Men In Tequila: Martin Grassl Speaks Out

International Man of Mystery

Men In Tequila: Martin Grassl Speaks Out https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5GrThroughout his checkered career in the Tequila world and beyond, Porfidio’s Martin Grassl has been largely viewed by the general public as an “international man of mystery.”

Disrupting a Mexican Tequila Industry that doesn’t take kindly to outsiders telling it how to make its own emblematic spirit, Grassl’s vintages of tequila in the iconic cactus bottle has been sought after, stashed and horded by collectors for its unique flavors and aromas.

In hindsight, one could argue that since 1991, Grassl had single-handedly established what is now the fastest growing segment of the Tequila market–

The Super-Premium category.

Grassl’s Reinvention

Now, along with Desmond Nazareth, an Indian-American computer whiz of Silicon Valley fame, and originator of DesmondJi Premium Spirits, Liqueurs and Cocktails, he has reinvented himself, again.

Men In Tequila: Martin Grassl Speaks Out https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5Gr

Single Agave(R) 100% Agave Americana Edition (S3xA) is one of a series of three planned releases by Grassl using different agave plants cultivated in different countries.  This one, a joint venture with Nazareth, is harvested and distilled entirely in India.

Bane or blessing, innovator or interloper, prophet or pariah, Profidio’s Martin Grassl has been perceived as all of these, and more.

In the next few paragraphs, Martin Grassl–in his own words–discusses his global views about the future of agave spirits.

Marching Forward

History moves forward.  Agave spirits are going international.

It happened to the Europeans in the wine industry: no one could stop grapes travelling!

When California and Australia, not to mention Chile and Argentina, joined the premium wine world half a century ago, initially it drove the French in Bordeaux crazy.  But over decades, it made important contributions to California’s and Australia’s economy and provided a much respected delightful alternative enjoyment for consumers.

Men In Tequila: Martin Grassl Speaks Out https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5Gr

Today, both Australia and California, not to mention Chile and Argentina, are wine superpowers, equivalent, if not superior to, their European ancestors.

How dreary the world would be with only French wines!

Single-Agave® 100% Agave Americana

Single-Agave® 100% Agave Americana, an agave spirit proudly made in India from 100% Indian-grown mezcal [agave] pinas, is history on the march.

Men In Tequila: Martin Grassl Speaks Out https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5Gr

It is the first in a Porfidio-initiated series of international single-varietal agave spirits; soon to be followed by the second release, a single variety agave spirit from Venezuela (100% Agave Cocuy).

Cultural (Mis-)appropriation

The CRT’s recent national press campaign in Mexico honored the Indian agave spirit with full page articles in every major newspaper, but was typically inaccurate.

Contrary to its spurious claims, “agave” is a botanical term like the word “grape,” or “barley” and, like them, cannot be claimed under  A.C. status (A.C = D.O.) [Denomination of Origin].

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It is as if Peru tried to trademark “potato.”  

The plant’s original name, Mezcal, is the name Mexicans used, and the term “Agave” was invented by a Swedish botanist based on the observations of a German researcher.

So the allegations of cultural (mis-)appropriation make hardly any sense, since if equally applied on both sides, the Old World could claim property in the origins of the donkey, distillation, stainless steel, invention of electricity, and indeed, to the very oak barrels, all of which were “(mis-)appropriated” by Mexico from abroad, and without which tequila would have hardly existed.

The Colombian Exchange

The key concept is “The Colombian Exchange” which brought horses, donkeys, wheat, stills and oak barrels to the Americas in return for the potato, corn, tobacco and agave that went to the rest of the world.

We should not forget the royal role of Queen Victoria, who so greatly continued Columbus’s work across her Empire when the British planted agave in all her various dominions where it would grow.

Some claim that this product was created as a response to the present Blue Agave shortage in Mexico. However, Single-Agave®100% Agave Americana is not made from the Blue Agave, but Mezcal Americana, a different variety of agave that is indeed used to make Mezcal, but not Tequila®, under the CRT’s own rigorous definition.

 

Bored Consumers

Men In Tequila: Martin Grassl Speaks Out https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5Gr

More importantly there are signs that consumers are actually bored with the limited palate of the Blue Agave, which is, after all, the dull chardonnay of agave spirits.

They are ready to move on to other agave varietals–

“Vino de Mezcal,” the new darling of agave spirits lovers.

Made in India, Single-Agave®100% Agave Americana, caters precisely to these bored consumers who expect more from life than just another boring chardonnay; and let alone just another 100% Agave Tequila® made from cloned plantation-grown Blue Agave.

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 Presents Last Tequila Standing

national tequila day, last tequila standing, tequila aficionado, TV show, reality show

First ever Tequila Reality Show kicks off on National Tequila Day!

For Immediate Release!

In 2011, eighteen tequila start ups had vied to be crowned the top Brand Of Promise(TM) in the world’s first broadcasted Tequila Reality Show.

Tequila Aficionado Media Presents Last Tequila Standing

July, 2015, San Antonio, TX:  Starting July 24, 2015, National Tequila Day, 45 exclusive episodes of Last Tequila Standing will be streamed daily over Tequila Aficionado Media’s website and on-demand over its own YouTube playlist, as well as featured throughout all of its powerful social networks.

“Through the expansion of opportunities on the Web, and Tequila Aficionado

Last Tequila Standing.
Last Tequila Standing.

Media’s own explosive growth, we are proud to present for your enjoyment, Last Tequila Standing,” declared Tequila Aficionado’s CEO, M.A. “Mike” Morales.

Never-before-seen raw footage of some of the tequila industry’s most promising labels will be aired.  Each will relate their start up stories and demonstrate their tasty signature cocktails, too.

Colorful brand owners, master distillers, and top flight brand ambassadors took the stage with their enduring tequilas, many of which are still thriving even in 2015’s more competitive tequila market.

 The Dare

Judging_LTSIn the late summer of 2011, 18 brave tequila brands took up this challenge–

To appear on the first ever televised tequila reality show to share with the world their personal stories and to participate in a judged tasting competition to be named the Last Tequila Standing.

Rocky Road

As with most TV pilots and shows that are ahead of their time, Last Tequila Standing struggled to find a permanent network home.

“After a series of fits-and-starts, several failed business deals and cable company mergers that never happened, Last Tequila Standing was all but lost,” recounts Morales, a producer and one of the hosts of the show.

From the moment Season 1’s taping had wrapped, Morales worked tirelessly for months with the Executive Producers to try to fulfill the show’s original mission–

To educate and inform tequila aficionados worldwide in an entertaining fashion LTS_Cameraon the finer points of Mexico’s national spirit, as well as to help promote organic, artisanal, small batch, and boutique tequila Brands Of Promise(TM).

“But just a few years later, with the advent of streaming video made popular by services like Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix, the playing field has changed dramatically,” adds Lisa Pietsch, Tequila Aficionado Media’s COO in charge of social media marketing.  “Last Tequila Standing lends itself perfectly to our binge watching audience.”

The Line-Up

Participating tequila brands include…

Alquimia Organic Tequila, Alma de Agave, Crótalo, Cuestión, Don Pilar, Tributo, SilverCoin,  and many others.

In addition, Sal del Mar gourmet sea salt, Casa ZG sangrita mix, and Nature’s Agave syrup are also highlighted.

Guest Starring

Alquimia and Quinta de Gomez, organic tequilas.
Alquimia and Quinta de Gomez, organic tequilas.

Along with Tequila Aficionado Media’s CEO and Tequila Journalist, M.A. “Mike” Morales, Clayton J. Czczech guest judges on Last Tequila Standing.

Also on hand to impart his vast tasting expertise is industry expert Christopher Zarus, inventor of the only take home tequila tasting kit, TequilaRack, which will also be featured extensively.

A Global Event

“Since the taping of Season 1 of Last Tequila Standing, the Tequila Industry has aggressively pursued global expansion into countries like China, Russia, India, and Brazil,” explains Morales.

“Given that our audience is not only viewing Tequila Aficionado from these locations,” asserts Pietsch, “but all across Canada, the United States, Germany and Mexico, we can truly say that the airing of Last Tequila Standing will be a global event of epic proportions!”

 ***

Watch for new episodes of Last Tequila Standing premiering every day–for 45 days–beginning on National Tequila Day, July 24, 2015 at 11AM CDT.

 

[*Editor’s note: As a courtesy and at the request of Clayton J. Czczech, Tequila Aficionado has attempted to remove all videos and photographs in which he was featured without degrading the balance of the Last Tequila Standing content provided to us.] 

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 88: A Tequila Hero’s Journey

Hari Dhiman, dressed in a black tuxedo, stood humbly but firmly at the podium and looked out over the darkened auditorium packed with guests and well-wishers from all over the Inland Empire of Southern California.

A masterful networker and community leader, the Founder and CEO of upstart tequila brand Tequila 88 had formally invited this who’s-who of politics and business to join him and his family on an early February evening in 2013 to celebrate the brand’s first year accomplishments. A true success in both his life and business, it hasn’t always been easy for East Indian born Hari, as he explains here…

 Tequila 88:  A Love Story

Coasters and brochures.
Coasters and brochures.

In an age where trendy tequila monikers abound and many are marketed to appear so exclusive that they are christened after the area code of certain cities where the brand owners reside or hail from, or the steps taken to represent the tequila’s production (901, 512,  1-2-3, Tres, Cuatro, Cinco), Tequila 88 has a sweet and tender reason for its name that began in exotic Singapore:

Why Tequila?

The man and his tequila.
The man and his tequila.

Dhiman acknowledged that getting into the tequila business during the recession of 2009-2010 wasn’t an easy decision.

Having made his fortune in the hotel and hospitality business, an industry which suffered significant economic blows during that era, as well, Hari confessed that it seemed a safer bet than developing his own tequila brand.

Perseverance, Commitment, Passion

By Hari’s own admission, Tequila 88’s journey was long and arduous.  As a “hands-on” kind of guy, he was involved in every aspect and detail of the brand.  Countless hours were spent on the flavor profile alone, which at one point, even led to his chemical engineer/master distiller to give up on the project in frustration.

Hari, however, doggedly insisted that they both press on.

Determined to bring a solid product into the market, and his long term plans for Tequila 88 hanging in the balance, Dhiman refused to cut corners and met every requirement set down by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) as outlined in its rules and regulations (normas).

Superseding Expectations

Not only did Hari Dhiman acquire his desired flavor profiles for Tequila 88 by exceeding the CRT’s standards, he has since successfully exported his first shipment of Tequila 88 to his homeland in India in the spring of 2013.

A Unique Bottle

Tequila 88 blanco and boxes.
Tequila 88 blanco and boxes.

When I first met Hari Dhiman at his offices and warehouse in Ontario, CA in January 2013, he recounted the events that lead to designing his unique tequila bottle, several of which were artistically displayed as centerpieces.  He then pulled out some shaped pieces of paper from his desk drawer.  These were his initial attempts at making a 3-D model of his dream tequila vessel.

He enlisted a mechanical engineer to complete the plans that now hang on his office wall.  Tequila 88’s bottle and packaging have become a sought after trophy by collectors.

Rags To Riches

A self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur with several thriving businesses to his credit, Hari shares his formula for success…

During the course of the evening, the milestone celebration swayed between a fiesta and a stockholders’ meeting, but with a lighthearted and humorous atmosphere, nevertheless.   And while it may sound like a cliché, Hari Dhiman’s voyage through life is the epitome of the rags to riches story.  The American Dream personified mixed with an intense entrepreneurial spirit.

Exporting Tequila 88 to India.
Exporting Tequila 88 to India.

From mopping floors for minimum wage, to lifting a snifter of tequila to salute his first overseas shipment into a burgeoning new economy and tequila market, one gets the sense that the next phase of Hari Dhiman’s odyssey will take him even further onto his Tequila Hero’s Journey.

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Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

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Salud!!