How Don Julio 1942 Became Tequilas First Unicorn Bottle
As Kylie Jenner approached her 21st birthday in August 2018, many wondered how exactly the Gen Z model, reality TV star, and almost-billionaire would celebrate reaching legal drinking age. Jenner seemed to answer that very question 24 hours before the big day when, in an Instagram story shared to her then-audience of around 120 million followers, she posted a photo of a custom-engraved bottle of Don Julio 1942, along with the caption AHHH 21 SOON .
The choice befitted both the individual and the occasion, not least because the paths of A-listers and agave distillates have become ever more entwined in recent years. Yet, Don Julio 1942 is its own, unique type of celebrity tequila one owned not by a Hollywood actor but the worlds largest alcohol conglomerate. This bottle is a celebrity among tequilas.
Known to fans simply as 1942, contemporary hip-hop artists namedrop the smooth sipping añejo in their rhymes, while its signature agave-leaf-shaped bottle makes regular appearances on the big and small screens. That one of the worlds most famous 20-year-olds would therefore celebrate her 21st by popping this specific bottle of Don seems particularly on-brand. And yet, considering only the tequilas star-studded association distracts from a larger, even more impressive story.
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While they were at a wedding in Guadalajara, where the tequila was being featured, González and Carballido met Jim McDermott, who helped them bring the tequila to Texas. McDermott is the brands co-founder and CEO, and also now Carballidos husband. González currently lives in Guadalajara, but hes also buying a home in Austin later this year. Carballido and McDermott currently split their time between Austin and Guadalajara.
What sets LALO Tequila apart from others is that they arent interested in taking over the entire tequila market, or coming out with dozens of new products every year, McDermott says. They want to stick to the facts and stick to what theyre good at producing a clean and pure blanco tequila, free from additives, using agave from the Jaliscan Highlands of Mexico.
The same way people care about what they eat, you can do the same with alcohol, Carballido says. A clean spirit means less of a hangover.
The tequila is made with just three ingredients agave, yeast and deep well water. Once the fully mature agave plant is picked from the Jalisco Highlands, its cooked in a stone oven called hornos de mamposteria. The agave is steamed for 20 to 32 hours and rested for up to 18 hours. The agave is only twice-distilled to maintain its integrity, and it uses a proprietary yeast found in Champagne during the fermentation process.
Best Overall: Tequila Ocho Plata
Courtesy of Drizly.com;
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Pepper, Citrus, Grass, Stone fruit
The beautiful story and unique process behind this tequila really help it shine, says Chasse. The family that makes Tequila Ocho Plata has been distilling for generations. They use traditional brick ovens to slow-roast extremely ripe agave, which is chosen from specific fields each year, so that the nuances of the terroir and;weather come out, especially in the blanco.
It changes depending on the field and year, says Chasse, but in general, it offers crisp, clean peppery notes, bright citrus and grassy flavors, along with the fruitiness of the extra-ripe agave. The finish also offers a nice balance between floral and earthy notes.;
Good to Know: How should you drink a sipping tequila? Hurley and Chasse suggest trying it neat in a tequila glass . Add a few drops of water to open up the flavor. Medina prefers to sip his aged tequila in a snifter with one large cube of ice, which melts slowly, keeping the spirit cool but not diluting it.
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What Makes Patron So Expensive
Patron tequila is expensive due to the combined effects of its reputation, popularity, taste, quality and packaging. The tequila is also made from what is considered the best type of agave for spirit distilling, Blue Weber Agave. The agave is grown in the worlds best region for agave production in Jalisco, Mexico.
He Was Forced To Become The Sole Breadwinner For His Household At Age 15
When his father died in 1940, leaving behind a wife and seven children, Julio, as the oldest son, was tasked with providing for the entire brood. He first hired on as a farmhand, but after recognizing that the nine pesos a week he earned from that job would hardly be enough, he set out on his first independent tequila venture
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Don Julio Made Tequila What It Is Today
According to Swagger, Gonzalez set out on his journey to create a tequila that was smooth, refined, and flavorful. He envisioned it to be something people could casually sip on, like a quality glass of whiskey and far from the harsh taste of many other tequilas of the time. Because of this commitment to quality, he spent decades perfecting his craft. Many would be surprised to learn that during this time, the only sippers that could share in the fruits of his labor were his friends, as his product was not available for widespread distribution just yet .
Word was spreading though, and it was only inevitable that his tequila would eventually catch some serious interest and reach the big time. The sheer demand for Gonzalez’s tequila in the region around Guadalajara is what led him to formally create a business with the intention of his tequila landing on the palates of the masses. Along with master distillery Marco Cedano, the man behind Tequila Tromba, Gonzalez celebrated his 60th birthday by officially moving forward with his brand, Don Julio Tequila . Launching in 1987, It is now considered the first-ever luxury tequila brand, according to;Saveur.
He Revolutionized The Tequila Bottle Too
Until Tequila Don Julio hit the market, the traditional tequila bottle was a long, tall vessel. Placed between two guests or family members at the table, it literally obstructed social interactionyou couldnt see the person across the table from you. Don Julios round, short bottle provided a simple solution to that problem.
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Best Extra Aejo: Gran Patrn Burdeos
;Courtesy of Reserve Bar
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Cocoa powder, Dates, Caramel
Añejos and extra añejos should embody the flavor of the wood with the soul of the original spirit, says Hurley, so that the cooked agave flavor shines, complemented by notes of toasted oak, caramel, vanilla and cocoa powder.
This bottle from Patrón exemplifies the style. It is far too tasty, says Chasse. In part, thats due to the barrel program. A combination of used American and new French oak casks gives it a deep amber color that looks great in a snifter. Plus, a velvety mouthfeel and a drying and nearly tannic finale compels you to take another sip. But the pièce de résistance is the old Bordeaux barrels the spirit is finished in; they lend a touch of the raisinated flavor youd expect from a wine.
It also does pair nicely with food, says Chasse, and if youre having a fancy day, with a fine cigar.
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 46% | Tasting Notes: Olives, Earth, Orange
If you want to know what tequila tasted like 100 years ago, Fortaleza is your go-to, says Hurley. At his estate in the town of Tequila, master distiller Guillermo Sauza makes the spirit the way his great-great-grandfather made it, using an old stone tahona and brick ovens. Bottled straight from the copper pot still without dilution, this blanco has an alluring earthy, olivey quality, says Chasse, with plenty of bright citrus, too.
Diageo And Cuervo Swap Brands: Bushmills Whiskey For Don Julio Tequila
LONDON Diageo and the family that makes Jose Cuervo tequila have agreed to swap two of their best-known brands, giving the global spirits maker a bigger presence in the tequila market.
Under the deal, Diageo will acquire full control of Don Julio, a fast-growing tequila brand, from Casa Cuervo, as well as $408 million in cash.
Cuervo, which is owned by the Beckmann family that is descended from Jose Antonio de Cuervo, will acquire Bushmills, the Irish whiskey brand.
News of the potential brand swap, expected to be completed in early 2015, surfaced over the weekend.
The deal came nearly two years after Diageo abandoned a bid to buy Cuervo outright.
Diageo, which also owns Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Captain Morgan rum, has since acquired several small brands of tequila, including Peligroso and DeLeón.
The acquisition gives Diageo greater access to a premium brand it has distributed for years.
The Don Julio brand had sales of 105 million pounds, or about $168 million, in the fiscal year ended June 30. Diageo accounted for about £75 million of those sales.
Cuervo will gain access to one of the worlds largest whiskey brands in Bushmills, which had net sales of £57 million in its fiscal year ended June 30.
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His Namesake Tequila Transformed The Industry
To celebrate Don Julios 45th year as a tequilero, his family threw a special party to honor him. At this legendary affair, González offered guests the tequila he had been aging in his office. It was the best he had, and he wanted to share it with his loved ones. After the party, people whod been there began calling him and asking to buy the tequila theyd tasted. But Don Julio said it wasnt for sale. Eventually, though, he relented, and decided he would make this tequila for sale after all, thereby introducing what would become one of the first true, luxury tequilas. It transformed the industry, creating an entirely new category of tequila.
The Story Of Don Julio
You see Don Julios short, stumpy bottles? When 17-year-old Julio Gonzalez-Frausto Estrada started producing his own tequila, he was frustrated that he couldnt see his friends over the tall, sleek bottles that the spirit was usually served in. So, as well as pushing his own fashion statement, Don Julio defiantly bottled his tequila in a way that would suit him. Considered uncool at the time, he probably didnt anticipate the entire industry meekly following along in a matter of decades.
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Diageo Gives Up Bushmills For Control Of Don Julio Tequila
4 Min Read
LONDON – Diageo DGE.L has agreed to swap its Bushmills Irish whiskey label for full ownership of the high-end Don Julio tequila, as the British drinks group seeks to regain its leading position in tequila and build a bigger portfolio of “reserve” brands.
The worlds largest spirits maker said on Monday that it had agreed a deal with the Beckmann family of Mexico to take the fifty percent of Don Julio it does not already own in exchange for its Bushmills Irish whiskey.
Diageo did not give the full financial terms of the deal, but analysts at Nomura estimate its total consideration at 440 million pounds .
Don Julio is the top-selling ultra-premium tequila in the United States, with bottles ranging from $45 to $375. In the year to June 30, its sales jumped about 27 percent.
That is an attractive clip for Diageo, whose sales are sagging amid a sharp slowdown in some emerging markets that has been only partially offset by the strength of higher-margin reserve brands such as Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Ciroc Vodka and Zacapa Rum.
While Bushmills is a well-known label, it carries a more modest price tag, competing with the much-larger Jameson brand, owned by Pernod Ricard PERP.PA. According to investment bank Nomura, it was never a huge focus for Diageo, given its large presence in Scotch whisky.
He Was A Quote Machine
The man threw out aphorisms like Bartletts. Two examples: Dont be too proud or arrogant in life because in this condition you will not recognize problems when they come up. Hard work and honesty. Never judge anyone, that is all and with that people will trust you. These could be intertitles in the Don Julio movie, each illustrating a chapter in his life.
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There’s A Story Behind The Shape Of The Bottle
Never one to do things quietly, Master of Malt reports that Gonzalez also revolutionized the branding and packaging of tequila with his increasingly popular liquor. According to VinePair, tequila was previously sold in a standard tall glass bottle that was easy to hide away beneath a table, given that it blocked the view of one’s fellow drinkers. Since so much of the brand’s success could be accredited to the many guests as his dinner parties that sipped on his early creations, Gonzalez came up with an idea inspired by those soirees.
So, Don Julio designed a special bottle for his reserve Reposada that could be prominently displayed on the dinner table without blocking the view of other guests across the table. The now-signature square and short bottles are synonymous with the brand and, arguably, with the reputation of tequila itself.
Its A Brand Thats Won Multiple Awards For Its Delicious Bottles
and it keeps pushing the boundaries when it comes to premium quality. Before Don Julio took to the scene, tequila was generally either considered Blanco, Reposado or Añejo. The arrival of Don Julio 70 Cristalino Tequila took to the stage as the worlds first Añejo Claro tequila, while the brands Real Tequila broke the ceiling of ageing the spirit and helped to create the Extra Añejo category. With its velvety smooth Blanco qualities and honeyed vanilla and toasted oak flavours, its a one-of-a-kind sipper thats among the best of the best.;
Part of the reason as to why this premium tequila is so good can be attributed to its growing region. Intellectual property laws ensure that tequila can only be made in one place: Mexico. And Don Julio is produced in the Highlands of Jalisco, one of the countrys most fertile agave-growing regions.;
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Don Julio’s Grandson Bottles Three Generations Of Tequilero Wisdom In New Blanco
Eduardo Lalo González, the grandson of Don Julio González of the iconic Don Julio tequila brand, … has launched his own brand, LALO.
What began as a small, private batch tequila made for friends and family in Guadalajara has grown into a recognized, sought after brand in Mexico and the U.S.
LALO tequila, named after co-founder and maestro tequilero Eduardo Lalo González, the grandson of Don Julio González of the iconic Don Julio tequila brand, launched last year in the U.S. after several years of development and a tremendous reception at home in Guadalajara. Since its launch, the brand has seen a fast, increasing growth in just a few months.
González and LALO co-founder David R. Carballido have been friends since their early teens, and had worked separately in the tequila industry for more than a decade. They reconnected when the latter was working on a new tequila for Don Julio, and reached out to González to learn more about his family.
Upon sharing stories of his grandfather and the tequila-making process, they realized they shared similar ideas about how tequila should be made and decided to create their own brand.
Eduardo Lalo González and David Carballido toast the success of their new brand.
Aejo Alarm: Why Aged Tequilas Are Disappearing
Fans of the aged tequilas, take note. You could be facing a shortage of your favorite sippers, higher prices, or both, as several sources report that they have no more añejo tequila to sell into the marketplace.
Producers have been reluctant to lay down spirit with these high prices , thinking the price would drop, but it hasnt and reserves are drying up, says Jake Lustig, owner of the ArteNOM Selección tequila brand.
The price of the raw material to make tequila has spiked in recent years, reaching a high of 32 pesos a kilo, compared to just under 4 pesos per kilo in 2016.
Agave prices have always gone through a cycle of boom and bust pricing, since growers often abandon the crop when they are getting almost nothing for it, only to replant when they see the prices climb. But the latest price spike has been unusually prolonged. We have recorded prices above 25 pesos a kilo since 2017.
Just to give you an idea of the capital required to make tequila, at 30 pesos a kilo one large oven load alone costs around $40,000 USD
This means that tequila producers have faced a dilemma for some time. Should they wait one year or more as their product rests in barrels before they get a return on their investment, or simply focus on making blanco tequila, or a lightly aged reposado, instead?
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Contention Over The Patrn Bottle
After explaining his part in introducing Martin Crowley to Siete Leguas, Francisco said, “The bottle, that is another story.”
When Francisco mentioned the origins of the Patrón bottle it sparked my interest as Francisco Gonzalez Garcia, one of the two sons of Don Julio Gonzales of the Don Julio tequila brand, once told me that Martin Crowley had copied a bottle originally used by Don Julio tequila. I know Don Julio changed its bottle design and I’ve heard that this was due to a dispute with Patrón. So, I put this to Francisco who replied, “Don Julio’s son pretends that that is his bottle, that is not true.”
He continued, “Martin Crowley was looking in the factory, in the offices, and he found an old bottle, full of dust. He started cleaning the bottle and said, “I like this, are you using this bottle?” Lucrecia replied, “No.” It was a tall square glass bottle. That was the original.”
Francisco explained that the subsequent argument over the rights to this bottle design led the parties involved to appear before the authorities at the Mexican Institute of Industry in Mexico City where the director in charge of patents and trademarks, Jorge Amigo, judged that that Patrón had the right to use the bottle in the United States and the rest of the world, including Mexico, but Don Julio could use that bottle or elements of that bottle design in Mexico. In case of doubt, Francisco finished this explanation with, “That is what happened. That is the truth.”