Today, I Declare My Independence Day!

FourthJuly

This sweltering Fourth of July afternoon, I took some time away from my duties at Tequila Aficionado Media to sit outside on our modest patio to enjoy a full bodied Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970  cigar from the bundle that  my  sister had so graciously gifted me for my birthday three days before.

For those who don’t follow Tequila Aficionado (and why wouldn’t you?), you may not know that I live in San Antonio, Texas, with Lisa Pietsch, who is a dynamic writer, and also happens to be our COO.

Independence_day_movieposterLisa’s oldest son, Teddy’s, bedroom window faces the patio and I could hear him practicing the iconic speech of President Thomas J. Whitmore played by the prolific actor, Bill Pullman, from the movie, Independence Day.

We had just taken Lisa’s two boys to see the sequel to this beloved film, Independence Day:  Resurgence, at the new Santikos Casa Blanca movie complex which boasts the largest screen in Texas.  Teddy had vowed to learn the entire speech and tape it for his YouTube channel.

Care

Most often, I sit on one of our bright red Adirondack chairs to contemplate the greenery of San Antonio, and to feel gratitude while the neighbor behind us blasts banda music over his loudspeakers.

But today, as Teddy recited the speech in between the occasional bursts of early fireworks, I came to the realization that since I’d moved here three years before, Lisa and I had worked virtually non-stop to make Tequila Aficionado a force to be reckoned with in the tequila world.

In the process, and due to some contractual partnership constraints, I neglecthad neglected my other interests and passions.

Aside from tequila, these range anywhere from fitness, baseball, cigars, men’s fashion, marketing, and writing, to everyday keen and quirky observations.

Then, I heard Teddy’s voice repeat President Whitmore’s classic phrase–

IndependencePullman

“Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!”

I made the decision, right then and there, to declare my own Independence Day.  And not just to declare it, but to celebrate it, too.

Bound and Gagged

I am always in awe at Lisa’s ability to crank out blogs and articles BoundGaggedwhenever the moment inspires her.  On the other hand, I struggle and agonize over the slightest comma and spacing.

Just like the oppressive heat index of Texas, I had stifled my ability to feel joy in my own writing.  Forcing features exclusively for Tequila Aficionado had become drudgery.

I had bound and gagged my own creativity.

Opinions Are Like…

For the past three years, during the course of my daily routines, there would regularly be a news item, an email, a Facebook comment, a Tweet, something–anything–that would incite me to share my opinion in a long winded tirade to Lisa.

“Sounds like a blog post to me,” she would say, knowingly.

Without fail, my notions, perceptions, and sentiments on the subjects had nothing to do with tequila, and I just couldn’t see spending any time writing about them.  I mean–

Who would listen?

Apparently, YOU are.

So, to celebrate my newly reclaimed independence, and to revel in my newfound creative freedom…

Brace

And, you know what they say about people’s opinions, right?

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Titanium Tequila: Luxury Attained

[On April 22, 2015, Casey Hartle, CEO and Vice President of Premium Spirits visited us to share some award winning Titanium tequila, a 2014 Tequila Aficionado Brand Of Promise(TM) nominee.]

Ti

Titanium, a chemical element known for its low density and

Titanium gear.

Titanium gear.

high strength, is generally too expensive and unattainable for most consumers.

Outside of being manufactured as components in high end products like performance race cars, lightweight motorcycles and competition bicycles, about two thirds of all titanium metal produced is used in aircraft engines and frames.

Robert Tijerina, founder of Titanium.

Robert Tijerina, founder of Titanium.

So when Robert Tijerina, owner of Houston based spirits importer, Premium Spirits, and the founder of Priority 1 Aviation, a worldwide business jet aircraft sales and brokerage firm, decided on a name for his tequila, Titanium fit perfectly.

Here, Casey Hartle gives us more background on Titanium’s origin.

Ready For Take Off

Casey comes from a wine and spirits background having servedTitanium_bottle time with Republic National Distributing Company in sales, and then successfully helping another tequila brand gain a firm foothold in the tough-to-maneuver Texas market.

Hartle explains the particular challenges that exist for a start-up brand in expanding from the competitive city of Houston to Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.

Casey’s goal is to take Titanium, an up-and-coming tequila brand in Premium Spirits’ portfolio, to new heights.

Titanium cubeOld Skool Methods vs. Modern Technology

Produced at the famed Hacienda La Capilla distillery (NOM 1479), the tequila itself is the brainchild of their artistic and secretive master distiller (known only as Eduardo) who decided to perfect his own recipe after years of making tequilas for others.

Casey explains Titanium’s process that combines old skool methods and modern technology to achieve a specific flavor and aroma.

[Tweet ” @titaniumtequila: Old skool methods + modern techniques = Obtainable Luxury.”]

Tequila That Won’t Crush Your Soul

Casey imparts what he feels makes a stellar blanco tequila, and how best to enjoy Titanium other than in your favorite cocktail.

El Secreto

Next, Casey lets us in on what’s in the offing for Titanium, and the rest of Premium Spirits’ portfolio.

Where Titanium Is Jetting To Next…

Hartle reveals Titanium’s plan to invade Aspen, Colorado in June 2015’s prestigious Food & Wine Classic.

[Tweet “@titaniumtequila–Obtainable Luxury Tequila that won’t crush your soul. “]

Plans For The Future

Hartle shares his vision for Titanium in the next five years.

Casey informs where Titanium can be found in Texas.

One Thing…

Casey Hartle expresses the one thing he’d like everyone to know about Titanium tequila.

Cleared For Landing

jet_Titanium

Most commonly found in the working parts of private planes and palatial yachts, titanium has also been perceived as a symbol of luxury.

While the name fits quite well with Tijerina’s aviation background and jet-setting career, Casey Hartle advises that the luxury lifestyle can be affordably obtained simply by sipping Titanium tequila, whether at your favorite watering hole, nightclub, or with friends on a fishing boat or yacht.

yacht_Titanium

That makes Titanium tequila as versatile as its alloy namesake and luxury easily attained.

***

Feeling lucky?  Enjoy this fun video from Titanium tequila.

 

The Miracle Men Behind Milagro Tequila

[Moises (Moy) Guindi, one of the two dynamic founders of Milagro tequila, and J.P. DeLoera, Milagro’s Texas Brand Ambassador, hung around after The San Antonio Cocktail Conference held in January, 2015. Tequila Aficionado Media chased down these two gentlemen for a rare chat at the bar of the luxurious Westin Riverwalk Hotel.]

MilagroBarrels

Ambassadors For the Modern Mexico

The time was 1997, and Europe had just signed a trade MilagroAgaveagreement with Mexico.  It officially recognized such spirits as scotch and cognac, among others.  In turn, Europe acknowledged tequila and mezcal’s denominations of origin.  Even though Mexico had issued its Protection of the Appellation of Origin Tequila in the early 70’s, this agreement was the first step in tequila finally gaining the global respect it deserved.

MilagroHomeUp until then, it had been heavily marketed as a traditional spirit often depicted in rustic agricultural scenes of burros and roping charros.  But, a new millennium was near, and a bustling Mexico City was partying like it was 1999 with art, music, design and architecture.

For two young college buddies, Danny Schneeweiss and Moy Guindi, the Mexico City club scene was where tequila sorely lacked a more modern edge and feel.  It was then that they deliberately set out to propel tequila’s image into the 21st Century.

[Tweet “The Miracle Men Behind Milagro Tequila @milagrotequila”]

Making Tequila Fashionable

003In this clip, Moy recounts the journey he and Danny embarked on to chart Milagro’s agave forward flavor profile in an era where producers were masking their juice to taste like other spirits. [Tweet “Milagro Tequila – Intentionally agave forward @milagrotequila”]

 One Foot in Tradition, One Foot in The Future

Here, Moy and Milagro’s Texas Brand Ambassador, J.P. DeLoera, explain Milagro’s distillation process which combines old style methods with modern machinery to achieve and enhance its unique flavors.

[Tweet “Old style methods + modern machinery = @milagrotequila”]

Further emphasizing their respect for old world techniques, both J.P. and Moy describe how their exclusive joven tequila, Milagro Unico, is made.

Sophistication In A Glass

Milagro’s unique bottles have long been sought after by collectors.  Moy DannyUnicoblames his partner Danny, as the creative mind behind reimagining tequila’s image in clubs and bars around the world.

Milagro was designed to evolve tequila from a red headed step child to a sophisticated gentleman in a classy container.  But, the partners also wanted it to educate consumers.  They added a stylized agave inside each hand blown bottle of their Select Barrel Reserve expressions to illustrate tequila’s true bloodline. [Tweet “@milagrotequila ‘a sophisticated gentleman in a classy container’ “]

What’s In A Name?

Moy recalls the hilarious story of how Milagro got its name.

[Tweet “A miracle? Do you know how @milagrotequila got its name?”]

How To Sip Milagro

J.P and Moy define the differences between Milagro’s core line and the Select Barrel Reserve.

All This and Kosher, Too?

Thinking ahead, the co-founders of Milagro decided to make their tequila kosher, one of the few brands at the time to do so.  Their reasoning was more personal than you might think.

[Tweet “A tequila to celebrate Passover – @MilagroTequila is kosher “]

Where Are They Now?

MilagroBoxIn 2004, Moy and Danny entered into a partnership agreement with family owned super-premium spirits distiller, William Grant & Sons.  The UK based company eventually acquired a 100% stake in Milagro in 2006.  This allowed Milagro to reach nationwide distribution in the U.S. and in key global tequila markets.

Not ones to rest on their success, both Moy and Danny retained certain rights and still have responsibilities to the brand as Moy clarifies here…

Almost 20

After almost 20 years in existence, J.P. describes his strategies to Milagro’s current challenges in the marketplace.

Having birthed Milagro in the midst of the Agave Crisis of the late 90s that almost bankrupted them, Moy learned the hard lessons of staying ahead of the agave pricing curve.

What About China?

Unlike the major spirits brands who consider exporting into China as the next gold rush, Moy believes that a conservative “wait-and-see” approach is best for Milagro.

La Leyenda del Milagro

Both J.P and Moy share their views on the one thing that you should know about Milagro.

Looking Ahead

Demonstrating that they haven’t lost their entrepreneurial drive which spearheaded Milagro into tequila’s New Age and made them one of the top three most influential start ups in Mexico, Moy and Danny are currently involved in a partnership with Montelobos mezcal. [Tweet “@MilagroTequila: 1 of the top 3 most influential start ups in Mexico”] Whatever tequila’s future holds for the next twenty years, it’s a sure bet that Moy and Danny will be at the forefront pushing it, and Milagro, to further heights.

Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine is Back in Texas

A Triumphant Return to Tejas

On this soggy and swampy St. Patrick’s Day, I was graciously invited to spend the afternoon at Sam’s Burger Joint by Mexican Moonshine creator and indie music rock star,  Roger Clyne.  He had arrived in Texas for a busy week of concerts at the famed music, media, film conference and festival, South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin.SamsPatio

With additional gigs in San Antonio and New Braunfels, this night he was slated to perform an acoustic set at Sam’s Music Hall with his Arizona Peacemaker compadre, Jim Dalton.  The rest of the band would catch up later as they traveled by bus.

Over a burger and a cerveza (and a few selfies), Roger and I caught up on current events.

[Tweet “Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine Tequila @mexmoonshine is now available in Texas!”]

When We Last Left Our Hero…

Simultaneous selfies.

Simultaneous selfies.

When we last saw Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers in 2013 and sipped and talked tequila on his tour bus, his then Texas spirits distributer had suddenly and unceremoniously dumped Mexican Moonshine tequila, despite its growing sales and Roger’s staunch Texas fan base.

Undaunted, he continued to seek more adequate representation for Mexican Moonshine in what is arguably one of the biggest tequila-consuming states in the Southwest.

This time around, Clyne elected to join forces with a much

Clyne's new guitar.

Clyne’s new guitar.

smaller, boutique distributer.  However, he is keenly aware that such a decision can be a double-edged sword in the spirits business.

As many brands of promise often do, they lean towards employing these specialty distributors in hopes of gaining more attention for their label than they would from large, impersonal corporations who are only interested in mass volume case movements and “what’s on spiff?” items.

Staff trainings on Mexican Moonshine’s finer points is key to seeing bottles moving off of the shelves and into customer’s hands and into local bars and restaurants.  A challenge he is certainly up for since he continues to conduct pre-show tastings of Mexican Moonshine to fans at selected clubs and concert halls.

[Tweet “Look for Roger Clyne’s pre-show tastings of @mexmoonshine at select concert halls”]

Coming Back With a Vengance

RogerJimLuckily, the timing of Mexican Moonshine’s relaunch into the Texas market coincided with the Peacemakers’ assault on Austin during SXSW.

Clyne admitted that he has no delusions of becoming the next Margaritaville or Cabo Wabo, or any of the other celebrity-owned tequilas.  Like his music, Roger’s aspirations for Mexican Moonshine are much more independent.

“I want to be a Southwest brand of tequila,” he confessed.  “I have no dreams of entering large competitive markets where Mexican Moonshine will disappear in a sea of brands.”

Due to the heavy Mexican cultural influence of his rugged

Mexican Moonshine table tents

Mexican Moonshine table tents

Arizona upbringing, Clyne has not ruled out venturing into the world of other agave spirits in the future.

“But,” he adds cautiously with a sly smile, “let’s get some traction back in Texas, first.”

Guess Roger and I will have to talk about those distant opportunities next time over some street tacos and Mexican Moonshine.

[Tweet “Roger Clyne, @azpeacemakers, & @mexmoonshine, independent ’till the end!”]

ClyneCerveza

 ***

Enjoy the following snippet of Roger Clyne and Jim Dalton as they perform Marie during a sound check at Sam’s Burger Joint.

How Your Favorite Periodicals Perpetuate Tequila Myths

[Tweet “Editors of major men’s magazines still insist that their audience only shoots tequila.”]

One Day, At Band Camp…

Recently, myself, and a few select others in this tightly knit tequila community, were asked to be interviewed for quotes concerning “surprising things you can do with tequila” for the May issue of a major, worldwide men’s magazine.

In the US, this would be just in time for Cinco de Mayo, and the predictable onslaught of articles riddled with comical inaccuracies and beginning with hackneyed clichés like…

“Remember when you were in (grade school, high school, college)…?”  Or…

“Celebrating Mexican Independence Day…”  Or…

“I can’t stand the smell of tequila to this day because one time….”  And, my very favorite–

“…tequila, made from the agave cactus….”

The author of this upcoming article told me that his magazine’s circulation encompassed a wide age demographic that included

One day, at band camp...

One day, at band camp…

males from their mid-twenties to early sixties.  In other words, from Millennials to Baby Boomers.

He further confidently informed me that his readership “has no idea about tequila outside of Cuervo Gold.”

At least, that’s what his boss–the editor!–told him to assume was his audience.

I was both disheartened and dismayed.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

According to this magazine’s website…

“[It] is the world’s largest and best-selling men’s magazine with 47 editions in 61 countries and a global readership of more than +35 million.  In the U.S., [its] circulation exceeds 1.8 million, and it has been named a Capell’s Circulation Report top-ten performer every year for the past decade.”

This magazine also gives complete breakdowns of their demographics including education and income, and how they compare to other men’s magazines.

It is, by far, the leader.  Further, its mission statement is…

50 Shades of Grey, er, gray.

50 Shades of Grey, er, gray.

“It’s the brand for active, professional men who want greater control over their physical, mental and emotional lives.  We give men the tools they need to make their lives better through in-depth reporting, covering everything from fashion and grooming to health and nutrition as well as cutting edge gear, the latest entertainment, timely features and more.”

Lastly, it claims to be…

“#1 source of information for and about men.” 

Underestimating Your Audience

*Rant Alert!*

So–

What does it say about editors of major men’s magazines who still insist that their audience only shoots tequila and chugs suds when their own stats tell a different story?

Major men’s magazines who service this demographic continue to dumb down significant advancements in the spirits industry, as well as perpetuate tequila myths to keep their readers in the dark.

[Tweet “Major magazines continue to dumb down significant advancements in the spirits industry.”]

Tequila hasn’t just “come of age.”  It’s been coming “of age” for

Remember when luxury meant subtle?

Remember when luxury meant subtle?

the past twenty years like the most recent Paleo diet or ab workout.  Cutting edge technology doesn’t only occur in the latest sports car or luxury wristwatch.

Here’s a newsflash for you, Perry White–

The issues facing the Tequila Industry at this point in time are much more critical than “surprising things you can do with tequila.”

[Tweet “Issues facing the Tequila Industry are more critical than surprising things you can do w/tequila.”]

When you construct 9 pages on your website to convince potential advertisers that your audience is wealthy and educated, act like it.

Give them timely information with substance–

 For Instance…

This article in the Times-Picayune is a prime example of a journalist who refuses to underestimate her newspaper’s audience while adding value to their lives.

It’s no secret these days that the craft beer and distilling industries are taking a bite out of the huge market share that beer and spirits multinational corporations have dominated for decades.

In case you missed it, Tequila Aficionado Media tackled this issue at length in Craft Tequila–WTF Does That Mean? Part 1 and Part 2.  In Part 2, we made suggestions on how you can distinguish a craft tequila from all the others (the Craft Tequila Gauntlet).

These behemoth conglomerates continue to fight back, either by swallowing up smaller brewers or distillers, or, as in Budweiser’s case, by turning up its nose at the whole craft concept, illustrated in this now infamous Super Bowl XLIX TV spot.

 Consumers Care

Whether it’s a by product of self-education and exploration, or the education being received from the craft spirits sector of the market, the average consumer is becoming more aware of what they’re imbibing and demanding quality and transparency from the industry.

[Tweet “Consumers are more aware and demand quality and transparency from liquor brands.”]

So much so, that some consumer groups have taken it upon themselves to sue spirits makers like Austin, Texas’ Tito’s Vodka, and most recently, Jim Beam bourbon, for false claims that they are handcrafted.

Handmade?

Handmade?

While Simon Ford, one of the erudite founders of The 86 Company, makers of Tequila Cabeza, agreed in this interview, that such lawsuits are frivolous, he does admit that small companies like his owes it to the consumer “to explain the ins and outs of how it’s made and why it’s a worthy spirit.”

Therein lies the rub.

The Truth and Nothing But The Truth

It behooves all small craft brands to continue educating their customers every chance they get, whether in person, through word-of-mouth, in point-of-sale materials (POS), or through social media channels.  And…

It is vitally important do so in print periodicals.

Conversely, it is the responsibility of the journalist, blogger, writer, copy editor or author of the article to report the information accurately–no matter what your boss says.

Think we’re being too difficult in demanding that we be quoted truthfully?  That we’re acting like prima donnas because we refuse to pair down our quote to fit your word count?  That we’re making a big deal out of a little white tequila lie?

Read this horrendous tequila blog posted on Liquor Online from August 2014, and then, get back to me.

If The Explosion Doesn’t Kill You, the Fallout Will

This piece of rubbish garnered such responses from readers like…

“What a disservice to someone that wants to learn / understand!”

And, this one…

Don't be THIS writer.

Don’t be THIS writer.

Lifestyle and Spirits Writers–

Let Me Let You In On a Little Secret…

It isn’t that we in this tequila community aren’t grateful for the opportunity to voice our opinions and impart our knowledge of our beloved spirit to your subscribers.  On the contrary–we are fully aware of the enormous goodwill that that kind of street cred can generate for us.

But you must understand and respect that it is our reputations, images, and brands that are also on the line.  Not to mention our character and integrity.

Remember–

You asked for our expertise to up your street cred, too!

Those of us throughout the tequila community take very seriously what we preach.  Whether we’re in the liquor store

Does your magazine add value to your lifestyle?

Does your magazine add value to your lifestyle?

aisles or quoted in the pages of a magazine or newspaper, we believe that at every moment we are adding value to someone’s life and lifestyle.

Don’t Be That Magazine

Like it says on Tequila Aficionado Media’s website and all of its social media, it is…

“The most comprehensive and informative source for Tequila, Mezcal and Sotol on the Internet or in print today.”

We don’t pretend to be anything else.  Your favorite magazine shouldn’t either.

Ambhar Tequila–The Recalibrating of A Brand

[Between seminars during the Fourth Annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference, Tequila Aficionado Media was invited to the Ambhar Tequila Relaxation Lounge inside the historic Sheraton Gunter Hotel where we finally sampled each expression of this elusive brand with a jaded past.

The following day, we caught up with the new Ambhar CEO, Jaime Celorio, at the acclaimed Bohanan’s Restaurant while the staff prepared for the busy dinner shift.]

The Deceptive Dragonfly

In the spirits realm, and in particular, the tequila segment, brands come and go for a variety of reasons–

Either the juice is not up to par,  or the ineptitude of the brand owners or importers causes a rift between them, or the marketing is all wrong.  You name it, it happens.

Every once in a while, a brand gets lucky and all the elements click and a star is born.

Partida’s Gary Shansby, a self-proclaimed student of one of Patrón‘s founders, Martin Crowley, once declared that a tequila brand needed three things to be successful–

Good juice, a pretty bottle, and a symbol with a story.

Ambhar appeared to have all three.

On the other hand, a tequila label could experience the worst

Ambhar Goddess review.

Ambhar Goddess review.

case scenario, but for some reason, it just doesn’t go away.

The latter may be the perfect example of what happened to Ambhar tequila.

All That Glitters…

Launched in 2009, Ambhar was originally based in Austin, Texas, but made its big splash on the Las Vegas Strip.

Ambhar Lounge logo.

Ambhar Lounge logo.

Owing to key friendships among the principals, Ambhar became a part of the Tropicana Hotel’s facelift in 2010 and established the Ambhar Lounge.

More key relationships allowed the brand to have a very visible presence, especially among the MGM properties.  Ambhar soon became Las Vegas’ go-to tequila for many events including several outdoor pool parties during the warmer months.

Then, things began to unravel.

After unbridled spending, Ambhar accrued a rumored debt of up to $2 million.  Another round of funding gave it a much needed infusion of $2.7 million from investors in 2011, but still, rumblings of unpaid bills and payrolls persisted.

Ambhar banner.

Ambhar banner.

To make matters worse, a series of ho-hum reviews, including this scathing blog by the OC Weekly, made Ambhar the butt of jokes among the tequila cognoscente who took particular issue with the label’s claims of being distilled five times.

It seemed that the powers behind Ambhar at that time had been blinded by the glitz and glam of Las Vegas, and paid a hefty price.

Saving A Broken Brand

Coming from a solid financial background, Jaime Celerio, CEO of the newly formed Ambhar Global Spirits, LLC., explains what attracted him to purchase the troubled label in 2013.

Challenges

Here, Jaime explains the dilemmas of taking over a broken brand and what is being done now to revive it.

Further, he illustrates the problems in dealing with the Nevada market, and which states Ambhar will target, instead.

[Tweet “@AmbharTequila–Same old friend, whole new character.”] 

Retooling

Ambhar Texas having fun at #SACC2015.

Ambhar Texas having fun at #SACC2015.

Overhauling the former sales and marketing division, Jaime Celorio has surrounded himself with both a young, enthusiastic crew along with some premier seasoned veterans to reestablish a foothold in Ambhar’s home state of Texas.

Damage control, and distancing itself from the past, also requires making some improvements to the packaging.

No tinkering will be done to the substantial and elegant bottle, but the corks will be changed from real to synthetic, and the stoppers, as well as the wearable dragonfly charm around the bottlenecks, will be made of a much lighter alloy.

To continue to win back customer loyalty and regain goodwill,

Ambhar barrel.

Ambhar barrel.

Celorio insists on concentrating on Ambhar’s strong points by demanding complete honesty and transparency on the website, subsequent point of sales (POS) materials, and from his sales team.

The More Things Change

When we met with the Ambhar Texas unit, they admitted that Jaime Celorio felt the brand itself would not have survived its tumultuous circumstances had the juice not been favorable in the first place.

Celorio next discloses the reason why Ambhar’s flavor profile, especially that of its añejo, remains intact even though it’s more labor intensive than the reposado expression.

Future Focus

In this snippet, Celorio recounts the improvements since rebooting the brand, and its focus for the future which includes sales in Mexico and exporting to China.

Here, Celorio discusses the focus on the dragonfly logo and what it means in China.

Cinco Vodka logo.

Cinco Vodka logo.

It’s Not All About Tequila

Like a good portfolio manager, Jaime Celorio has diversified by establishing a sister company to compete in the vodka sector of the spirits market.

The Texas Vodka Trail

In this clip, Celorio reveals plans for Cinco Vodka’s distillery based in San Antonio, Texas.

Cinco Vodka–Imported All the Way From Texas

Jaime further reviews plans for the Texas Vodka Trail Tour and its similarities to tequila distillery tours in Mexico in aiding to educate consumers.

In this portion, Celorio considers how competitive the vodka market is in Mexico, and where you can find Cinco Vodka.

So…Why Tequila?

Jaime Celorio, gives his explanation as to why he chose to sell tequila in the first place.

Same Old Friend, Whole New Character

Described as his “elevator pitch,” Jaime Celorio, gives us the one thing he wants people to know about Ambhar, and shares his vision for its future.

Whether in the US, Mexico, or even China, look for the recalibrated Ambhar tequila to continue to make splashes, but in a much more precise, targeted and cost effective way.

San Antonio Cocktail Conference Media Party

Media party invite.

Media party invite.

[The fourth annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference was held from January 15 to January 18, 2015 here in San Antonio, Texas.  Tequila Aficionado Media attended with particular interest in all events surrounding agave spirits.]

Wednesday Night Media Party #SACC2015

As most of San Antonio’s cocktail culture creatures were safely at home in their jammies on the eve of the opening of the Fourth Annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference, every foodie, cocktail and spirits blogger, writer, photographer or pretender from all major cities in Texas, hobnobbed, photographed hors d’oeuvres for future food porn, and took selfies while collecting their official press credentials and tickets for their requested seminars from the organizers’ public relations company.

The St. Anthony Hotel, considered the Grand Dame of hotels in

Ornate brass ram.

Ornate brass ram.

downtown San Antonio, was the site of this evening’s sedate affair for the thin press corps.

The Venue

Having hosted such dignitaries as Eleanor Roosevelt and Princess Grace of Monaco during its illustrious history, this early 20th century monumental inn was San Antonio’s first luxury hotel.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its importance to this city’s nightlife can’t be denied.

Eagle above doorway.

Eagle above doorway.

With a recent renovation under its belt, the lobby’s grandeur alone was impressive.  The St. Anthony’s timeless elegance would also be the site of the Waldorf on the Prairie soiree later that week.

Edwardian-era furnishings, high ceilings and crystal chandeliers made most of us feel underdressed, and the DJ spinning hip hop for the millennials in the group, seemed anachronistic.

After a greasy and unappetizing crab cake morsel, it was time to

Griffin.

Griffin.

hit the bar.

The Roca Patrón Roadshow Rides Again

The Roca Patrón roadshow finally hit San Antonio, and the response was unimpressive and underwhelming.

In sharp contrast to the all-out event that Tequila Aficionado Media attended in Austin, Texas at the Brazos Hall in late summer 2014, the San Antonio media’s introduction to Roca Patrón and Patrón’s other lines, was hardly noticed.

No Snifters.

No Snifters.

And, even though this was a major cocktail conference, only a small crew of four bartenders took orders from a prepared menu of Patrón signature drinks that included a build-your-own Old Fashioned using each of Roca Patrón’s expressions.  It left no room for imagination, and a lot to be desired.  But, hey, it was an open bar.

We preferred to sip the Roca Patrón reposado neat since we had determined it to be the star of the line up.  Our bartender that evening agreed, but, sadly, only rocks glasses were available to sip from.

In the end, the juice’s nose and flavor unceremoniously dissipated into the hip hop’s baseline.

Not the average photo booth.

Not the average photo booth.

Ready to call it an uninspired night with no reason to linger, we were again distracted by Patrón.

…But First, A Selfie

With an unusual take on the traditional photo booth, Patrón hired a photographer who encouraged willing souls to pose for black and white photos with, or without, their Patrón signature cocktails in hand.

A separate printer would instantly spit out the Patrón branded selfies where another assistant would graciously frame them for you.  You could even text the photos to your own cell phone.

Lisa and Mike representing Tequila Aficionado Media.

Lisa and Mike representing Tequila Aficionado Media.

Never missing a chance to educate their audience on its products (and to mine more followers on all its social media platforms) the back of the frames shared Patrón production factoids (“Did you know the high quality agave used to produce Patrón is slow baked in small brick ovens for 79 hours?”) while the inside flap invited us to share our photos on their social media accounts with specific hashtags.

Well played, Patrón, well played.