Drinks giants bank on super-premium tequila

Drinks companies are backing super-premium tequila as being recession-proof, with a slew of new releases defying the cost-of-living crisis.

Forget cheap and cheerful shots, these luxurious sipping tequilas retail for up to $11,000 a bottle.

Diageo Australia MD Dan Hamilton told The Australian that the top end of its portfolio is staying strong, with the company seeing super-premium tequila as a category to rival scotch.

“For those consumers who are looking for a more luxury or super-premium type offerings, they are continuing to spend,” he said.

Hamilton said Diageo Australia’s recent financial results showed a healthy uplift in sales to $738 million for 2023, up from $707.35 million in 2022 with its net profit up 19.5% to $68.52 million.

“Super-premium tequila has got incredible credentials and great diversity of how it can be drunk, and we have a very strong position with Don Julio, which is the No.1 super premium tequila and Casamigos which is the fastest growing, so we will double down and focus on investment in tequila,” he said.

IWSR has forecast that international markets such as Canada, the UK and Australia are in the midst of a tequila boom, with expected volume growth of between 7% and 9% from 2022-27.

While it’s a mixed picture for spirits globally, with the category only growing +5% in volume in 2021-2022, agave-based spirits saw overall category volume growth of +13%. And Australia is leading the pack – it’s now one of the world’s top 10 markets for tequila.

Herradurra Legend lands in Australia

Brown Forman has expanded its Casa Herradura ultra-premium tequila portfolio in Australia with the launch of Herradura Legend, which was introduced at a VIP event and tasting at the exclusive CIRQ rooftop bar on the 26th floor of Crown Sydney last week.

This first-of-its-kind Añejo tequila comes with a $300 price tag and is made in small batches from the finest 100% Blue Weber Agave, traditionally cooked, naturally fermented, twice distilled, and matured for at least 12 months using a unique combination of seasoned, grooved and new American white oak barrels.

Casa Herradura is currently the only major tequila distillery that produces its own barrels to ensure the highest quality product, and these unique barrels have been deeply grooved, exposing the tequila to more layers of toasted oak as it ages.

This process results in an Añejo tequila with an incredibly rich, deep colour and a luxurious, velvety smooth taste. It is both an exceptional sipping tequila and an ultra-luxurious addition to cocktails.

Tequila Herradura Legend recently scooped a Gold Medal at the 2023 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and secured a score of 93 in the 2023 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

Herradura Tequila Senior Brand Manager Richard Dredge said: “At Tequila Herradura, we’ve been innovating in the tequila category for more than 150 years, and that continues with the launch of Legend. Legend’s one-of-a-kind production process
sets it apart from its category competitors. It’s an incredibly rich and smooth sipping tequila that we know Aussies will love.”

Herradura Legend is available to purchase from major retailers including Dan Murphy’s.

PATRÓN EL CIELO is made for luxury sipping

PATRÓN Tequila has also launched a super-premium PATRÓN EL CIELO, priced at $300 a bottle, in Australia ahead of summer festivities.

The world’s first four-times distilled tequila is designed to be savoured over ice with a slice of orange.

“PATRÓN EL CIELO’s radiantly smooth offering a unique experience for tequila drinkers delivering an impressively rare, naturally sweet taste.” said Kathy Parker, Global Chief Marketing Officer at PATRÓN.

“By taking our iconic Silver tequila and expertly using a fourth distillation, a new prestige tequila has been created, being a first within the category.

“Master Distiller David Rodriguez really pushed the boundaries with a distinctive process – the complexity of distilling tequila without sacrificing flavour requires remarkable talent and we’re immensely proud of this bold innovation his team created.”

Patrón Tequila also released a $11,000 super-premium tequila – PATRÓN en LALIQUE: Serie 3 – in Australia in July.

The third release in collaboration with French glass master LALIQUE has been curated at Hacienda PATRÓN by Master Distiller David Rodriguez and his team. It blends 14 different tequilas, each aged for up to eight years in French and American oak barrels before selected and combined to create an exceptionally rare extra Añejo tequila.

PATRÓN en LALIQUE: Serie 3 is described as best served neat in a champagne or flute glass.

Moët Hennessy’s most luxe tequila

Moët Hennessy launched its super-premium tequila Volcan X.A in Australia in August, at a luxurious party in a stunning mansion overlooking Sydney Harbour.

Volcan X.A features a Reposado base that brings a level of sweetness and smoothness, and Añejo and Extra-Añejo, which add aromatic balance and complexity.

According to the CEO of Volcan de mi Tierra Julien Morel there has been a significant increase in demand for premium tequila and he hopes to “delight existing and new Tequila aficionados” with Volcan X.A.

“After a successful introduction of our core products, Blanco and Cristalino, we are thrilled to launch Volcan X.A: a pure and ultimate expression of Volcan demi Tierra savoir-faire, created to be appreciated around the best tables of the world.”

Volcan X.A is available in a selection of venues nationwide and exclusively from Kent Street Cellars, with a price tag of $275.

1800 Tequila’s deluxe Cristalino

1800 Tequila has extended its premium tequila range in Australia with the introduction of 1800 Cristalino, a crystal-clear Añejo tequila. 

The spirit is crafted using 1800’s 220-year-old Añejo recipe, which is aged in barrels for 16 months, before the 1800 Cristalino liquid is further finished in port wine casks. It is then meticulously filtered to create a smooth Añejo-style tequila that magnifies the flavour and aromas offered from the barrels, while maintaining the herbal and sweet notes from the agave.  

1800 Global Tequila Specialist Stelios Papadopoulos said: “As our new ultra-premium offering, we’re thrilled to launch 1800 Cristalino to our 1800 Tequila range in Australia.

“Beautifully layered from bottle to serve, 1800 Cristalino offers a truly spectacular sipping experience.

“Cristalino-style tequilas are now the highest selling ultra-premium tequilas in Mexico, and we have seen volume sales of this new style double in the US since 2020. And its success is really being driven by its appeal to both light and dark spirits drinkers – it’s smooth, it’s flavoursome and it’s versatile.” 

Cristalino retails for around $110 a bottle.

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