and put them into production, however they do also produce a product called innulina which is the sugar extracted from the Agave pine and recent studies claim this product as a weight loosing agent and reducer of sugar levels in the human system thus reducing the chances of developing diabetes.

  • Distilled Spirits Head Dragon and Broker / Marketer / Sipper of Artisanal Spirits

    Nice bust on Herradura. LOL! 🙂

  • Tequilero at http://tequilaconnection.com

    While visiting Herradura in 2012, I asked the question. I believe the reply was yes, they were using the diffuser to produce their Pepe Lopez brand. They export a lot of it.

  • Chief Executive Officer at Tequila Aficionado Media

    They have also been known to use it on El Jimador, and have since stopped using it on Herradura.

    Some purists still believe they do, however, when old Herradura is compared to modern (Brown-Forman) Herradura.

  • Gerente General en Luna Spirits SA de CV

    In my opinion when the distillers used diffusers they are Cheating on self, why? One thing is the letter of the law and other is the spirits of the law.
    When the distillers use a difusser, they accomplish the letter of the law despite to be an approved method to distill, but its only proposal is obtain more quantity of alcohol, the quality is secondary and this kind of producer need to “adjust” the flavor with external agents (advocantes), approved method too, but in my opinion, they are not part of the natural process.
    When the distillers use a pot distill, they do it as flavor quest, to obtain the best profile possible with the natural components of the fermented agave juice, adjusting distill conditions, they follow the spirit of the law. And the quality is their first goal.
    In my opinion the secret to do a real tequila is: Work in the process be careful and responsible, like you are the owner of the distillery and obtain a product with a exceptional quality, assuming you the final consumer role.

  • Chief Executive Officer at Tequila Aficionado Media

    Beautifully said, Don Modesto!

 
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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!!