Sales from high-end premium and super-premium products are fueling a large portion of growth in the spirits industry. When it comes to the tequila segment, the same trend holds true. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, U.S. tequila volume from the high-end premium and super-premium sub-categories are up 238 and nearly 652 percent, respectively, from 2002 to 2015.
“Tequila has a strong presence in the U.S. market, and mezcal is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S.,” says Ernesto Ibarra Henkel, chief executive officer of Alacrán Tequila, Mexico City, Mexico.
Established in 2010, Alacrán was founded on a motivation to revitalize agave products in the market and stand out from the others by offering an inviting taste, Henkel explains.
“The Alacrán Tequila company is known for their portfolio of innovative, super-premium mezcal and tequila products that have extraordinary brand design and award-winning taste,” he says.
Noting that the company doesn’t follow trends, but instead operates under its own style and firm belief in authenticity, Alacrán uses blue agave, also known as tequila weber, to craft its tequilas. The company sources and distills its products from Los Altos, Jalisco.
“We use a modern process to obtain a sophisticated taste in each of our tequila products: Blanco, Reposado, Aged Cristal and Extra Añejo,” Henkel says. “[O]ur mezcal comes from San Dionisio, Oaxaca, from green agave, or agave espadin, distilled in a small Palenque. The recipe is from a third-generation master mezcalier, Don Lucio Morales.”
To ensure the company will have plenty of agave for its current and future products, it has teamed with its suppliers in the cultivation processes.
“From our producers, we have a plan to keep planting agave to reduce the effect, between the demand and our needs,” Henkel notes.
In the company’s six years on the market, it has continued to infuse the market with new, super-premium spirits. When it comes to its success, the company notes it’s not just what’s inside the bottle, but also what’s on the outside.
“It starts with eye-catching packaging, and then the nose and taste to confirm our quality,” Henkel says. “Our products taste as good as they look. Recently, our Mezcal Alacrán won a Double Gold Medal at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.”
Packaged in black matte bottle, its flagship variety — Alacrán Tequila — is its most successful, he adds.
“Its flavor is clean, neutral and easy to mix,” Henkel says. “It’s a deliciously smooth tasting tequila.”
Packaged in 750-ml bottles, the white tequila contains 40 percent alcohol by volume.
Alacrán also offers its mezcal, which is packaged in a white matte, 750-ml bottle and is 46 percent alcohol by volume. The mezcal features a smoky flavor and is targeted at both mezcal and tequila drinkers, the company says.
Last year, the company added Alacrán Cristal, which is aged for 14 months in American oak barrels that previously aged bourbon, generating a rich, woody flavor with a hint of vanilla, the company says.
Most recently, the company added Alacrán Reposado Tequila to its portfolio.
“We waited until we had the correct recipe for our reposado,” Henkel says. “It really speaks to what we desire in a reposado. It is enjoyable as a sipping tequila and you can customize it in a cocktail.”
That recipe includes a four-month aging process in American oak barrels that previously were used for bourbon aging. “It has a very nice taste with vanilla and rich caramel and wood flavors,” Henkel says. “Our Alacrán Reposado Tequila recently won a Double Gold Medal at the 2016 WSWA Convention.”
With a brand that is available throughout the United States and other international markets, Alacrán Tequila understands the importance of working with its partners for proper support in those markets.
“Our distributors and partners understand the brand essence and really live the brand,” Henkel says.
That same enthusiasm can be found among its consumers, he adds. “People connect with us on what our brand is about,” Henkel says. “It really comes down to being authentic and having great tasting products. Simply put, our products taste as good as they look.”
As the brand aims to establish more connections with consumers and distributors, Henkel remains optimistic about its future.
“Alacrán Tequila is a fast-rising brand and we want to continue to have innovative, great tasting, quality products,” he says.
The company also seeks to make connections through its packaging. Alacrán Tequila is committed to honoring women and causes they support, including breast cancer awareness. To further this support, its white tequila is packaged in a limited-edition pink glass bottle with a ribbon tag that retails between $42.99 and $49.99.
It also has a limited-edition mezcal bottle that features intricate designs, vibrant colors and sacred symbols inspired by spiritual rituals of the Mexican Huichol people, the company says. The limited-edition bottle retails for $350. The company is donating a percentage of sales to the Casa Huichol organization in the State of Jalisco, Mexico.