Women In The Tequila Industry: Lisa Elovich

FullSizeRender_LisaELisa Elovich is a relative newcomer to the tequila business.

Accompanied by a small army of family, staunch supporters and fans, and guided by some savvy tequila industry veterans, Her One With Life (OWL) organic tequila is gaining a firm foothold in her native New York state.

She is also no stranger to working–and thriving–in male dominated industries.

This mother of two has been a Parole Commissioner since 2007.  She served as an Administrative Law Judge for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and was a Deputy Attorney General for the New York State Attorney General’s Office with a focus on juvenile justice and crime prevention programs.

If that wasn’t enough, Elovich was also at one time the state’s only licensed female professional boxing promoter!

Throughout her life experiences, Lisa has learned to remain present in the moment and the importance of balance.  Using her tequila brand as a vehicle, she imparts these lessons to all who enjoy One With Life.

Besides personally hand-selecting and test-tasting every batch in Mexico, each bottle is printed with a spiritual toast on the label and a special hidden quote inside.

Tequila Aficionado Media asked Ms. Elovich a handful of questions that, in the past, have been answered by our illustrious gallery of Women In The Tequila Industry.

Here’s what she had to say….

TA:  What are the challenges you face when dealing with the male dominated Tequila Industry? 

LE:  I have never felt like being a woman in a male dominated industry is a negative factor.  I was the only licensed female boxing promoter in New York State for awhile and I found that for the most part, people really only care about the results you produce, quality of the product and one’s character.

The same holds true for being a woman in the tequila industry. 

TA:  How have you been able to change things within your industry?

LE:  I am new to the industry but I think that I can help with dissolving egos and collaborating rather than always competing.

I believe that when you help others try to succeed you are more likely to succeed yourself.

TA:  What do you see as the future of women working within the Tequila Industry?

LE:  Women can bring a softer and more feminine perspective to the tequila world.

owl

One With Life Tequila’s niche is the health conscious female who enjoys organic products and the mild smooth taste of an ultra premium tequila

Now that high end tequilas are growing at a rapid pace, I think there will be more women entering the industry.

TA:  What things would you like to see changed?

LE:  I would like to see the smaller companies get more attention.OWL_labels

It should not only be about who can spend the most money but about quality of a product and its unique contribution to the tequila market.

TA:  Is there anything you’d like to say to women who may be contemplating entering and working in the Tequila Industry in one form or another?

LE:  I would recommend speaking with others that are already in the industry.  I was lucky enough to get advice from people who have founded tequila brands.  It is important to listen to people who have already been through the fire and come out the other side.  It is extremely labor intensive, time consuming and takes a lot of persistence.

For me it has been mostly trial by fire and sometimes I run into road blocks.  The key is to just stay focused and positive.  Work hard and have faith.  I encourage others to follow their passion and to not give up even when things get difficult.

It takes time and patience to build a brand.  Build it slowly and don’t get in over your head.

The most important thing is to enjoy the ride!  Tequila, like life, is supposed to be light hearted and fun!

The Roca Patron Road Show

The Roca Patrón launch party invitation.
The Roca Patrón launch party invitation.

 

Roca Patron Hits The Road

All across the country, in carefully selected cities where the beautiful people roam like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco, the Patrón PR machine (which spent a reported $34.1 million in measured media in 2013), is rolling out its new Roca Patrón line of tequilas.

Here in Tejas, on August 11, 2014, at the famed Brazos Hall in Austin, Tequila Aficionado Media was invited to the head of the line and behind the braided rope to be one of the first to try this new offering from Planet Patrón.

Once Inside…

The Brazos Hall was entirely furnished with wooden Roca Patrón branded furniture, fixtures, barrels and props, along with its own stage where a dynamic digital screen replayed a two minute silent video that was programmed to pulsating club music at deafening decibels.

 

 

Besides coming with its own publicity campaign that includes a stylized knockoff of their familiar bottle, projecting the Patrón name and iconic bee symbol onto the walls and some snappy slogans on ads and cushy sofa pillows, the entire experience is designed to embed a feeling of Old World rustic tequila-making with a modern twist.

The Process

El Tesoro's tahona, still in use.
El Tesoro’s tahona, still in use.

What makes this new addition to the Patrón portfolio any different from its usual ho-hum juice?

Roca Patrón (a Spanish corruption of the English word rock) is made exclusively using a tahona or volcanic stone wheel to macerate agave piñas to extract its juice.  Until the invention and adoption of more efficient and less labor intensive shredding machines, this was once how all tequilas were produced.

In this clip, Patrón Quality Director, Mario Chavez, explains why they settled on a 90 proof blanco and reveals some of the details in the pre-planning of the Roca line.

Mario explained that the tahona has always been part of the tequila making process for regular Patrón which they blend after distillation with juice that has been shredded.  This method was made famous by Tequila Siete Leguas, Patrón’s original producer, and eventually pilfered by Patrón.  For Roca, however, no blending occurs.

 

2014-08-11 19.12.58
L-R: Mike Morales, John Rivers of Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila, Mario Chavez. Patrón Quality Director, Mario Chavez, was so animated and excited about sharing Roca Patron that we couldn’t capture a still photo of him! Special thanks to Greg Cohen for inviting us to a great party!

 

Francisco-head-shot
Francisco Alcaraz, Patron Master Distiller

In his passion, Mario was sure that there were no other tequilas produced exclusively using a tahona.  I reminded him of the sought-after Fortaleza brand which he acknowledged, and Suerte, which he had never heard of.  But, why would he?  He is so engrossed in his own line that it figures that he would be oblivious to any other ones.  An honest, and forgivable, mistake.

Several distillers/chemical engineers are associated with the Roca line.  It’s refreshing to see a new face representing Patrón besides Francisco Alcaraz, their long time Master Distiller.

Cocktail Worthy

The Roca Patrón website has plenty of signature cocktails, but for each of the other 40 odd launch cities including Austin, original recipes were created by hired hot mixologists.

As previously pointed out in our reviews of Cabeza, Tapatío 110, and the entire Dulce Vida line, overproof tequilas shine in cocktails and Roca Patrón is no different.

Both myself and Mario agreed, however, that for a purist, a tequila the caliber of Roca

Lutfy Flores, David Alan, Carolyn Gil, Brian Dressel, Joyce Garrison, Patrón's guest mixologists.
Lutfy Flores, David Alan, Carolyn Gil, Brian Dressel, Joyce Garrison, Patrón’s guest mixologists.

Patrón would be much better served either neat, or simply on the rocks.

The Break Down

For the sake of transparency, we were served Roca Patrón on tap at room temperature in branded champagne glasses.  (Don’t be fooled by the lit-from-behind liquid lines viewed through false tequila barrel tops.  Patrón invented the art of visual illusion for these events.)

Patrón reps that evening admitted that it was not the best way to taste test tequila, but considering the amount of guests invited to the launch, it proved more cost effective.

Due to the darkness of the Brazos Hall, observing Roca’s color was next to impossible.

Roca Patrón Silver–90 proof

The new Roca Patrón line.
The new Roca Patrón line.

At first sniff, instant piedra (tahona, rock) with barely any hint of alcohol.  The nose gives no warning for what’s to come, however.  Extreme agave on the entry, so brace yourselves.  Light to medium finish that lingers on the palate, not down your throat.  On the second intake, more sweetness is evident.

Roca Patrón Reposado–84 proof

Instant butter on the nose to go along with the wood notes, vanilla and caramel.  Mario confessed that his wife is even able to pull some pineapple and pear on the entry.  Both were slightly noticeable, again with very little to no alcohol.  Aged in American oak barrels and guaranteed to coat your palate.

Roca Patrón Añejo–88 proof

Aged 14 months, mas o menos, there is evidence of dried fruit, nuts and some citrus.  Again, very little if any alcohol was present in the nose.  Very easy finish, but not as memorable as the reposado even though it, too, will coat the palate.

The Verdict

Both at the event and in digital print, Patrón reps and officials have admitted that there has been a gradual decline in demand for its tequila in the United States.  Consumers and industry professionals alike have dismissed it as a brand that rests on its colorful past and deft marketing.

Whether this trend has been due to the rise of mixologists and their demands for better and more artisanal ingredients for their cocktail creations, a more sophisticated and educated consumer, or focusing on its ravenous rise to dominance in the overseas Duty Free market, Roca Patrón is their bold statement to these allegations.

Despite Patrón’s attempt to backpedal into the current craft tequila craze with Roca, it is still a mass produced tequila targeted to their own particular customer base–

Those willing to spend anywhere from $69, $79, and $89 for silver, reposado, and añejo expressions.

Don’t expect to see these prices drop, either.  Patrón was one of the only tequila producers that refused to roll back prices during the recession even though consumers were trading down to cheaper brands.

In the end, those faithful Patrón followers who enjoy the Gran Patrón line (Platinum, Piedra, or Burdeos), but not the heady price tags, will appreciate Roca Patrón’s assertive flavor profile and less aggressive cost.

As for the Patrón Road Show…

It was an elegant, eventful, and enlightening affair.  Like watching Cirque du Soleil but without the embarrassing costumes.

***

Watch for a future Sipping Off The Cuff(TM) featuring Roca Patrón, coming soon!

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