Four Back-Bar Worthy Tequilas! Avion, Azunia, Maestro Dobel and The Resurgence of ‘1800’

Avion , 1800, Azuñia and Maestro Dobel Tequila all making waves locally, regionally and nationally as game day celebrations and gift giving season approaches

Last year it was rocker Vince Neal and pop star Justin Timberlake that tried their hands at getting Patron off the minds of club goers who think that there may just be one brand of ‘rock-star quality’ tequila. This year…like years past there will be a few more high quality tequilas that may be vying for the shot business and retail in-store business.  Seems tequila is great for celebration and gift giving and the assault is on and coming from all directions from grass roots to cable TV and from wider distribution attempts to exclusivity and  ‘limited supply’ tactics. Here’s a look at four tequilas that are getting the interest of bar staffs and consumers in the Beverage Underground.

Avion: Harvested in the highest regions from 100% Blue Weber Agave along with slow roasting and small batch production are key to this tequila’s quality but awareness, interest and sales so far…are based on a cult exposure. Premier Beverage now distributes this tequila in Florida for Marquis Jet tycoon Kenny Dichter, who first launched Avion in New York and California, grew up with Doug Ellin, the creator of the HBO mega-hit Entourage. They first met while attending Lakeside Elementary School in the town of Merrick, in Long Island New York and when Ellin was plotting out this season he asked Dichter for help making tequila the new business for the character  Salvatore “Turtle” Assante, who was the former driver of lead character Vincent Chase  in the show.  Several of the characters have specific brands and Ellin is afraid to display show that the character known as ‘E’ drinks Belvedere Vodka and that ‘Johnny Drama’ drinks Johnnie Walker Blue  It’s all on a handshake reminds Ellin who couldn’t charge for product placements even if he wanted to, since HBO is an advertising-free channel.

1800: The TV commercials are hot and recruiting actor Michael Imperioli who we know from the Sopranos has let tequila drinkers know that 1800 might just have more fight and more cool that the fluffier and trendier Patron.  That shot glass in the bottle stopper was always there but a whole new generation is discovering it and now with art packaging and a 100 proof version, expect to hear it called out in bars across America. The artists series is a hot collectible and perfect for gift giving. Although it doesn’t say Cuervo on the label it is still made by the same people and that family for 210 years.

Azuñia: Is an ultra-premium tequila, created in the heart of Mexico’s Tequila Valley. Also using 100% Blue Weber Agave with 8-10 year growth on the pinas and slow roasting  Azuñia just launched this summer but the tequila is a product of one of the oldest agave-growing families in Mexico. The product is based on a partnership between former Ketel One executives, Jim Riley and Kirk Gaither, who formed  Intersect Beverage after Diageo purchased distribution rights to Ketel One from the Nolet family. The brand is of high quality and has seen some initial success in Southwest Florida where there is a connection to product funding.

Maestro Dobel is calling itself the first Diamond Tequila and it is perhaps the most unique and fascinating product to grace the category. A blend of low-ranched, full-term growth 100% Blue Weber aged tequilas but then rested in new French oak for 12 to 36 months gives a ‘white’ tequila look and this is for the most part extra clear while still being extra aged.  The price is as luxury as is the tequila, but may be worth more. Maestro Dobel may be hard to find as it has received rave reviews and plenty of curiosity and until supply meets demand it may be the hottest gift of the season.

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