Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pSI’ve finally gotten around to binge watching Mad Men on Netflix.

In case you haven’t joined the Streaming Generation, or lived without cable TV for awhile, Mad Men is a series set in the 1960’s about a fictional ad agency called Sterling Cooper based in New York City’s famed Madison Avenue.

[Editor’s note: I still can’t believe I was born during the Eisenhower administration!]

Tequila marketing being my thing, naturally, I’m drawn to the product placement of distilled spirits on the historically accurate show.

Along with adverts concocted by admen for cigarettes, bras, and washing

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pS
Vintage Cuervo ad

machine manufacturers, spirits companies like Seagram’s, Jack Daniels, and Jose Cuervo were also a part of the advertising renaissance, and not just on American soil.  These early Behemoths of Booze also took the fight offshore.

And nobody can tell you more about those challenges better than José Zevada.

The Mad Man of The Caribbean

Jose “Pepe” Zevada and the story of the Z Tequila Brand from Z Tequila on Vimeo.

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pS
Iron Cactus menu.

I finally met the charismatic Pepe Zevada, the maker of Pepe Z Tequila, accompanied by Glynn Bloomquist, (CEO and Chairman), and Guy England (South Texas Market Manager), of Empresario LLC, the first Texas company to create, brand, distill, import, and market spirits.

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pS
Fernando Lamas

With the elegance and charm suggestive of silver screen Latino Hollywood hunks like Ricardo Montalbán or Fernando Lamas, and peppered with jokes and anecdotes of the “glory days,” you get the sense that you’re reliving spirits industry history, Mad Men style.

Over a delicious lunch at the Iron Cactus Mexican Grill & Margarita Bar on San Antonio’s renowned Riverwalk, Pepe regaled us with episodes of his life as the vice president of Brown-Forman in Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean.  During that time, he traveled to 106 countries (Pepe speaks 5 or 6 languages fluently) introducing Jack Daniels to those parts of the world.

After 30 years with Brown-Forman, he went on to work as vice president for the classic spirits distiller Hiram Walker (Sauza, Kahlúa, Courvasier, Beefeater), until the merger of Allied Domecq.

To Make a Long Story Short

After persistent encouragement from friends in Mexico, Pepe Z Tequila was Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pSborn shortly after José retired from 35 years in the liquor industry.

But, in the tradition of the three generations of Sauzas, Don Julio González, José Cuervo and Don Eduardo Orendáin, Pepe was determined to only put his name on a quality tequila.

To create a batch of Pepe Z takes over three weeks.  He calls the blanco tequila the “mother” of the line, and claims that the selected agave is the key to a sterling product.

Pepe Z Tequila uses only lightly toasted virgin American Oak barrels (not charred) for its reposado and añejo expressions, and it is one of the lowest in methanol after distillation.

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pS
Pepe, Guy and Glynn of Empresario.

These time tested techniques have not only achieved an authentic, “old world” flavor profile, but it has also garnered Pepe Z some serious hardware in the form of medals and awards.

 Flavor, Friendship and Family

Raised in Mexico of Spanish parents, José (Pepe is a common nickname for Josés) was brought up with strict moral values that have guided him throughout his life.

In his words, “I don’t do business without being friends, first.”  He asserts, “The liquor business is a people business, not a laptop business.”

In the era dominated by contracted brands with glamorous images and no backstory, Zevada prefers to take a page from those legendary patriarchs of tequila and make every effort to meet and greet each of his customers, personally.

Pepe Z: The Mad Man of Tequila http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4pS
Pepe Zevada and Mike Morales.

Part of the brand’s strategy is to nurture its relationship with its hometown of Austin, and then to solidify its embrace on the rest of Texas before conquering other states.  This tactic has worked wonders as evidenced by the glowing testimonials given by his customers.

While his clients enthusiastically preserve their friendship with Pepe, Zevada gratefully acknowledges that, “My customers are part of the Z family.”

And, in a time where spirits are judged on perceived value, Pepe demands that his tequilas remain affordable, believing that luxury shouldn’t be so hard to come by.

Distinguished flavor, devoted friendship and defined family values is the method to Pepe Zevada’s effective–and infectious–“madness.”

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!

Pepe Zevada Anejo Z Tequila Review

Mike & Alex taste and discuss Pepe Zevada “Z” Tequila Anejo

The Z stands for Pepe Zevada

After 35 years travelling the world as an executive in the spirits industry, Pepe Zevada retired to Austin, Texas. However, it did not take him long to get back in the game and he quickly launched Z Tequila. His Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo tequilas have received awards and critical acclaim and are well-loved throughout Texas. Z Tequila’s value is as remarkable as its quality, because Pepe believes luxury shouldn’t be so hard to come by.

He stands for quality

Pepe Zevada Z Tequila is based in Austin, Texas and produced in the Highlands of Jalisco, where tequila originated. It is made with 100% Natural Highland Agave which is cooked in ecologically designed vertical pressure cookers that utilize gravity to extract only the aguamiel, the sweet honey of the agave. The left over parts of the agave are dried and used as fuel to heat the ovens and copper stills used to create Z Tequila. Pepe’s Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo tequilas are aged in lightly charred American Oak barrels. Pepe Zevada Z Tequila is 80 proof.

Find Pepe Z online here.

Sipping Off The Cuff | Pepe Zevada "Z" Tequila Blanco http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4lZ

Sipping Off The Cuff

Sipping Off The Cuff™ began as an audio podcast in 2006 and is Tequila Aficionado’s first and longest running tequila review program.

Sipping Off The Cuff(TM) is broadcast every Friday (and occasionally Tuesdays) on YouTube and TequilaAficionado.com. If you are a Tequila, Mezcal or Sotol brand owner and would like your product(s) reviewed on an upcoming episode of Sipping Off The Cuff(TM), please contact Mike@TequilaAficionado.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!

Pepe Zevada Blanco Z Tequila Review

 Mike & Alex taste and discuss Pepe Z Tequila Blanco

The Z stands for Pepe Zevada

After 35 years travelling the world as an executive in the spirits industry, Pepe Zevada retired to Austin, Texas. However, it did not take him long to get back in the game and he quickly launched Z Tequila. His Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo tequilas have received awards and critical acclaim and are well-loved throughout Texas. Z Tequila’s value is as remarkable as its quality, because Pepe believes luxury shouldn’t be so hard to come by.

He stands for quality

Pepe Zevada Z Tequila is based in Austin, Texas and produced in the Highlands of Jalisco, where tequila originated. It is made with 100% Natural Highland Agave which is cooked in ecologically designed vertical pressure cookers that utilize gravity to extract only the aguamiel, the sweet honey of the agave. The left over parts of the agave are dried and used as fuel to heat the ovens and copper stills used to create Z Tequila. Pepe’s Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo tequilas are aged in lightly charred American Oak barrels. Pepe Zevada Z Tequila is 80 proof.

Find Pepe Z online here.

Sipping Off The Cuff | Pepe Zevada "Z" Tequila Blanco http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4lZ

Sipping Off The Cuff

Sipping Off The Cuff™ began as an audio podcast in 2006 and is Tequila Aficionado’s first and longest running tequila review program.

Sipping Off The Cuff(TM) is broadcast every Friday (and occasionally Tuesdays) on YouTube and TequilaAficionado.com. If you are a Tequila, Mezcal or Sotol brand owner and would like your product(s) reviewed on an upcoming episode of Sipping Off The Cuff(TM), please contact Mike@TequilaAficionado.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!

Tequila Adventures at The Texas Restaurant Association Market Place

[On June 28 and 29, 2015, San Antonio-based Tequila Aficionado Media was invited to participate with Embajador Tequila at the Texas Restaurant Association Market Place in Dallas.]

Texas Restaurant Association Market Place

When the call came from Andres Garcia, Embajador Tequila’s sales manager, to accompany him to the state’s largest tradeshow at the Texas Restaurant Association in Dallas, we jumped at the chance for another road trip.

The Texas Restaurant Association serves, educates and supports the restaurant 0628150946bindustry in Texas.  Alternating trade shows between Houston and Dallas, this year’s event was held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center next to the luxurious Omni Hotel in the heart of downtown Dallas.

Embajador would be participating in conjunction with ProMexico, a government entity that promotes Mexican companies in order to contribute to its economic and social development and strengthens the country’s image as a strategic global business partner.

Witness the brief ribbon cutting ceremony of the ProMexico section of the Texas Restaurant Association Market Place on June 28, 2015 in Dallas.

Big D

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Aside from classic travel slogans (“We do things bigger in Texas,” and “It’s like a whole other country”), my only exposure to the city of Dallas was like everybody else’s who didn’t hail from Texas–the beloved Dallas TV show.

0629150925a~2Overlooking the sweeping downtown skyline from the window of our room on the 19th floor of the Omni Hotel, you could almost hear the show’s theme song.  The Ewing saga kept us glued to the set every Friday night.

The bigness of the city was certainly reflected in the size and scope of the Texas Restaurant Association Market Place.

 The Highlights

Inside the section reserved for venders involved with ProMexico, Embajador was awarded a commanding corner booth that Andres decorated with bottles of his tequila.

Resembling a duty free perfume counter at an international airport, Embajador wowed fellow venders and attendees for the two straight days of the Market Place.

Above, Andres Garcia samples Embajador Tequila to attendees at the Texas Restaurant Association Market Place.

Hectic as most popular trade shows are, we did manage to check out a few of the 0629151507dozens of participating businesses and products.  Among other venders at the Market Place were…

Texas Specialty Beverage–carrying an array of products like Tropics Natural Infusions, a 100% natural fruit infusions with a slew of tempting flavors as wild as 4 Berry and Ice Cream.  Catering to specialty foodservice for premium cocktails and smoothies, as well as culinary and savory applications, they even concocted a signature margarita using Embajador reposado.

Zodiac Vodka–an American-made craft potato vodka. Produced from farm to bottle using 100% locally sourced ingredients, based in Idaho (of course!).

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New Mexico Green Chile Company–a family owned company of brokers and distributors of the state’s prime crop (and a personal favorite of mine!), Hatch green chile, direct to distributors and restaurants throughout Texas.

Every product or service one could think of, from coffee service to professional barbecue grills, was featured in the Market Place.  Similar to the Sabor Latino Food Show that we had attended in California earlier this spring, the organizers also provided a separate location for all Texas-based spirits that participated in the event.

0629151104aIt was no surprise to run into Empresario, a merged entity made up of Austin-based liquor companies who aim to give global distillers like Brown-Forman a run for their money.  Among the partners are Pepe Z and Republic tequilas.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way Home 

Rather than make the long drive home from Dallas to San Antonio in rush hour traffic, Andres Garcia and I decided to visit one of the city’s favorite places for tacos and tequila–Tacos And Tequila!

Earlier in the day, several members of the chain’s management and 0629151912ownership had stopped by Embajador’s booth seeking new tequilas and mezcals to add to their already extensive selection.  We decided to return the favor and visit the Routh Street location for dinner.

Tableside Guacamole

Emphasizing fresh ingredients in all their menu items at Tacos And Tequila, we were treated to tableside guacamole.

Freshness Philosophy

Manager Zak Baron explains the chain’s freshness philosophy.

What’s Up With the Rebar?

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Tacos and Tequila has a unique way of expanding their bar and displaying even more agave spirits.  Zak explains…

The Secret to A Successful Menu

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Pinning down the secret to Tacos and Tequilas’ agave forward menu.

One Thing

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Zak and bartender Nadine reveal the one thing you should know about Tacos and Tequila.

 Into The Sunset

All in all, a more than worthy trade show in the Texas Restaurant Association Market Place, topped off with a memorable celebratory dinner at Tacos And Tequila–

Dallas really does do things bigger and better!

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

 

Salud!!