How (Not) To Begin A Tequila Model

Each week we obtain at the very least 2 emails from individuals who need to begin their very own tequila model, searching for steerage on how one can get began. This isn’t actually a part of what we do—we’re targeted on tasting, schooling and offering data on current merchandise. So, we thought we’d put collectively the recommendation we often give to aspiring model homeowners, multi functional place.

10 Causes Why You Ought to Simply Say No

1. You’re prone to lose tens of millions of {dollars}.

So, you need to begin your personal tequila model? We love tequila, so we get it. However we will’t consciously advise you to do that, provided that it’s a dangerous, dangerous funding. Don’t consider us? Let’s check out some actual world stats.

The Tequila Matchmaker database presently comprises 2,345 totally different tequila manufacturers. What number of of those are you able to title off the highest of your head?

In 2019 alone, we noticed 181 new manufacturers enter the market, and battle for shelf area with a whole lot extra. What number of do you suppose are creating wealth? Truthfully, it’s onerous to inform since so few are publicly-traded (and subsequently should launch financials).

However you’ll be able to ask your self what number of manufacturers you see in your native retail retailer/bar cabinets. Likelihood is, it’s the identical 20 to 30 in all places you go, and lots of of them are from massive gamers that depend on a big portfolio of merchandise, and income sources.

So, fierce competitors is one problem, now let’s discuss value. If you wish to begin your model within the close to future, present agave costs alone ought to provide you with pause. On the charge of 28 pesos/kilo, a truck load of agave wanted to fill a 25 ton oven would value you round $36,000 USD.

That’s only for the principle ingredient on one oven load.

“There has arguably by no means been a tougher time to start out a brand new tequila model, given agave costs,” says Clayton Sczcech, a Mexico-based agave spirits specialist and guide.

And even in the event you watch for agave costs to come back down, be ready for some extra sticker shocks.

“It is a capital intensive business,” says Tequila Fortaleza proprietor Guillermo Erickson Sauza. “Once you get to 1,000 circumstances you understand you want extra money to broaden (for) manufacturing, stock, barrels, amenities, advertising, and on and on!”

tequila production costs

Let’s do the mathematics. The biggest expense proper now by far is the price of agave, with $11.33 USD for a 1 liter bottle of traditionally-made blanco tequila. If you wish to reduce prices, you possibly can use a diffuser and save about $5.71 per liter. However for argument’s sake, let’s say you need to make a top quality, small batch, traditionally-made blanco tequila.

Once you add in the price of the packaging–even if you’re going with low cost, customary bottles, labels, and caps–and add in excise taxes, distillery charges, and harvest and transportation, you’re looking at roughly $15.86 USD in prices simply to make your product.

Then you need to issue within the markups that happen on the distributor and retail ranges. That brings the worth tag to about $25.40. This doesn’t embody the price of advertising, PR, your time, journey bills, pattern product to provide away, or salaries. Let’s assume that you just’ll want so as to add $10/bottle to cowl these bills since you’re not going to be promoting at giant quantity instantly. Now you’re taking a look at roughly $35 USD earlier than you can begin turning a revenue.

Now check out the tequilas you’re competing in opposition to within the $35-$45 USD vary. Are you able to afford to play this recreation?

Okay, so possibly you may have deep pockets and are keen to finance your model for the medium to long run. Then, proceed…

2. It’s virtually unattainable to distinguish your self out there.

Ask Your self “Why?” Why does your model have to exist?

There are such a lot of tequilas available on the market as of late you actually should ask your self what area of interest your new tequila would fill. What would make it totally different than what’s already obtainable?

“Nice tasting juice and a lovely package deal, these are desk stakes,” says Greg Cohen, a Dallas-based advertising advisor who makes a speciality of spirits manufacturers. “The problem is to show how and why your model satisfies an unmet want out there,” he provides.

What a few high quality, inexpensive tequila? There are a handful of tequilas which might be already doing a reasonably good job of that. A luxurious tequila for individuals who like a variety of wooden (maybe whiskey lovers)? That class is overflowing with contenders.

There’s at all times room for a high-quality, historically made tequila with distinctive aromas and flavors in our opinion, however that’s not essentially the quickest path to mass market success, so in the event you go that route you need to have ardour and persistence.

3. There’s a lengthy and steep studying curve forward.

So, you’ve discovered why your tequila ought to exist, are you aware the way it ought to be made? There are a selection of each conventional and industrialized processes in use that may radically have an effect on your remaining product.

Whether or not you’ll construct your personal distillery, or contract out an current one, you want to know concerning the totally different sorts of tequila making processes. Don’t attempt to do all of your analysis on-line. It’s a must to come to Mexico, go to distilleries, meet tequila producers and actually see how issues work — and style! — on the bottom.

And an enormous a part of that is “understanding the dynamics of the agave worth cycle and its relationship to varied varieties of tequila manufacturing”, Szczech says.

It is because once you make your tequila, and the way you make it, not solely have an effect on your prices and high quality, but in addition the business at giant. Producers who select an industrialized diffuser course of have a tendency to make use of youthful agaves, taking them out of the market earlier than conventional producers—who depend on mature agaves for his or her increased sugar content material and taste complexity—can use them.

Which form of producer will you be? Begin by figuring out which manufacturers you want, and studying about what it takes to make a top quality tequila.

However that’s not all. You’ll additionally have to study concerning the difficult tequila laws in Mexico, how one can register your model title, and how one can get your labels authorised by each the USA and Mexico.

4. You might want to get into the weeds on tequila manufacturing processes.

If you wish to create a top quality product, you’ll have to find out how tequila is made, how one can style and consider it, and perceive the profile you need and what’s required to attain it. This takes time and at the very least one affected person tequilero keen to take you underneath their wing. In any other case, you possibly can find yourself being taken benefit of.

A jaded observe right here: “Candy” and “clean” are overplayed. Added vanilla is, too. Watch out for components (and know the distinction between a tequila with pure aromas and flavors, and people who depend on added sweetener, caramel coloration, glycerin, and agave ‘flavors.”) Style every little thing, from standard mass-market manufacturers to small producers. Ask questions, akin to “Why does this tequila have extra agave in it than others?”; “What’s the distinction within the course of and the agaves used?”

Each model will begin with some pattern runs, and realizing what you might be tasting and what you (and your potential clients) like can be important.

5. The seek for a tequila distillery is just not straightforward.

For those who don’t have your personal distillery, you want a companion. This may be difficult, particularly in the event you don’t converse Spanish. In response to the Tequila Matchmaker distillery database, there are presently 135 energetic tequila distilleries in Mexico. Discovering the correct one is just not straightforward as a result of every distillery is exclusive.

You’ll want to start out by doing all your homework. Which distilleries are able to producing the flavour profile you have an interest in? You can begin your analysis by scanning by way of our tequila distillery rankings to get an concept of the general high quality of the tequila they’re producing, primarily based on rankings from Tequila Matchmaker app customers.

As soon as you discover one you want, will they even provide the time of day? Not all distilleries are keen to “white label” their product.

And the distillery homeowners we all know who make nice, traditionally-produced small batch tequilas are few, and cautious when taking over new manufacturers. That is for a great purpose: they should be definitely worth the effort and time as a result of their popularity can be at stake.

“I need to know that (a brand new model companion) has the correct motivation and a partnership with them can be sustainable,” says Salvador Rosales, Jr. of Tequila Cascahuín. His household distillery will get a variety of curiosity from would-be model homeowners, however their small-batch, artisanal method means they should be very selective.

For instance, one model that made the reduce is Siembra Spirits, the proprietor of the extremely revered Siembra Valles tequilas. Model proprietor David Suro is a well known advocate for small batch artisanal merchandise, and his help for agave farmers and integrity was a match for the values held by the household homeowners at Cascahuín.

Are you able to be a great companion?

tequila product testing

6. It’s not all about you. You’ll need to do some goal product testing.

It’s not a good suggestion to rely solely upon your tequila preferences, and even that of your pals. For those who’re going to sink tens of millions of {dollars} into this, you want to make certain that the tequila in your bottle is what it must be. Objectivity is important.

Assuming you’ll contract out an current distillery, earlier than you signal any contracts, it is best to get a good suggestion of what you’re prone to anticipate as soon as your product is finished. You can begin by checking a distillery’s popularity by trying up the rankings of all of the merchandise they produce. The simple strategy to discover this out is to do a tequila NOM search on Tequila Matchmaker, and drill down into every of the manufacturers and merchandise from that distillery.

You’ll additionally need to strive the distillery’s merchandise your self. Every distillery has its personal explicit model and it is best to see some similarities, even between totally different manufacturers. You are able to do this with out stepping foot in Mexico. As an alternative of asking them to ship you samples, purchase a few of their merchandise retail to get an concept of what they’re already releasing out there.

Distilleries that white label will usually promote you pre-made, bulk tequila they’ve obtained in storage. For those who aren’t enthusiastic about creating your personal batch, that’s a simple resolution.

However if you wish to create your personal small batch, one which matches the flavour profile you keep in mind, there’s one other layer of labor forward of you. That is why it’s so essential to know how one can style, and what sort of profile you need.

That is often troublesome for individuals new to the tequila world. Previously now we have helped would-be model homeowners determine their very best tequila profile (and pinpoint an acceptable distillery within the course of) by way of non-public blind style take a look at consulting utilizing our matching expertise. If that is one thing you’re enthusiastic about, contact us.

7. You might want to have a singular and compelling story in the event you anticipate anybody to care.

As any good marketer will let you know, you need to have an important story. “I really like tequila so I made a decision to make one“ could be true, but it surely’s not a compelling story.

Nonetheless, in the event you occur to be born right into a tequila dynasty and also you missed your likelihood to inherit the corporate out of your well-known grandfather who bought it to an enormous company earlier than you have been of age, however you went out, earned cash, and took again your grandfather’s almost 100-year-old distillery, fired it up once more, and located it made nice tequila, then you definately’d be onto one thing. (Wink to Guillermo Erickson Sauza as a result of that’s an unbeatable story.)

Okay, so that you weren’t lucky sufficient to be born right into a tequila dynasty (neither have been we!) Now what do you do? Return to your “Why.” What makes you keen about doing this undertaking?

Simply as an assist, listed below are the “tales” we’ve heard rather a lot not too long ago. (Trace: Search for one thing totally different.)

    “I purchased the recipe from an outdated household in Mexico that was the unique ________ model.”

    “The grasp distiller at our model used to work for ______. He/she; was the key of their success.”

    “I created a real sipping tequila to vary individuals’s minds about tequila from their school experiences.”

    “I’m making a tequila for ladies.”

    “I’m creating the Tito’s Vodka of tequila.”

(The final 3 usually are not truly tales, however product descriptions. It is best to know the distinction!)

8. You’ll need to be detail-oriented and media savvy.

Bloggers, aficionados, early adopters, and a few members of the media will need distinctive manufacturing particulars. Have them.

Mezcal producers have completed an important job of itemizing manufacturing particulars on their labels, and now there may be an expectation that tequila producers will provide the identical degree of transparency. That is additionally an effective way to spotlight how your product is totally different and distinctive.

Right here’s a phrase of recommendation from us (bloggers): Understand how your product was made and be capable of clarify how yours is totally different. For those who can’t get us enthusiastic about it, it’s in all probability as a result of there’s nothing new about it. If it tastes like every little thing else made at that distillery, we received’t have to strive it. We already know.

9. You’ll need to know your goal market, and the way you’re going to succeed in them.

With so many rivals preventing for consideration, advertising is essential. In case your explicit space of experience doesn’t embody advertising, that is the time to contract out. Get in contact with specialists who know how one can attain tequila customers. Even in the event you make the perfect tequila on the planet you’re not gonna go far if individuals aren’t pushed to strive it. It’s additionally not going far if individuals can’t discover it.

“Along with making a compelling model story, it’s simply as essential to obviously determine and articulate how your tequila fills a void in a distributors’ portfolio, and the way it matches a necessity behind the bar,” says Cohen.

All tequila drinkers usually are not created equal, so it’s important that you recognize which section of the market you’re going after. If you’re seeking to produce an affordable tequila to be served in bars as a properly product in a nightclub, for instance, you received’t be capable of goal aficionados and bartenders with that very same product.

In case your product makes use of the diffuser/yeast accelerants/column nonetheless/components manufacturing course of, you’ll discover it troublesome to get bartenders and aficionados to take it severely.

So, that brings your subsequent problem…

10. Discovering an importer and a distributor depends upon the entire above.

Keep in mind, you’re competing for his or her consideration with 180+ new manufacturers yearly.

For those who can’t present a stack of buy orders and a fan following, distributors will see your model as dangerous. Small model proprietor, Frank Mendez, agrees that it’s onerous to compete with the large manufacturers.

“They will provide incentives to maneuver product,” he says.

That’s why he and his spouse Leticia tried to self distribute their family-owned model, Gran Dovejo, for a number of years.

“It was almost unattainable,“ he mentioned. Though the couple stay close to Sacramento and the Bay Space, that are good markets for tequila, attempting to get a tasting time in eating places was powerful, they usually needed to take day without work from their day jobs.

“To be able to do it, you need to rent individuals, and we simply couldn’t afford that,” he says.

Bars weren’t any simpler. “Even when a bar was , and eager to help an area model, they have been reluctant to open new accounts,” Mendez provides. Ultimately, the household made a take care of one other firm to take over the distribution.

What about promoting on to customers on-line? This seems like the best concept, however there are legal guidelines in the USA that make it troublesome to unattainable, and range state to state. That is due to the Prohibition Period three-tier system within the US the place importers and producers can solely promote to distributors, who promote to retailers, who then promote to customers. It’s unlawful to do enterprise in additional than two of these tiers.

This implies it might be unlawful to make or import, then distribute, and promote your personal tequila on to customers. For instance, a bar proprietor couldn’t legally make their very own liquor, after which promote it on to clients.

By now you’ll be able to in all probability see why we might not suggest beginning a tequila model—the expense, time, authorized points, and competitors make this market as dangerous as shopping for a $5 million lottery ticket.

“Even with tens of millions to take a position, entry to distribution, efficient advertising, and high quality juice, (could be model homeowners) may also want a variety of luck, “ Sczcech says.

“In the event that they aren’t coming from contained in the business, the percentages can be stacked in opposition to them as they compete with international corporations who can function on razor-thin (or unfavourable) margins and legacy manufacturers with rabid followings.”

Guillermo Erickson Sauza agrees. “Most manufacturers fail,” he says.

You continue to in? The reply almost definitely is sure, since virtually the entire individuals who obtain our recommendation suppose it doesn’t apply to them, and that they can’t fail as a result of they’ve a “nice bottle design” or “connections” or “a tremendous title”, or “a secret recipe”, or they’re “keen to place within the onerous work.”


For those who insist, you have to assist, and in areas you haven’t realized but. So in the event you’re simply getting began, don’t waste your treasured time contacting us as a result of all we can do is reply with “good luck” and supply a hyperlink to this story.

However, some assist could be discovered with these trusted contacts:

Tequila Partners could be your one-stop-shop for every little thing within the course of from discovering a distillery to gaining authorized compliance and exportation. We’ve labored with them earlier than, they usually have proven themselves to be sincere and reliable. For those who’re enthusiastic about our Confirmed Additive-Free program, they’ve helped shoppers navigate the method up to now.

Pancho Castillon is a well-connected character within the tequila world. For those who want a driver who can be a information to take you round to the entire distilleries throughout your analysis section, you “Higher Name Pancho.” In the future with him and also you’ll really feel like you may have been greatest mates perpetually.

Greg Cohen is an professional in tequila PR and advertising. Based mostly in Dallas, TX, he helps manufacturers high quality tune their tales and advertising pitches and has an inventory of influential media and business connections a mile lengthy. For individuals who need to get critical, he’s your man. A complete professional.

Ana María Romero Mena makes a speciality of creating tequila aroma and taste profiles. She is a grasp distiller who has created profiles for an extended listing of tequila manufacturers. She is named an professional in sensorial detection, and has skilled many individuals within the business on how one can determine the big range of aromas and flavors present in tequila.

Clayton Sczcech, is a Mexico-based agave spirits specialist and guide. For those who’re searching for an excellent educated tequila tour information to provide you well-informed and researched details about the tequila business, its individuals and tradition, we extremely suggest connecting with him. Will probably be the perfect cash you’ll spend in your enterprise.

Jaime Villalobos Sauza is a grasp distiller who makes a speciality of creating profiles for manufacturers who don’t need to use components. He’s reliable, speaks good English, and has an important information of the complete tequila-making course of.

How we can assist.

After you may have a product, we’re pleased to assist by testing your profile and getting the phrase out. Once you’re prepared, check out our listing of tequila model advertising applications.

Good luck.

Photograph (above): Yesenia Cisneros, an worker of the Nuestros Dulces tequila retailer in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico, walks among the many 1,800+ totally different tequilas presently on the market on the retailer. Sure, that’s a variety of competitors for brand new manufacturers. Are you certain you need to do that?

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