Tequila. Misunderstood? Or the When most Americans think of tequila, it brings them back to their college days - and unfortunately too often the memoriestend to surround bad headaches or even worse.
The truth is that tequila is one of the fasted growing spirits with lots of growth potential. In order to merchandise tequila, it's critical thatretailers understand that this distilled beverage is as complex as a fine brandy, scotch or vodka.
Tequila 101: It is a spirit that is made from the blue agave plant, which takes 8-10 years to mature, andcan only be harvested once. The leaves of the plant are stripped away, which leaves a core that can weigh on average 40-70 pounds and can sometimes grow to 200 pounds. The agave core is then split andis baked, roasted or steamed in large ovens where the natural starch turns to sugar. Roughly speaking it takes 15 pounds of core to produce one quart of tequila as we know it. The cooked cores arethen shredded, pressed and placed in fermenting vats where yeast is then added which converts the sugars to alcohol for 30 to 48 hours. The juices are then distilled twice. The first distillationproduces a low-grade alcohol, the second converts the liquid to a fierier colorless product with alcohol content between 70 and 110 proof.
According to ACNielsen, the Ultra Premium Tequilas (thoseretailing for more than $26 a bottle) grew over the past twelve months by 41 percent, while the mixtos (with an average price less than $11.99) actually saw a sales decrease of just over 3 percent. Thecomparisons, and learnings, from the marketing phenomenon of high-end vodkas are immense.
There are two kinds of tequila: 100% blue agave and "mixtos" - the latter being distilled from a mixture of atleast 60 percent blue agave and other sugars, which typically are the ones that are less expensive and brought on those terrible headaches. The Tequila Regulatory Council supervises the quality of each...