Our 2018 Tequila Aficionado Tour begins early this year, in late July, as we depart from Texas and make our way up to the Mammoth Lakes area of northern California.
In early August the first stop on our tour will be the Mammoth Margarita Festival (August 10-11). We’ll have two crews there bringing you all the fun and festivities with live video daily. While we won’t be pouring sponsor brands there, we will be auditioning tasters for Tequila Aficionado and using sponsor brands for those tastings. So whether you’d like to taste what we’re touring with or actually get a Tequila Jockey gig working for tequila, we’d love to see you for open auditions in Mammoth!
Our next stop on the 2018 Tequila Aficionado Tour will be in Monterey for the Monterey Bay Tequila and Cuisine event on October 13. We’ll be covering all the fun there with live video and plenty of recorded interviews. Tour sponsor brands will get exposure there by product placement in our videos.
We will finish the 2018 Tequila Aficionado Tour with a massive event at El Cholo Restaurant in Pasadena on October 26, where we will be pouring sponsor brands in the VIP area at El Cholo’s annual Tequila Tour.
In addition to all of this, sponsor brands will receive a ridiculous amount of social media posts on behalf of Tequila Aficionado, on all of our social networks, to promote their brand(s). Brands interested in participating in our biggest, boldest tour yet can find the complete list of posts and items that we will be providing to all of our sponsor brands – for each expression – here.
In mid-August of 2014, the organizers of the 6th Annual Monterey Bay Tequila & Cuisine, which took place on October 11, 2014, graciously asked Tequila Aficionado Media CEO, Mike Morales, to participate as a judge. Their unique, take-at-home blind tequila tasting competition used the Tequila Matchmaker smartphone application to score and bestow awards. You can review the results of the tasting competition here.
I dreaded tests and pop quizzes in school. I never did well on them no matter how long I studied. The only answer for someone like me to improve his grade was to do extra credit work. Often, that meant the blessing of the occasional take-home test.
aficionados in finding tequilas that are suitable to their taste preferences. It also allows enthusiasts to rate and grade brands on a sliding numerical scale.
Grover has introduced Tequila Matchmaker in some of the leading and trending tequila bars in the US. The Monterey Bay Tequila & Cuisine is the first event to exclusively use the Tequila Matchmaker app for its blind tasting competition.
In this Facebook interview, Grover shares some of his thoughts on the aftermath of the competition.
TA: So…did the results amaze you?
GS: Not really. I wish there were more brands involved so we could get a better comparison.
Last year, when we announced the results, several brands were in the room. They immediately asked questions about the judges. This gave me the idea to “test” the judges as a way of giving the brands an idea of who they were dealing with.
So, duplicating a tequila as a way to “judge the judges” was my answer. A total experiment. Not totally scientific, but definitely interesting.
TA: Did they know who the judges were this time around?
GS: No, we didn’t disclose which judges gave which scores. Also, all of the judges, except for one, did well.
TA: Did they know the names of the judges on the roster?
GS: I believe so.
Also, rating these tequilas from home is a totally different method than rating them with all of the judges in the same room. Not that any one is better than the other, just
that they are different.
I would actually like to try an experiment where the same judges rate things at home, and then again, together (like the SOM [Spirits of Mexico competition] format) and then see the differences.
GS: I also want to experiment with the order of the selection. We can actually use our app to create a random order for each person, so nobody will have the same [order].
TA: That would be a cool variable.
GS: For me at SOM [Grover was a judge at 2014’s contest], palate fatigue is an issue, so it would be interesting to see if tequilas at the end of the line tend to do better. I am fascinated by blind ratings, so I’m having a blast trying all these new experiments.
GS: I know that the SOM guys insist that spirits must be evaluated in the morning, but that seems a little odd to me. I think the judge needs to be consistent, but should be able to choose when they drink. I don’t usually drink in the morning. usually. :-). There’s an element of “real life” that isn’t present when you drink Tapatio 110 at 9am.
TA: Did the certified catador do better than was expected?
Before I go into my pros and cons of rating tequilas using the Tequila Matchmaker app for the Monterey Bay Tequila & Cuisine, let me get a few pet peeves off my chest.
Judging Competitions–What A Concept!
In all my time studying, analyzing and observing the Tequila Industry, not once have I ever known any tequila enthusiast, purist, newbie, connoisseur, collector or consumer (let alone brand owner and/or importer) to be happy with the results of any spirits judging competition.
The older the judging tournaments are, the more importance their annual medal counts are given by an unsuspecting public who only purchase award winning beers, wines and spirits based on their perceived value, instead of trusting its own taste buds.
Those long running competitions become more expensive to enter, forcing smaller more deserving brands out and leaving the larger, transnational corporations with deeper portfolios and bigger budgets to duke it out.
Accusations of alleged backroom negotiations for awards has also been an issue, of late.
And let’s not forget the most lucrative part of the tasting event–
Paying for the rights to use the competition’s branded medals and seals in addition to the entry fees per spirits expression submitted.
Yet, spirits brands in general, and tequila brands in particular, continue to allocate hard-earned marketing dollars toward entering these yearly competitions for the privilege of hanging neck tags from their bottles or affixing stickers onto their labels named for precious metals or gemstones.
At the end of the day, it seems like everyone who participated in the competitions scored some sort of hardware and the rest of us are left shaking our heads in dismay or agreement.
I was once told by a very respected spirits writer that a unified scoring system was good for an event should the organizers decide to hold other branded spirits competitions.
Whoever said that a templated numerical scoring method used to grade different kinds of spirits was appropriate for tequila tastings? Diffusers aside, tequila itself is so unique, it doesn’t compare with the flavor profiles of all other spirits, so why rate them that way?
How about a rating system that’s good for the juice instead of one that’s good for the show? (BTW…one already exists.)
Pros And Cons
Pro–scoring on the Tequila Matchmaker app is amazingly simple.
Con–There’s no numerical rating for the tequilas’ appearance on the Tequila Matchmaker app. Takes the whole sensorial feeling out of tequila tasting. Only your nose and mouth get to have all the fun.
Pro–Shipping two ounce samples is neat and cost effective for the organizers of the show.
Con–See what happens when minis are compromised. (Warning: It’s not pretty.)
I particularly found that my sealed reposado samples were extremely alcohol-y even after sitting at room temperature for a couple of days.
Pro–It’s lovely to take your time judging samples at your leisure. I agree with
Grover that it saves on palate fatigue, too.
Con–I miss the camaraderie of other expert judges and learning from them. It ups your game like playing one-on-one with LeBron James or batting against Clayton Kershaw.
Pro–Depending on my schedule, I chose what time of day to judge my samples.
Con–According to the guidelines set forth by the original Mexican Tequila Academy, tastings should begin by 11 AM when a catador’s (tequila taster’s) palate is freshest. [See also their tequila scoring sheet and criteria.] This article here explains where this custom began.
Pro–I knew which glassware and other tips and tools to use to make me, as a judge, more effective.
Con–The lack of uniformity and protocol among the judges could have affected the final results.
Pro–It was exciting to use Tequila Matchmaker’s breakthrough scoring system.
Con–I can’t, in all honesty, say that I was pleased with the awarded outcomes or my graded performance.
As if we aren’t busy enough lately, we’re expecting to be even more busy as M.A. “Mike” Morales has been asked to judge for the Monterey Bay Tequila & Cusine (Monterey Tequila Festival) this year. Actually, that means Lisa needs to film more vines and post more updates to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter while Mike has to drink more tequila. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it! If you plan on being in or near Monterey, California, this October, be sure to plan to attend this festival.
Agave, art, auction, brand ambassadors, chefs, cuisine, culture, elegance, enthusiasts, mariachi, after-party social y mas! Are you ready for a first-class agave experience? Join us at the sixth annual MBTC taking place on Saturday, October 11th , 2014 at the newly remodeled Hyatt Grand Regency Ballroom nestled on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.
Friday, October 10, 2014:
Agave Awards and Sponsor Dinner (Invitation Only & VIP All Access)
Saturday, October 11, 2014:
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Auction and Tapas Reception – Come get a sneak peak at the agave-inspired silent auction, benefiting Rancho Cielo. Enjoy live Mariachi and tapas that will surely satisfy the palate!
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Early entry for VIPs
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Tequila 101 for VIPs
5:00 p.m. – Doors open to the general public
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Main tasting | food | entertainment
9:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. – After Party Social – Continue the fun at the MBTC After Party Social and dance to the sounds of live drummer-percussionist, D-Rock Drums from southern California, collaborating along side local DJ Noel Saucedo. A must attend!
Tickets for the much anticipated sixth annual MBTC are on sale now! Be sure to purchase early – tickets sell out each year. Depending on availability, tickets may be available at the door day of the event. Group discounts are available. If you are joining us with a group of 8 or more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on discounted rates. We also offer a Designated Driver discount.