How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018

How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

Whether you’re in the business, a savvy consumer, or just an Average Joe overwhelmed by the hype of agave spirits, how can you ensure that you’ll survive the upcoming tequila turmoils of the rest of this year, and beyond?

We’ll show you how.

But first…

Let’s Review

You’ve heard the news of the current agave crisis that we covered in The Agave Panic of 2018:  Bloodshed on the Streets of Tequila. 

You’ve kept track of the trend since last year when we explained that The Agave Shortage of 2017 is Worse Than We Thought.

If you’re launching agave spirits brands during this time of crisis, we need a short discussion about–

Mega Distributors

Aside from some notable craft brands being swallowed up by corporate distillers, M & A has been the name of the game in the spirits distribution sector, too.

How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

Late November 2017 brought the news that distributor Breakthru Beverage was set to combine with Texas based distributor Republic National Distribution Company to match 2016’s mega-merger of Southern Wine and Spirits with Glazer’s, Inc.

This means that smaller agave spirits labels are in danger of never gaining the attention of these behemoth corporations.

And, if your small batch agave distillate has been promised a slot in the hulking distributors’ newly formed “craft spirits division,” specifically to “incubate” promising brands, my advice…

Don’t Do It!  It’s A Trap!

How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

Whether they’ve promised your juice a small amount of attention, or you’re in the “full book” (entire spirits catalog), these divisions are engineered to give the up-and-coming little guy a false sense of hope–and a false sense of security–that your gem will be distributed nationwide, some day.

Fat chance.  It’ll never happen. Wake up!

These mammoth distributors are in bed with the Big Boys, and won’t lift a finger to help you get the word out or build your brand.

Whatever that friend-of-a-friend-who’s-been-in-the-business-a-long-time-and-you’ve-been-golfing-buddies-forever has pledged to you, these departments are engineered to safely “sit” on your precious tequila or mezcal because it has been deemed a threat to the shelf space of their higher paying bread-and-butter flagships.How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

With the recent pay-for-play scandals that have been in the booze news lately, this technique is tougher to detect.

You’ll still be in the same boat you’re in now, doing all the work yourself.

Instead…

Support Your Local Distributor

Not a day goes by where a rising agave star doesn’t ask us for recommendations on a “good distributor” [There’s an oxymoron!] in any state.

Personally, I hesitate to recommend any particular distributor.  I’m not a big fan of them.  Some will argue that the Three Tier System of distribution in the United States is archaic, and serves only the Big Brands.

That said, small-to-mid sized distributors, in my opinion, will become even more important in the grand scheme of things, especially in light of the next impeding mega-merger between Republic National and Breakthru Beverage.

If you’re lucky enough to find hustlers like agave-centric Glass Bottom Distributors in Southern California, or Creospirits in Arizona, your troubles might be fewer.

On the other hand, if you decide to go with a small wine house, or choose a beer distributor or some other arrangement, you’ll still need to instruct their sales staff on how to sell your agave spirit.

Assume that they are simply order takers and woefully under trained (they are!) on anything other than wine or beer, or what’s “on spiff.”

When instructing these salespeople, speak to them in terms they will understand, and don’t have high expectations.

Maybe, just maybe, they won’t disappoint you too much.

Savvy Consumer

You’re one smart cookie.

Not too many people can pull the wool over your eyes, but…

You’re afraid of falling for the excessive marketing that’s endlessly broadcasted to you from all sides of the tequila aisle.

Relax.How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

We suggest you re-read our 2-part series, Craft Tequila:  WTF Does THAT Mean? Part 1.  And, the guidelines put forth in the Craft Tequila Gauntlet in Part 2.

Add Kosher

While you’re at it, add kosher tequila and mezcal to your arsenal, too.

Don’t laugh.  It’s a billion dollar business.

If Rothschild can release a kosher rose champagne, what’s keeping tequilas and mezcals from doing it, too?

Check out our 4 part series, The BIG Business of Kosher Tequila, Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 .

The Average Joe

If you’re just an Average Joe, and even if you’ve done all the aforementioned due diligence, you’re still in danger.
How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

Rather than taking shortcuts in order to meet heavy worldwide demand and risk losing quality, some reputable tequila makers have reportedly stopped distilling temporarily in the hopes that agave prices will level out.

[At this writing, agave prices are at $25 pesos per kilo.]

One industry insider confessed to us, however, that a major brand name tequila had switched completely to using diffusers to produce its tequilas.

Asked whether the owner of this large distillery was concerned that the quality of his juice would suffer, he admitted that he didn’t care.

He defended his position by saying that his tequila had been around for so long, and was moving a significant amount of cases, that consumers would never know the difference, anyway.

To purists, news like this breaks their heart.

To savvy consumers, this deliberate disrespect of the public’s intelligence should raise their hackles.

To the Average Joe, this will make your head spin because you make your buying decisions based mostly on tried and true names that you’ve always trusted.

Mainstay brands that were standouts before being bought by global companies, or invested in by foreigners outside of Mexico, are banking that you’ll fall for their marketing–and, on your ignorance.

Don’t let them!

How to Survive the Tequila Turmoils of 2018 https://wp.me/p3u1xi-5zQ

What Else You Can Do

Support small producers of agave spirits.

The Big Boys will always weather the storm, but a few of the little guys could be out of business over the course of the next five years or so.

In promoting them–and even some of the more popular brands, it seems–expect to pay more at your local bar or liquor store.

Whether the agave crisis is fact, fiction or a fusion of both, the scarcity of a commodity will always drive prices higher.

In this thoughtful article by the non-profit advocacy group, Tequila Interchange Project, here’s what else you can do to prepare for what’s to come–without selling out.

Informed agave spirits consumers should always strive to drink for a greater, and more balanced, agave distillates industry.

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!

Suave Organic Blanco Tequila Review

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!

Terraneo Organic Silver Tequila Review

According to Tequila Terraneo:Sipping Off the Cuff | Terraneo Tequila Organic Silver http://wp.me/p3u1xi-5bO

Intense, open, pleasant, and of definite character, that is Terraneo Tequila. A premium tequila whose flavor is the result of the richness of minerals, climate, and elevation that distinguishes the land in which the agaves sprout: Jalisco.

These factors, along with a careful cultivation process that preserves its natural habitat and a process that follows the original method of producing tequila, make Terraneo Tequila an emblematic, memorable, authentic expression.

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!

El Consuelo Blanco Tequila Review [Transcript]

Watch the original video review here.

Mike: You are watching Sipping off the Cuff on TequilaAficionado.com.  I’m Mike Morales and that gentleman over there…

Rick: Rick Levy in San Diego.

Mike: I’m here in San Antonio.  We’re enjoying a respite from the heat wave.  We’ve actually had rain the last 2 days, which is nice.

Rick: The heat has moved out here.

Mike: Oh, really is it hot out there?

Rick: Little over 100 outside the house.

Mike: Wow, you don’t have air-conditioning in San Diego as I remember.

Rick: Yeah. Yeah.  Most people have it now.

Mike: Oh, really?  When I lived in Rancho Penasquitos up a little higher we didn’t have a need to air-conditioning because in the summer if it gets to hot you get that ocean breeze that comes all the way inland.

Rick: Yeah.

Mike: And it was nice; it was, you know, not here in Texas.

Rick: This house didn’t have it when we bought the house.

Mike: Well, then enjoy it.  By Thursday we should have it back I think.  I’m excited, dude, this is going to be your first, this is a brand new Tequila that just contacted us.  It’s called El Consuelo and the neat part about this, Rick, is that it’s organic and its kosher. I don’t know if you can see that down in there but that’s the organic and kosher seal.

Rick: USDA and is it Bioagricert?

Mike: Yeah, it’s Bioagricert and right now I think they are the only one in town but I understand that the CRT will soon be getting involved in certifying tequila. I’m not sure how that’s going to work, it will be interesting whether that becomes a reality at the end of the year.  Who knows? But for now, they were really cool.  They sent us information on the tequila.  I want to make sure.  Certified by, no, not Bioagricert its Mayacert.

Rick: Ah.

Mike: I have never heard of Mayacert, I’m going to do a little research on this one for my own sake, Mayacert that’s interesting.  It is organic however and it is or at least it’s being recognised as organic and it’s also kosher.

Rick: So that’s some information on their website too.  So you can use Jalapeño water as insecticide around their base so you know.*

* Pepper infused water is NOT used as an insecticide on El Consuelo’s agaves.  This is a website error.  No insecticides are used on the El Consuelo agaves.

Mike: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: Repels insects rather than using industrial chemicals.

Mike: Well you know they were nice enough to send us information, basically a press release with a lot of stuff in it from James Goll, who I believe is the 24 Group PR.

Rick: Well the company that produces the tequila is called tequila spirits LLC.

Mike: Right.

Rick: And then James Goll is the 24 Group PR marketing contact.

Mike: Ok. You know they reached out to us and bingo we got tequila.  I like their bottle it’s just a real simple bottle and it’s got a wood cork.

Rick: Yeah.

Mike: It’s a wood topper.

Rick: Natural cork.

Mike: Natural cork too, check that out.

Rick: It did leak a little when I got the bottle.

Mike: Yeah and you know when we got it, it was over a 100 degrees when we got our sample so we had a little bit of leakage. I’m going to use my Glencairn glass tonight, my little copita which I seem to really enjoy, look at that.

Rick: That’s a hefty pourer there.

Mike: That’s ok, it’s not like it’s going to go to waste.

Rick: Pay no attention to the man behind the wheel.

Mike: Yeah, (laughter) nice legs and tears, really.  I don’t know if you can see this, my lighting here is not the best but it pours really nicely, pretty pretty legs and tears, nothing runny, not too clingy.  The bottle itself, if you look at the bottle it’s got that hammered look.  I think, you haven’t had it yet Rick, but Papa Bueno Tequila comes in a bottle that’s got that hammered look, it looks like its hand blown.

Rick: It’s got that same texture to the glass as well.

Mike: Yeah, I like calling it that hammered metal, it’s got that hammered metal look to it but its glass. Really nice.  It handles nicely. It’s a nice bottle to pour from, really old school look at it.  Now what they said in the press material is that they’re using Webber agaves sourced from Jalisco in the Mexican region of Tequila which, if you read that correctly, if you take it word for word, it sounds like they’re using lowlands tequila at this distillery

Rick: 1570.

Mike: Yeah its 1570.

Rick: And it’s in Atotonilco.

Mike: I was probably just down the road from there when we visited Embahador but that’s a highlands distillery.

Rick: But on the bottle it says release out to the world.

Mike: Yeah, but their press material it says something else and so it’s a little confusing.

Rick: PR firms.

Mike: It’s press you know, so we will assume that they are using highlands tequila or highlands agaves.

Rick: It said on the website that they are using agaves from Altos.

Mike: Oh good. Ok.

Rick: It says they are 8 to 9 years old, organic, and are trimmed close when they harvest them.

Mike: Ok, we did not get, and I’m not even sure if they are available yet, Reposado and Anejo.  It seems like they are going to go way traditional with this.  The reposado was supposed to be six months aged and the anejo aged for 12 months.  Both are aged in cognac barrels* so it will be kind of nice to be able to taste those aged varietals.

*El Consuelo is not aged in cognac barrels.  El Consuelo ages their Reposado and Anejo in once-used Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrels.

Rick: Check that out, on their website they have some contradictory information.

Mike: What do they say on the website?

Rick: They said that the reposado was aged 11 months and that the anejo was 24 months and in those they also used, in addition to cognac, American Whiskey barrels.*

*This too is incorrect.  Cognac barrels are not used at all.

Mike: Well who do we believe?

Rick: I don’t know they will just have to send us the juice and let us decide.

Mike: That’s OK.  This is the start of it, so obviously you know the Blanco is the root of all good or evil.  I like the smell.  Its got that nice fruity, floral smell right on the tip of the nose.  You don’t even have to go dig very deep, very far, for it.

Rick: Right. Very fresh.

Mike: It’s a beautiful aroma.

Rick: Yeah and then you know I just cracked the seal on this today and nothing weird was coming off the top.  It didn’t need to oxidise or open up or anything.

Mike: No its very clean.  Very, very clean smelling. Obviously you can see the legs and tears off of my glass.  It’s perfect.  There is nothing that says this isn’t going to be good for you.

Rick: Yeah, and you know in their materials they really boast about doing everything in a traditional way, so you know I looked into it a little bit more.  They are using masonry ovens for extraction.  I was glad to see.  I loved this.  I see for their fermentation they are using a natural open air fermentation process and they are using stainless vats.  They also say they are using a proprietary exclusive yeast, so its exclusive to El Consuelo.

Mike: Well you know what that means right?

Rick: No.

Mike: When they say proprietary, you know the first thing that comes into my head is that this is a yeast that is coming from their own agaves.  It doesn’t say that they are estate grown agaves so I’m assuming that they are using yeast from agaves that they purchase and that’s the yeast that they are using.

Rick: So natural yeast from the plants that they are distilling, of course.

Mike: Right. Generally when you hear that it is because they are estate owned and then they produce their own yeast from their own plants and at least that’s the way I interpreted it.  I could be wrong.  They could be using, I don’t know, a Champaign yeast, but it doesn’t smell like it.  It smells just, you know, if anything I get some citrus notes on it.

Rick: You know that.

Mike: That lime zest. I’m getting lime zest again; I’m going to dig in here. Wow.

Rick: Ah, that’s just excellent.  I can’t find anything that I can…

Mike: Nothing to complain about.

Rick: There is nothing, there is nothing off, nothing strange, nothing peculiar its just wow, its luscious.

Mike: It’s not beefy either, it’s got a great finish.  You notice that finish lingers; it’s a lingering finish, a medium to long finish.

Rick: Yeah, I’m getting that great pepper sensation around the outside, the tongue and back of palate.

Mike: Yeah, this is a star man; this is a stellar, stellar stuff.

Rick: Well it’s great to see, you know, because they seem to really be something.  When I was looking at the website they were really pushing about how they are interested in their commitment to sustainability, social consciousness, and they say stuff like additive free with pure ingredients, with methods passed down through generations of Mexican farmers; their commitment to sustainability, social consciousness, for their farmers and their communities so it really seems like they are trying to develop a partnership with the growers and the distillery.

Mike: It’s their method, like you said, the method where they use the *habanero peppered water to ward off insects rather than pesticides.

* Pepper infused water is NOT used as an insecticide on El Consuelo’s agaves.  This is a website error.  No insecticides are used on the El Consuelo agaves.


Rick:
Yeah.

Mike: It’s really interesting. Having grown my own green chillies in new Mexico I can tell you that the bugs don’t like them, ants don’t like them, there is something the heat, the oils in the chilis.  It just naturally doesn’t have, it’s not like a berry or a fruit when you have birds that will eat some of it or rabbits, nobody touches chili, they leave it alone so that’s kind of cool, that’s really neat they way they have gone to that.

Rick: And they also talk about their special bottling process.  I’m not sure how hard this is for the industry but they say that they wash their bottles; prior to bottling they wash their bottle in a tequila based solution.

Mike: Oh yeah.

Rick: Have you ever seen anything like that?

Mike: There are a few, as a matter of fact I just saw a video on facebook, I’m not exactly sure of the brand of the mezcal and they are showing you it’s a modern bottling facility but it only takes 3 bottles at a time which is kind of odd and they push it underneath the spouts.  The spouts flood, I mean literally wash the empty bottles before they are even filled and then they are turned over and drained like right away.  They move it over and then they are filled with the mescal.  I’m assuming it’s a similar process with the tequila but this was really a small bottling facility so I’m not sure.  I’ve never actually seen an automated bottling facility, but as far as I know, many of these bigger companies wash their bottles out this way.

Rick: This doesn’t seem to be a big distillery at all, it’s ALTOS CIENEGA UNIDOS.

Mike: You know I have my.

Rick: I think they only have 3 brands now the NOM started in June of 2010 and El Consuelo was one of the first marks listed with them but they are saying that El Consuelo was launched into 2016 but they also say that its rich in heritage but I’m not sure if they are saying that this is the process that they are using.

Mike: Yeah.

Rick: Or if this is previously brought up in Mexico and its now available in the US.

Mike: I think what happens is they’re taking some liberties with the information but, you know, the fact of the matter is they are making it in the old school way and you are right, I’m looking at the current NOM list, and from what I can see they have 4 brands that are coming out of there right now so um, that’s a good thing.

Rick: Yeah.

Mike: You know there.

Rick: My guess is that this NOM has been working with the folks behind El Consuelo the longest to make this happen but you know I’m glad they did this.  As you know, this is really what I love to see and you know I love the kind of citrus nose and feel.

Mike: I love that finish at the end too, you know it’s not all perfumes and flowers you know its once you inspect it.  You know you have had tequila and it’s not as much in your face as maybe some of the tequila’s we have had from Amatitan, but this is what its famous for.  I wouldn’t call it a typical tequila, there is not such thing to me, but if you are looking for a flavour profile that you are used to getting out of Highlands tequila then drink this one because its organic and small batch.  We were talking about the top 10 list for USA Today a little while ago.  Had we known these people had been around, they’re probably had to find right now, but maybe next time a list like that comes around, it could be available and in much larger qualities and added to that list.

Rick: Again let’s nominate them for Brand of Promise.

Mike: Nominated for Brand of Promise in the organic category, such a lovely tequila.  Congratulations to the company and everything that they are doing there.  Tequila Spirits LLC, I think is the owner of the brand and did you say that the company is going to come out with traditional spirits also?

Rick: Yeah, yeah, that because of their drive that they have for sustainability and social consciousness and the production process, they are also looking to release a rum, a vodka and a gin with that same kind of commitment.

Mike: Well there you go.

Rick: That’s great, it’s always wonderful to see people trying to do the right thing and producing something that really comes out great.

Mike: We are not sure what the price points will be or are on this tequila.  It’s a wait and see, but keep an eye out for it.  It’s called El Consuelo, I think you’re right, Brand of Promise for the Blanco.  So there you go, that’s our take on this tequila.  I’m Morales here in San Antonio.

Rick: Right, well I’m Rick Levy in San Diego.

Mike: And you’ve been watching Sipping off the Cuff on Tequila Aficionado Media, www.tequilaaficionado.com.  Please subscribe to the channel down below in the red button, you will be really, really happy and so will we.

Rick: Push red buttons.

Mike: Yeah, push that red button.  Well, as we like to say at Tequila Aficionado, “Tomar Sabiamente”.

 

Sipping off the Cuff | El Consuelo Tequila Reposado

Sipping off the Cuff | El Consuelo Tequila Anejo

Follow El Consuelo Tequila online: Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

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!

El Consuelo Anejo Tequila Review

 

 

Sipping off the Cuff | El Consuelo Tequila Anejo http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4TJEl Consuelo’s tequilas are made in small batches. The Reposado and Añejo are single-barrel aged in Cognac barrels, achieving rich amber colors and unique full-bodied flavors with hints of barrel wood alongside the delicate agave flavors. Our Reposado is aged for 6 months and our Añejo for 12 months.

FTC Disclaimer: All samples are received free of charge but no payment is accepted by Tequila Aficionado or its agents for reviews. All reviews are the opinions of those participating in the tasting and positive reviews are never guaranteed.

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!

El Consuelo Reposado Tequila Review

 

Sipping off the Cuff | El Consuelo Tequila Anejo http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4TJEl Consuelo’s tequilas are made in small batches. The Reposado and Añejo are single-barrel aged in Cognac barrels, achieving rich amber colors and unique full-bodied flavors with hints of barrel wood alongside the delicate agave flavors. Our Reposado is aged for 6 months and our Añejo for 12 months.

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: A Global History by Ian Williams

Tequila: A Global History by Ian Williams http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4juThere are few books on the subject of Tequila that are considered classics.  The Book Of Tequila by the late, great Bob Emmons, stands out as the most essential for any student of agave spirits.

I consider Emmons the first, true Tequila Journalist.  He was the first American author to demystify the much maligned Mexican tipple, and give it its rightful place among other elite sipping spirits.

Even posthumously, Emmons’ tome is so sought after that it is almost impossible to buy in paperback, let alone in hardcover.  Obtaining a used copy, in any condition, is like discovering a treasure bottle of Porfidio Barrique, and just as pricey.

Ian Williams’ Tequila:  A Global History, is not that kind of book–

But it could be.

What’s Left?

Tequila: A Global History by Ian Williams http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4ju

To say that Emmons volume was ahead of its time goes without saying.

Chock-full of such useful information as addresses of the then existing distilleries, to the history of tequila, and even drinks recipes, Emmons covered it all.

So, what’s left to report?

Everything!

The Rest of The Story

Tequila: A Global History by Ian Williams http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4ju
The late Bob Emmons.

Since the first printing of Emmons’ book in April 1997,  coinciding with the bilateral agreement between Mexico and the European Union that recognized tequila’s and mezcal’s denominations of origin a month later,  the Tequila Industry has boomed and busted at least twice, maybe even three or four times.

And Agave Spirits, in general, has zoomed to the forefront of every mixology menu riding the wave of an unprecedented global cocktail craze.

That’s where  Williams’ Tequila:  A Global History steps in.

Have A Drink!

Sadly, Emmons is no longer on this earthly plane to have a drink with and to discuss the dawning of the growth of the Tequila Industry.  Ian Williams, on the other hand, is alive and well and free for a drink!

Tequila: A Global History by Ian Williams http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4ju
Ian Williams, author of Tequila: A Global History.

We asked Ian to join us on Open Bar to discuss Tequila:  A  Global History.  You can view that episode here or read on.

A wordsmith of the most delightful kind, the affable Williams literally embodies the voice and narrative of his book.  With a sly smile and a gleam in his eye, this witty Brit kept us in stitches, sumptuously entertaining us with his tequila and mezcal travel tales.

Something For Everyone

His information isn’t just historically priceless (his interview with the controversial pariah Martin Grassl, innovator of Porfidio tequila, alone is

Tequila: A Global History by Ian Williams http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4ju
Porfidio Barrique

worth the purchase price), but also timely.

Williams deftly discusses the contentious implications of the recently tabled NOM 199 facing the Mezcal Industry and explains the true meanings of the newest designations (ancestral, traditional, artisanal, and industrial) that marketers have diluted into buzzwords to drive the craft spirits sensation.

He skillfully weaves the known Mayan, Olmec and Aztec chronology with current archaeological discoveries of Asian influenced distillation methods that stand to rewrite that history and the part played by the Spanish conquistadors.

And for Millennials seeking to educate themselves, Williams tackles sustainability issues, organic agave spirits, premiumization in the agave spirits market, and the sexiness of the agave plant itself.  Even photos and cocktail recipes are included.

Mr. Williams does all this while craftily drawing parallels and similarities from his whisk(e)y, scotch and rum experiences (see Rum:  A Social and Sociable History) as well as touching on other Mexican spirits like sotol and bacanora.

Tequila: A Global History by Ian Williams http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4ju

If Bob Emmons’ quintessential primer is considered The Greatest Tequila Story Ever Told, then Ian Williams’ Tequila:  A Global History, could be its worthy sequel in a continuing agave saga.

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!

USA Today 10 Best Current Leaderboard for Best Craft Tequila Brand

“This is your tequila bucket list.”  

~ Rick Levy of Tequila Aficionado

If you’ve seen Mike Morales’ article on the Top 20 Craft Tequilas you’ve overlooked then you’ll understand that picking one (or even 10) from this list is like picking your favorite child.  It’s too difficult to do, so your best bet is to vote twice a day for your favorites and spend the rest of your time sipping all of them.

Congratulations to all the nominees.  If Mike could pick a top 50 list, it still wouldn’t be enough.  Thank you to all the wonderful brands out there who are constantly striving to produce the finest tequilas they can.  We love you all!

USA Today 10 Best Current Leaderboard for Best Craft Tequila Brand http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4qmIn order to be called tequila, this spirit distilled from the juices blue agave must be made in specific regions of Mexico, most prominently Jalisco and the town of tequila. While no tequilas are produced in the United States, we want to find the best craft tequila brands available in the country, and to do so, we asked a pair of tequila experts to nominate their favorites. Unlike other spirits, tequila brands often share distilleries – there are about 70 of them producing more than 500 brands – so it’s often the brand rather than the distillery that indicates quality. Many of these 20 nominees for best craft tequila brand use traditional methods. Many of the brand owners grow their own agave and personally oversee the entire tequila-making process. All produce high-quality, distinctive tequilas available in the U.S. market. Vote for your favorite once per day until voting ends on Monday, September 12 at noon ET. Read the official Readers’ Choice rules here.

 

USA Today 10 Best Current Leaderboard for Best Craft Tequila Brand http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4qm

1. Embajador Tequila

 

USA Today 10 Best Current Leaderboard for Best Craft Tequila Brand http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4qm

2. Suerte Tequila

 

USA Today 10 Best Current Leaderboard for Best Craft Tequila Brand http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4qm

3. DesMaDre Tequila

 

USA Today 10 Best Current Leaderboard for Best Craft Tequila Brand http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4qm

4. Tequila Gran Dovejo

 

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5. Siete Leguas

 

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6. T1 Tequila Uno

 

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7. Tequila Tapatío

 

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8. Tequila G4

 

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9. Tequila Don Modesto

 

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10. Tequila Alquimia

 

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11. Dulce Vida Tequila

 

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12. Pasote Tequila

 

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13. Tequila Fortaleza

 

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14. Casa Noble Tequila

 

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15. Siembra Spirits

 

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16. Tears of Llorona

 

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17. Tequila Ocho

 

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18. Tequila ArteNOM

 

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19. Don Fulano

 

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20. IXÁ Organic Tequila

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The BIG Business of Kosher Tequila, Part I

[An urgent text message about Kosher tequilas from an agave beverage manager at a thriving new bar in New York City, and the resulting questions raised from research into this misunderstood market from all points–tequila and mezcal brand owners, consumers, and rabbinical representatives of the Jewish faith–prompted me to finally discuss the positive, often flawed, and vastly under served kosher tequila and mezcal segments of the market.]

A Rant on Kosher Tequila…

For years, anyone who’s ever searched for a current list of kosher tequilas has no doubt been directed to the website of the largest regional Jewish Orthodox organization in North America, the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc).

Those same persons were tragically disheartened by the woefully meager list of kosher tequilas–and these days–unmentioned mezcals.  And of the brands that were listed, more often than not, were now, sadly, extinct.

This old, outdated, and unreliable list is not only supposed to be a guide to fully enjoy and appreciate the Jewish holidays and to help “keep kosher” year round, but it also serves Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, Vegetarians, Vegans and even people who are lactose or glucose intolerant.

So…

What Exactly Is Kosher, Anyway?

kosher_def-filtered

For us gentiles (non-Jews), Kashrut is the set of Jewish religious dietary laws.  Food that may be consumed according to halakha (Jewish law) is deemed kosher meaning fit, and in this case, fit for eating or drinking.

In every case, approved products are given a hechsher, a rabbinical seal of approval, by a trusted and reputable kosher certifying agency that signifies the food or drink conforms to Jewish law.

Here’s a helpful Kosher glossary of terms.

quely-obtains-the-kosher-certificationHistorically, the practice of marking food as kashrut dates back as far as the Byzantine period (6th century CE) where Jews of a particular region in Israel stamped their bread dough with impressions of the Jewish Temple Menorah in order for consumers to verify its kashrut.

In 1911, soap manufacturer, Procter & Gamble became the first company to advertise a new product, Crisco, as kosher.  Over the next twenty years, companies with household names like Lender’s Bagels, Maxwell House, and Manischewitz grew the kosher market.  And who can forget that famous slogan for Hebrew National hotdogs?–“We answer to a Higher Authority.”

Decades later, kosher has come to symbolize both quality and value.  It has also become a very lucrative market according Menachem Lubinsky, founder of the annual two-day Kosherfest trade fair.  As of 2015, he estimates there are as many as 14 million kosher consumers that generate $40 billion in sales of kosher products in the US alone.

Other sources estimate that over $150 billion of kosher-certified products are consumed every year in the US.

Kosher Certifying Agencies

A kosher certification agency is an organization that bestows a hechsher to ingredients, packaged foods, beverages, and certain materials, as well as food-service providers and facilities in which kosher food is prepared or served.  This certification verifies that the ingredients, production methods, and/or food-service processes and utensils complies with the standards of kashrut.

To be certified requires periodic onsite visits, sometimes unannounced, by mashgichim (rabbinic field representatives) in order to verify ongoing compliance.

Today, the largest kosher certification agencies in the United States, known as the “Big Five,” certify more than 80 percent of the kosher food sold domestically.  These five agencies are: the OU, OK, Kof-K, Star-K, and cRc

most_commonK

Other respected kosher certifying agencies around the globe include:

EarthKosher based in Colorado, the logo of both the Johannesburg/Cape Town Beth Din used in South Africa, MK headquartered in Montreal, Canada, and The Kashrut Authority in Sydney, Australia.  Operating across six continents including the United Kingdom, KLBD, based in London, is the Kashrut Division of the London Beth Din.

By far, the greatest number of agencies seems to be in the USA.

Kashrus Magazine publishes a bi-annual guide to almost all kosher certifying agencies worldwide.  As with the tequila NOM lists, the number of agencies, just like the number of tequila brands and distilleries, fluctuates from year to year.  At press time, this number is between 1,151 to 1,253.

When In Mexico…

In Mexico and throughout Latin America, however, KA-Kosher  and Kosher Maguen David (KMD) rule the roost when it comes to certifying products as kosher.

KA Kosher, Kosher

As per KA-Kosher’s Facebook page:

“El sello KA KOSHER es el único en México aprobado por el Tribunal Rabínico de Israel.  Es el logo de la Comunidad Ashkenazí, el único en Latinoamérica aprobado por el Alto Tribunal Rabínico de Israel.  Bajo su sello se encuentran marcas como Nestlé, JUMEX, Del Monte, LALA y casi 500 empresas más.”

(“The KA-KOSHER seal is the only one in Mexico approved by the Rabbinical Tribunal of Israel [Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel].  It is the logo of the Ashkenazi community, the only one in Latin America approved by the High Rabbinical Tribunal of Israel [again, Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel].  Beneath its seal are such brands as Nestlé, JUMEX, Del Monte, LALA and almost 500 more companies.”)

KMD, kosher

KMD’s current website makes even bolder claims such as “Es la empresa líder en certificación kosher en Latinoamérica” (“The leading company in kosher certification in Latin America.”).

It also cites statistics that Mexico is the fourth largest kosher market behind Israel, the United States, and France, and that sales of kosher products, presumably in these countries, exceeds non-kosher sales by 20 percent.  KMD also states that 80 percent of kosher sales are to non-Jewish consumers.

KMD, stems from the Sephardic community of Jews and is known to follow the strictest codes and standards of kashrut, referred to as Mehadrin.

 Decisions, Decisions…

states, jewish

Similar to organic certifying agencies, having your tequila or mezcal brand approved as kosher requires that you hire one of these kosher certifying agencies.  Like buying a car, you don’t necessarily need to purchase one from a local dealership.

You can go anywhere in the world, but with so many certifying agencies and what seems like varying degrees of inspection, can you feel confident about purchasing their services?

Who Do You Trust?

If you’re a tequila or mezcal brand owner considering certification, we’ll offer some tips and steps you can take in Part 2.

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One With Life Blanco Tequila Review

In this episode of Sipping off the Cuff, Mike & Alex taste and discuss organic One With Life (OWL) Tequila Blanco.

owl

 

About One with Life Tequila

One with Life Tequila (OWL) is part of a philosophy aligned with living a mindful and balanced life.  Grown and produced in an organic farm and distillery system in Jalisco, Mexico, it has a smooth, crisp and earthy taste that emulates the pure agave plant.

Enjoying One with Life Tequila, in moderation, reminds us to celebrate life with family and friends and appreciate the here and now.

So relax.  Be happy.  Be present.  Listen deeply.  Speak lovingly.  Smile, breathe, go slowly. 

One With Life Tequila (OWL) embraces the philosophy of consuming products that are grown and produced by organic farming, which excludes synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, genetically modified organisms and other artificial enhancements.

OWL has a smooth, crisp and earthy taste that emulates the pure agave plant from which it was created and it’s sweet scent alludes to a touch of citrus. It is this purity that makes OWL easy to sip or blend with your favorite beverages. Whether you are new to the tequila world, an aficionado, or a connoisseur, you will thoroughly enjoy our unique tasting spirit.

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How to Get Paid to Drink Tequila:

How you can turn your passion into profits and get paid to drink tequila as a blogger, vlogger, podcaster or author

 

Salud!!