20 Reasons Why USA Today’s Craft Tequilas List Failed

Let’s Review…

In a previous post, I enumerated my reasons for  dreading my participation in USA Today’s 10 Best Craft Tequila list.

In my experience, something inevitably goes awry with these sorts of “listicles,” and it usually starts with the editor.

Contrary to the galloping propaganda disseminated by some press releases, there were no additional USA Today editors involved in accumulating the original list of twenty craft tequilas.  Only the recruited “experts” were involved.

This time around, I blame the curator of these lists whose job it is to engage USA Today’s readership, which in turn leads to its increased ad revenue.

Now that the excitement has died down, it’s time to assess the damage done by deliberately withheld facts, and to clear the air of unbridled misinformation.

The Top 20 Reasons Why USA Today’s Top 10 Craft Tequila List

Sucks

[Caution:  Rants Ahead]

20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4BW

1.  Lack of Respect.

When someone asks you to accrue a list on your area of expertise, you, as the curator, must assume that that person takes this task very seriously, especially since you’ve taken the time to background check the expert who is going to help you get PAID.

2.  Lack of Communication.

When this expert communicates questions to you via email or phone, be aware that this person expects a timely answer, especially when YOU have asked him for his list by a certain deadline.

3.  Lack of Trust.

When you deliberately avoid answering questions about who else is involved in

20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4BW

accruing a list for you, you immediately raise suspicion.

As with most “industry experts,” we tend to know one another.  In this instance, we could have worked in tandem to come up with a more complete list.

4.  Lack of Respect for Relationships.

You must also assume that the expert not only admires those items on his list, but personally knows each producer of those items and has forged lasting relationships with them over the years.

5.  More Lack of Respect for Relationships.

Because of these relationships, you must assume the expert is also highly regarded by those craft producers that he has included on his list.

6.  Lack of Understanding the Craft Segment.

By virtue of being craft distillers, you must understand that they are not made of money like the Big Boys.  These guys literally live by their shoestrings.

20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4BW

7.  Lack of Transparency.

Total and complete transparency when communicating with your experts is vital.  Explaining what opportunities and hidden fees await the winners is of utmost importance as that intelligence could alter the final list.

8.  Lack of Vergüenza (shame).

Where the HELL do you get off asking the winners for money for the licensing rights to use your seals, medals and trophies?

9.  Lack of Seriousness.

Do you realize that you are asking for similar fees by more respected and reputable spirits judging contests like the San Francisco World Spirits Competition or the SIP Awards?

20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4BW10.  Lack of Consideration.

Do you see that this lack of transparency on your part on behalf of USA Today could possibly put the expert’s friendships and reputation at risk?

11.  Lack of Realistic Expectations.

Do you really believe that these craft brands will fork over money for a meaningless popularity contest–for bragging rights?

12.  Underestimating the Brands.

How stupid do you think they (or we, the judges) are?

13.  Concealment of True Intentions.

Do you get that we understand that these contests you curate for USA Today are only to generate reader engagement which in turn determines your pricing to advertisers?

14.  Greediness.

Double dip, much?

20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4BW

15.  Conscious Collateral Damage.

Do you catch on that the winning and losing brands on this list probably now believe that the experts knew about the additional costs to the winners but chose not to divulge this information to them?

16.  Lack of Good Faith.

Most all professionally held beer, wine and spirits competitions openly inform participants of additional licensing costs to the winners.  YOU deliberately chose to keep this information from your experts.

17.  Elimination Due to Perceived Lack of Relevance.

Was it fair for you to eliminate those craft tequila brands because they had little or no social media presence?

18.  Lack of Foresight on Your Part.20 Reasons Why USA Today's Craft Tequilas List Failed http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4BW

Bet you didn’t see that one coming, huh?

19.  Naïveté On My Part.

I only reluctantly became involved to help promote these deserving craft tequila brands.

20.  Underhandedness.

Thanks for cheapening the craft tequila segment.

 

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Tequila Marketing Happy Talk

Tequila Marketing Happy Talk http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4hXSome well-meaning follower posted on our Facebook page this answer to a press release referring to Espolón tequila…

“PSA: “super premium” has no real meaning—it’s marketing happy talk.”

While we’re inclined to believe that sneaky marketers have hijacked the word premium and turned it into a buzzword, in all actuality, it is a spirits pricing term.

Let’s Review

As we pointed out in our feature, Craft Tequila:  WTF Does THAT Mean? Part 2, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), the national trade association and lobbyist representing the leading producers and marketers of distilled spirits in the United States, separates all booze into four categories–

Value, Premium, High End Premium and Super Premium.  [Note the absence of the term, Ultra Premium.]

The confusion stems from the fact that DISCUS lists the price points of each particular spirit by supplier revenue per case, not by retail price per bottle.

It is DISCUS’ industry-focused terms that are the culprit, and marketers have indelibly embedded premium into consumer’s minds like an embarrassing tattoo on a mixologist’s forearm.

Think Like a Marketer

[Warning:  You might want to shower after this segment.]

Webster’s Online Dictionary defines premium as “a price that is higher than the regular price.”

Want to think like a marketer?

Then, run premium through Webster’s Thesaurus and inhale deeply as if you’ve just stumbled upon a secret cava filled to the ceiling with barrels of resting añejos.

Revel in the treasure trove of descriptors like Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now.

via GIPHY

A Stroll Down the Tequila Aisle

Now that you’ve toweled off, take a look at DISCUS’ 2015 Industry Review Supplemental Tables, here.

Scroll to the section titled Distilled Spirits Pricing Categories and notice the names listed under Major Brands, especially those in the Tequila segment.

Bear in mind that all spirits categories are measured by how well or badly the Big Boys are performing.  Your preferred craft label may not even be mentioned.

Tequila Marketing Happy Talk http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4hXNow, pretend you’re in the Tequila Aisle of your favorite liquor store and ask yourself–

Would I buy this tequila?

Whether your answer is yes or no, determine where your preferred tequila brand is priced and pigeonholed.

Value, Premium, High End Premium and Super Premium.

Are they within a few bucks of the Usual Suspects, or are they completely out of your ballpark?

By the way, if you’re drinking at the Ultra Premium range, I have swamp land in Arizona that I’d like to unload, er, sell to you.

Falling For Marketing Happy Talk

Next, just for kicks and giggles, take a gander at DISCUS’ US Tequila Market at a Glance, here.

Look closely at the astronomical growth of the High End Premium and Super Premium divisions since 2002-2003.  This trend even has a name–

Premiumisation.  How’s that for a buzzword?

Depending on which categories your favorite tequilas land, are you Tequila Marketing Happy Talk http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4hXcomfortable paying those prices?

Put another way–

Are you happy for supporting the Big Boys all these years?

Remember, there is no shame in sipping value tequilas.  We won’t judge you.  When in doubt, turn to our Sipping Off The Cuff(c) episodes to help with your buying decisions.

Go ahead…

Reach for that box of tissues, pour yourself a craft tequila, and vow never again to fall for the marketing happy talk.

 

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Tequila Aficionado Media Announces the 2015 Brands Of Promise Award Winners!

Honors Bestowed During LIVE Blab Webcast

For Immediate Release!

PLATINUMFINAL2015March 14, 2016, San Antonio, TXTequila Aficionado Media’s Third Annual 2015 Brands Of Promise© Awards were broadcast LIVE on Blab in Tequila, Mezcal and other assorted agave-related categories. See the full list of medal recipients here.

Among the brilliant stand outs of 2015, Ambhar Tequila took the Judges’ Best-of-Show accolade scoring highly in several categories. Recent upstarts GOZA and Papa Bueno also made significant showings.  In a surprise return to the Brands Of Promise© Reposado class, Del Bravo Spirits unanimously took the Platinum award with Route 66 tequila.

Legacy brands Orendáin, Milagro, Tequila 1921, Centinela and Herradura were well represented in both the High-End and Value segments, while Dulce Vida and Suerte convincingly cornered the Extra Añejo tequila market.

In what proved to be the toughest bracket for the judges to date, Malinalli Tequila swept the Platinum trophy in the hard fought Blanco division, with Ambhar, El Mayor, and Mamalón tequilas close on its heels.

The surging Mezcal classification was dominated by the popular Gracias A Dios brand, while Montelobos and Amarás collected Golds in each of their groups.

Gold Medal Winner Lisa Elovich, brand owner of Organic Tequila One With Life, was ecstatic, saying, “Thank you so much! It is such an honor to get this award. I know this will help us with marketing and distribution.” She graciously added, “Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners! So happy to be part of it!”

In an equally gracious statement made over their Instagram account, medal recipient Papa Bueno Tequila wrote, “We are honored to have been among this impressive group of nominees! We love tequila and congratulate all the winners and thank Tequila Aficionado for the time, humor and love they bring! Definitely Bueno!”

About the Brands Of Promise Awards

All brands were judged by Founder, Alex Perez and CEO, M.A. “Mike” Morales, as well as by other Tequila Aficionado staff, on how they performed during Tequila Aficionado’s wildly popular Sipping Off The Cuff™ video series seen regularly on TequilaAficionado.com and viewable on its YouTube channel.

Unlike other spirits contests, The Brands Of Promise™ Awards does not require participating agave spirit brands to pay an entry fee.  It also does not charge winners additional hefty licensing tariffs for the rights to use the medal award graphics on their labels, neck tags, shelf talkers, brochures, point-of-sales materials and websites.

For a full list of Brands Of Promise© winners, click here.

 

 

To enter your tequila, mezcal, sotol, raicilla, bacanora or other agave spirit or related product in the coveted Brands Of Promise™ Awards, click here.

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!

Epoca Dorada Anejo Tequila Review

In this episode of Tequila Aficionado’s Sipping off the Cuff, Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Epoca Dorada Tequila Anejo.

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.  It is broadcast 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.

Hacienda San Jose de Miravalle & Epoca Dorada Tequila

epoca dorada anejoInfused with generations of family honor, EPOCA DORADA captures the “Golden Age” of Mexico.
Established in 1870, Hacienda San Jose de Miravalle distilleries produce the finest Estate grown Ultra Premium Tequila. Once reserved for Mexico’s elitist, a recipe dating back five generations is now available for the first time in the United States.
Hacienda San José de Miravalle began with a determined great-great grandmother who convinced her father to create a “vino mescal-Tequila” in small amounts. This provided Mexico’s elitists with a premium tequila savored only at special occasions. Her eldest son took over the tequila artisanal by 1907 and succeeded in expanding the San Jose. The years following the Mexican Revolution abruptly ended all production. Almost 60 years later, the Hacienda once again opened its doors, capturing its age-old traditions, using the same processes in order to recreate the same aroma and taste that once satisfied nobility over 100 years before.

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!

Epoca Dorada Reposado Tequila Review

In this episode of Tequila Aficionado’s Sipping off the Cuff, Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Epoca Dorada Tequila Reposado.

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.  It is broadcast 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.

Hacienda San Jose de Miravalle & Epoca Dorada Tequila

epoca dorada reposadoInfused with generations of family honor, EPOCA DORADA captures the “Golden Age” of Mexico.
Established in 1870, Hacienda San Jose de Miravalle distilleries produce the finest Estate grown Ultra Premium Tequila. Once reserved for Mexico’s elitist, a recipe dating back five generations is now available for the first time in the United States.
Hacienda San José de Miravalle began with a determined great-great grandmother who convinced her father to create a “vino mescal-Tequila” in small amounts. This provided Mexico’s elitists with a premium tequila savored only at special occasions. Her eldest son took over the tequila artisanal by 1907 and succeeded in expanding the San Jose. The years following the Mexican Revolution abruptly ended all production. Almost 60 years later, the Hacienda once again opened its doors, capturing its age-old traditions, using the same processes in order to recreate the same aroma and taste that once satisfied nobility over 100 years before.

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!

Epoca Dorada Blanco Tequila Review

In this episode of Tequila Aficionado’s Sipping off the Cuff, Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Epoca Dorada Tequila Blanco.

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.  It is broadcast 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.

Hacienda San Jose de Miravalle & Epoca Dorada Tequila

Infused with generations of family honor, EPOCA DORADA captures the “Golden Age” of Mexico.
Established in 1870, Hacienda San Jose de Miravalle distilleries produce the finest Estate grown Ultra Premium Tequila. Once reserved for Mexico’s elitist, a recipe dating back five generations is now available for the first time in the United States.
Hacienda San José de Miravalle began with a determined great-great grandmother who convinced her father to create a “vino mescal-Tequila” in small amounts. This provided Mexico’s elitists with a premium tequila savored only at special occasions. Her eldest son took over the tequila artisanal by 1907 and succeeded in expanding the San Jose. The years following the Mexican Revolution abruptly ended all production. Almost 60 years later, the Hacienda once again opened its doors, capturing its age-old traditions, using the same processes in order to recreate the same aroma and taste that once satisfied nobility over 100 years before.

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!

Embajador Añejo Tequila Review | Steve Coomes

Embajador, Tequila, Supreme, Anejo, Review, Steve CoomesCompared to its siblings, Embajador Supreme Añejo is a big, big brother. 

Rested for 18 months—a full 10 months longer than its Premium Reposado—Supreme is a veritable post-grad student compared to its primary school brothers.

Yet, for all that age its color is surprisingly pale gold.  Not that color determines everything, but 18 months is a loooong sleep, a rest I assumed would yield a deeper amber cast.  (As I noted in my review of the Premium Reposado, used cooperage likely is the reason for its light color.) 

But don’t despair or stop reading now, patience has its rewards. Proceed apace.

The nose produces aromas of roasted agave, cherry and even a pleasantly sour orange curacao, which I dug.  Like Thanksgiving turkey, it’s fun just to sniff before inevitably giving into tasting.

Though not overly assertive like some añejos, the flavor is delicious, offering up abundant wood notes tempered by cocoa, ash, toasted oak, caramel, floral tones and honey. 

Simultaneously sweet and vegetal upon entry, its texture becomes weighty at mid-palate and especially when moved around the mouth.  There’s briefly nougat-like density at midpalate that fades quickly to honey before skulking off to a slow and delicate finish. 

The exhale practically ignites notes of rose and lavender, providing insight into the wild yeast influencing its ferment.Embajador, Tequila, Supreme, Anejo, Review, Steve Coomes

Having now tasted its full line, it’s clear that Embajador wants its tequilas to finish fast.  Perhaps that bids drinkers back to the glass for more or leaves them searching for lingering, pleasant flavors?  I don’t know.  But none of the three offerings give much of a goodbye.

Such a rapid departure isn’t an insult, however, it’s just different. And to be fair, I’m also a bourbon drinker who loves a high-proof palate punch, which isn’t for everyone. 

As proven by the success of Avion tequilas, there’s an abundance of drinkers who enjoy light-bodied sippers, and this would certainly fit that profile.

Distiller’s note: Supreme is best enjoyed neat at 68 F.

Embajador Tequila Online

 

Tstephen coomes, steve coomes, Embajador, Tequila, Supreme, Anejo, Review, Steve Coomesequila Aficionado is proud to welcome rising star in tequila and travel journalism, Stephen Coomes, as a Contributing Writer and Reviewer.  His steady gigs include roles as contributing editor for Nation’s Restaurant News (the U.S. restaurant industry’s largest publication), restaurant critic and feature writer for Louisville magazine, feature writer for Edible Louisville and Seafood Business magazines, Kentucky travel and dining contributor for Southern Living, and dining blogger for Insider Louisville. He also writes marketing, PR, web copy and ghostwrites for numerous private clients.  You can visit Steve online atwww.stevecoomes.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!

Whispering Eye Reposado Tequila Review

whispering_eye_tequila_reposado_0772fe2ea1c8133469afb48b236f855dTequila Aficionado’s Alexander Perez and M.A. “Mike” Morales taste and discuss Whispering Eye Tequila Reposado and nominate it for the 2014 Brands of Promise Awards.

Find Whispering Eye Tequila online here.

Mexico – 100% blue agave tequila produced by gravity fed distillation and rested in white oak casks for 4 months. The palate is sweet and complex, sure to tantalize the taste buds. The finish is very smooth. Perfect for sipping or creating a class tequila cocktail. Enjoy! ~ Total Wine & More

About Whispering Eye

The blanco and reposado tequila are being marketed as an ultra-premium sipping tequila that has been harvested from blue agave plants in Arandas, Jalisco, the southwestern coastal area of Mexico.

It is being distilled and bottled by Jalisco-based Distileria Morales.

T2LJ Brands co-owners are Scott Lewis andNeal Scarborough.

Interestingly, this is Lewis’ and Scarborough’s first venture into the spirits arena.

Lewis is the president of Century 21 Pinnacle, which is one of the state’s largest real estate companies. His primary area of focus is in the oil and gas industry.

Much of Scarborough’s success has been in the marketing arena — 11 years with Shell Oil Company and the past eight years with one of the world’s largest medical device companies,Stryker Endoscopy. Scarborough also has his own sporting goods store which he operates online.

The two are joined by minority partners Lenore Kaiser, a model, and local business owner; and Scott Hammock, a country & western music artist.

Click here for more information.

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Espolon Anejo Tequila Review

Espolon Anejo – Finished in Bourbon Barrels

espolonTequila Aficionado’s Alexander Perez and Mike Morales taste and discuss the new Espolon Anejo presented by Campari and explain why they feel it deserves to be nominated as a 2014 Brand of Promise.

 

 

Find Espolon Tequila online at

www.tequilaespolon.com.

Follow them on FacebookTwitterInstagram

espolon anejo, tequila, espolon

Master Distiller Cirilo Oropeza has taken his beloved Espolòn Tequila to new heights with his latest experiment gone incredibly right — Espolòn  Añejo. To put a creative mark on the world of Añejo tequilas, award-winning Espolòn aged tequila did the unexpected — a traditional Añejo with an Espolòn twist. In using a technique pioneered by Oropeza himself, the first of its kind in Mexico, this innovative process takes white oak-aged tequila and finishes it for two to three months in heavily charred American bourbon barrels allowing the liquid to take on the complex, rich flavor for which bourbon whiskey is famous. Brought to the United States for the first time by Espolòn Tequila, Espolòn Añejo is now available to stir things up.

Master Distiller Cirilo Oropeza brings multiple decades of expertise to the craftsmanship of Espolòn, applying as much artistry to the liquid as is found on the label. The traditional Día de Los Muertos-style imagery on each bottle depicts significant moments in Mexican history and pays homage to the brave men and women who fought to establish modern day Mexico. The Espolòn Añejo bottle celebrates the Jarabe de Jalisco, now considered the national dance of Mexico, also known as Mexican Hat Dance. A liquid inspired by the risqué performance banned by 19th century Mexican authorities for being controversial, Espolòn stirs things up to create a truly revolutionary Añejo. ~ BevNet

 

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A Truckload of Agave – Agave Spirits, That Is

Agave Spirits Everywhere!

Agave piñas.
Agave piñas, agave spirits

 

 

If you’ve been following Tequila Aficionado Media closely, you may have noticed a lull in the weekly Sipping Off The Cuff ™  episodes that traditionally have aired every Friday.

As you may know, every tequila, mezcal or sotol label that submits samples for Sipping Off The Cuff ™ is automatically entered into our ground-breaking end-of-year Brands of Promise ™ awards program.

 

We’ve Got Our Work Cut Out for Us 

test pattern, agave spirits, tequilaAfter an unprecedented amount of entries to our Brands of Promise ™  awards, and the flabbergasting influx of new tequila and mezcal brands with fabulous juice in 2014 (and some unforeseen technical difficulties in our post production department that were beyond our control), Sipping Off The Cuff ™ returns with a vengeance.

 

Coming In Hot

agave spirits, tequilaStarting this week, our post production department is backing up the truck and dumping a huge load of agave onto your screens.

Until virtually the end of 2014, brand-spanking new episodes of Sipping Off The Cuff ™ will premier–

Daily!

tequila reviews, agave spiritsLook for your favorite–or start up or little known–tequila or mezcal brands to be deconstructed, dissected and discussed by our Founder, Alex Perez, and CEO Mike Morales.

Plus…

We’re planning some surprise guest hosts to star with Mike on special episodes of Sipping Off The Cuff ™ that will be taped from some of the more popular and trendy tequila bars around the country.

Sipping Off The Cuff ™–On Demand!

 

Fast and Furious, agave spiritsDon’t worry if you miss a chapter or two of these upcoming reviews with Alex and Mike.

They’ll be coming in fast and furious till the end of the year, but you can always catch up by subscribing to our YouTube channel, as well as following TequilaAficionado.com’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.

And if you haven’t done so, take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter and be assured of never missing the latest tequila scuttlebutt, event, or feature story.

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

 

 

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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!

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!!