Bacardi-Martini Australia Managing Director Mauricio Vergara has been appointed PATRÓN President and Chief Operating Officer.
Vergara lead the international integration of PATRÓN following the acquisition of Patrón Spirits International and its PATRÓN brand by Bacardi in 2018. He has been MD of Bacardi-Martini since April 2019.
“I am sad to leave Australia, a market in which I have had the chance to work with an exceptional team and brilliant customer partners, but at the same time I am very excited to keep working with the team here as Australia will continue to be one of the lead markets for PATRÓN around the world,” Vergara said.
A seven-year Bacardi veteran, Vergara has a diverse background serving in leadership positions across marketing, commercial and general management in both mature and emerging markets. Vergara will report to Chief Executive Officer Mahesh Madhavan and joins the company’s Global Leadership Team.
“Tequila is one of the fastest growing and most attractive categories in the spirits industry, and PATRÓN is the clear market leader in the super-premium space,” said Madhavan, CEO of Bacardi Limited.
“Mauricio Vergara is a highly collaborative and innovative leader with an impressive track record of success across multiple disciplines, brands and markets. In his new role, he will work closely with our regional leaders and brand and operations teams to accelerate growth in the well-established US market, while leading expansion internationally where consumers are starting to discover and love premium tequila.”
Since joining family-owned Bacardi in 2013, Vergara’s career at Bacardi has spanned the globe from Mexico City to Miami to London to Sydney and Bermuda. His roles have included leading BACARDÍ and GREY GOOSE globally, managing commercial businesses in Latin America and in the US, and heading up global commercial and customer marketing teams.
“It’s been extremely enriching, all those moves, because it expands your mind and really makes you understand that there are so many ways of looking at the world and the same problem,” he said.
“I think one of the most enriching parts has been to experience the diversity of thought that people bring. I think my biggest learning is always to be in the mindset that you are the one who has to adapt, not the other way around.
“I take the time to understand the nuances of the culture, either the culture of the company or the culture of the country because on the surface we are all very similar but when you start digging deeper into the way the world works you’re going to learn a lot.”
Premium tequila is on the rise, with volume consumption up 15% each year between 2015 and 2019, according to researcher IWSR. But the role won’t be without its challenges. While sales have boomed during COVID-19, its lead to shortages of PATRÓN. The distiller is having trouble keeping up with demand due to social distancing requirements in its factory.
The spirit is handcrafted, which means it takes 25 times longer to produce and bottle than automated distilleries in normal circumstances. But Vergara says he’s up to the challenge.
“PATRÓN created the ultra-premium tequila market when it launched in 1989 and I am honored to play a role driving growth of the category and the brand in new markets across the globe as well as to continue strengthening our leadership position in the United States.” said Vergara.
“Having grown up in Mexico, this is an especially exciting opportunity with a brand I have long loved and admired for its authenticity, quality and integrity.”
The spirit is also a personal favourite for Vergara.
“Patron is such a smooth tequila, handcrafted with so much attention to detail, that makes it perfect to just sip on it,” he said. “I know tequila is normally associated with ‘shots”, but once you try Patron, you discover a complete different experience on how to enjoy tequila either neat or in cocktails.”
Tequila has been the fastest‐growing category in the US for several years and sales have been soaring during the pandemic. Jose Cuervo reported last week that its global sales were up 62% in the third quarter, to 2.3million cases.
In this new role, Mauricio returns to the company’s global headquarters in Bermuda pending authorisation by the Bermuda Immigration Authority. He will also spend time in Switzerland at the PATRÓN headquarters.