We see a lot of buzz around celebrity tequilas these days, but just what are the real celebrity tequilas out there at the moment?
No one is born to be a celebrity. To become one, they have worked hard in their respective field in which they gained recognition. You may have heard of Sammy Hagar, George Clooney, Dwayne Johnson or Michael Jordan “making” their own tequila. Without a doubt they have all worked decades to become the best in what they do. But just how much time have they actually spent to become the best to produce tequila? As an educated tequila consumer, I don’t expect tequila producers to sell millions of records, win oscars or championships. I have a huge respect for all celebrities as they have earned their accomplishments. However in this article I would like to present some of those producers who may not be known worldwide (yet), but they are real celebrities to us, tequila fans as they dedicated years and decades of their lives to provide us with great tequilas.
On the left George Clooney, the actor behind the most successful “Hollywood celebrity” brand, on the right Carlos Camarena, the most respected producer, “tequila celebrity” based on our interviews. Photo credit: Carlos Camarena.
So. With all due respect to everyone, I suggest to take a moment to appreciate the skills of each person in their area of expertise and accept the fact:
People can be good at many things, but they are the best at what they have been doing for a long time putting most of their energy, passion and heart into it.
We interviewed several tequila producers asking them about their tequila inspirations and here is a list of 12 tequila brands they recommended or were inspired by. In other words, if there was an “Academy Award” in the world of tequila, these brands or their producers would likely get a nomination. Listed in alphabetical order as any one of them can be just as awesome as the other depending on your palate (pictures are taken from the particular brand’s social media):
Created by the Orendain family, one of the oldest tequila producing families spanning through five generations. Arette is a go to house tequila for many bars as it is fairly accessible offering a solid quality and great value for its price.
Created by Jake Lustig with the help of many producer families, most (if not all) of which are listed below. He has decades of experience in importing quality tequila into the US and his brand is trying to capture the essence of the different tequilas that are produced by different traditional distilleries and bottle the best expression of them.
Created by Sophie Decobecq, a French biologist and engineer. Imagine a scientist woman with an incredible sense for aromas and tastes, add in plenty of love and passion for tequila and the Mexican culture plus a large dash of stubbornness to experiment to get the best tasting tequila no matter the cost.
Created by the Rosales family, this tequila has a legacy of 3 generations. They too love to experiment to make interesting special editions. As a great example of a well made Valley tequila, they offer several expressions, making it even more interesting to discover the difference between production methods. Plus, their tequila rocks even if mixed with nothing else, but water.
Created by Enrique Fonseca and Sergio Mendoza – coming from a family of five generations of agave farmers. They produce a uniquely hybrid terroir tequila – agaves from the Highland, water from the Tequila Volcano and the yeast being a mix of both worlds too. Every single step of the process is fine tuned with a gentle touch of European influence.
Created by Guillermo Sauza, representing the fifth generation of legendary producers the Sauza family. As the family sold the business, he decided to start fresh and recovered & refurbished some of its oldest assets and they are proud to make an “inefficient”, old-school, but very tasty, highly regarded “tahona-crushed” tequila. One of the few no bullshit – fully authentic tequilas.
G4 / Terralta
Created by Felipe Camarena, third generation tequila producer who had a different idea about how to make tequila, so he quit the family business, built his own distillery from scratch (he literally loves to build new things and gadgets) and makes his own tequila with his own unique (and mind-blowing) processes.
Created by Tomas Estes with the help of the Camarena family – Ocho is there for us to showcase how agaves from different plantations carry different tastes, to understand the importance of “terroir” in the tequila world. Every bottle has a unique ranch name and harvest year indication with a distinctive taste.
Siembra Valles / Azul
Created by David Suro with the help of the Rosales family (Valles) and the Vivanco family (Azul). He is the founding member of the Tequila Interchange Project aiming at preserving traditions. He even created a truly unique tequila expression – in cooperation with the Rosales family – an ancestral tequila that is made similar to how it was made hundreds of years ago when it was a mezcal.
Created by the Gonzalez family, Siete Leguas is one of the most prestigious tequila producer regarded highly in the industry by producers and consumers alike. They still observe antique production methods that are inherited from when tequila was a mezcal – like fermenting and distilling tequila with agave fibers.
Created by Don Felipe Camarena, managed by his grandson Carlos Camarena, who is highly respected by many traditional producers for his producer skills, dedication to quality, love for nature and his immense agave & tequila knowledge which he can spice up with his exceptional humour. Tapatío is a traditional tequila true to its origins from 1937 as their philosophy is – if it’s not broken, why fix it?
Created by the collaboration of the Vivanco family and Sergio Cruz. The family is of fifth generations of agave farmers and three generations of tequila distillers. The Vivancos are very passionate and take extremely great care of their agaves as well as their process – they even play classical music to stimulate the fermentation! Whether you like classical music or not, this tequila will “rock” your world for sure.
I hope I was able to pick your interest in potentially even visiting the distilleries producing the above brands. You see while there is very little chance of catching a “global celebrity” at the distillery of their products, many of the aforementioned producers are accessible in the local area of where these tequilas are produced, so there is a good chance you will meet them. If this is the first time you have heard about these brands and the people behind them, I am hoping that soon you will be able to meet some of them in person and may change your perspective about just who the real tequila celebrities are and why.
Thanks for reading this article, now go and drink some good tequilas will you?