In terms of raw dollars, the news is
even better. Counting supplier gross rev-
enues, tequila brings in the fifth highest
revenue of all spirit categories—more than
all Scotch whisky, in fact, more than Cana-
dian and brandy/Cognac and more than
twice what gin rings up.
“From a pricing perspective, we’re
seeing the premium and super-premium
categories
growing,”
says
Vanessa
Jenkins, senior director of tequilas for
Beam. “There are an increasing number
of savvy consumers expressing interest
in 100% agave tequilas. In fact, about
50 percent of our net sales are from our
100% agave products and that number
is growing.”
This growth stems from a number of
trends, mainly the increasing number
of 100% agave tequilas in the market, a
good selection of which are now essential
at any restaurant where quality drinks are
served, and these brands continue to grab
consumer interest and market share. New,
well-funded tequilas keep emerging while
the cost of production stays relatively low
due to a glut of agaves.
Consciously
Crafted
Meanwhile, brands have been pushing
the limits of what they can do under the
rules set by the council that regulates te-
quila and mezcal production, especially
in employing different oak regimens and
introducing modern methods to craft
higher-end expressions.
Don Julio 70 Añejo Claro is a good
example: a fully aged añejo tequila, the
spirit is then filtered until as clear as a
blanco. Similarly, Maestro Dobel results
from a proprietary blending and filtration
technique using an array of differently aged
tequilas: reposado, añejo and extra-añejo are
blended and then filtered until “diamond”
clear, as the supplier likes to say. Tequila
1800 in 2011 introduced 1800 Silver Select,
which producers claim was the only 100
proof silver tequila in the market at the time,
though others above 80 proof have joined
the market.
Tanteo continues to develop the pos-
sibilities of flavored tequila with its line
of pineapple, cocoa and tropical (mango,
guanabana, pineapple and jalapeño). So,
too, does Agave Loco, one of the more suc-
cessful pepper-flavored tequilas, made with
añejo and reposado spirits.
Luxury brands like these go a long way
to extend the styles and price points in the
tequila world. So, too, Excellia, a 100%
agave tequila that rests a few weeks in
Grand Cru Sauternes wine casks and Co-
gnac barrels as a blanco, nine months for
the reposado and 18 months for the añejo,
the result of a partnership between Jean-
Sébastien Robicquet, founder of EWG
Spirits & Wine and master distiller Car-
los Camarena. Sauza reintroduced its Tres
Generaciones brand as an organic tequila,
resulting in nearly a 30% volume increase
in the last year. Casa Noble now offers
single-barrel tequilas, a practice common
among whiskey producers but rare among
tequilas. 901, a triple-distilled blanco te-
quila, picked up quick awareness among
consumers from its partnership with pop
star Justin Timberlake.
A series of “experimental” spirits, Ex-
presiones del Corazon, are the result of
work done by brand owner Sazerac, show-
casing tequilas aged in four different types
of used barrels: a reposado aged in Buffalo
| se l ec t i ons
tequila
Growers, known as jimadores, such as
this one at Herradura (right), use a tool
called a coa to extract the piña and clear
its thorny leaves. After being cut in half,
the piñas are cooked slowly and evenly,
as seen here at Lunazul (left), turning their
starches into sugars.
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