Oh, what magical things can happen in one night in Cabo San Lucas. While notorious for its wild nightlife, spring breakers, and A-list beach getaways, this party destination is now known for something else: the birthplace of the world’s first ever tequila-mezcal hybrid. Branded as the first blend of premium Agave distillates—100% Blue Agave, commonly known as tequila, and Espadin Agave, used to produce the smoky mezcal—Santo Mezquila is the brainchild of Sammy Hagar of Van Halen fame and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine.
What began as a casual dinner between Hagar, Levine, and a third fellow named Jack Daniels (no relation to the whiskey) in Cabo in 2015, resulted in the beginning of a whole new liquor in the spirits industry. So how did this idea go from casual dinner chit-chat to a full blown business plan-turned-product launch?
“The concept came together with Sammy and Adam drinking Mezcal and agreeing that while they liked it, but the smokiness was too overpowering—especially when you had more than a couple drinks,” said Marco Monroy, one of Hagar’s business associates and current Santo Mezquila partner. “Wanting to find something new, their creative minds came up with a concept of blending different Agave distillates. Soon they were trying different blends, and a new taste revelation was discovered and they properly named it Santo. What’s unique is what is being distilled, not how it is being done. By blending agave distillates with very different taste characteristics, the result is a new flavor profile.”
Shaking up the Tequila Industry
According to Technavio’s latest market research, the global tequila market is expected to generate more than 9 billion dollars in revenue by 2021, and mezcal is only increasing in demand as consumers gravitate towards its more unique, smoky profile. Given tequila’s growing popularity, especially in the premium category, what’s the outlook for mezquila?
“Currently, Santo is the only mezquila on the market or in this category. Surely other companies will try and follow suit once the consumer has a chance to experience a brand new taste,” said Daniels, partner at Santo Mezquila. The question remains, will it become the new “it” liquor? Daniels asserts that “all indications to date tell us it [mezquila] will fall under the “hot brand” category and become an industry and category standard.”
The spirits industry, tequila in particular, is extremely competitive. While Hagar and Levine are pioneering the mezquila world, other celebrities have their hands in the business as well. Notable competitors include the Casamigos brand, co-founded by George Clooney and DeLeon Tequila, a collaboration between Sean Combs and Diageo.
“Once the consumer has the opportunity to try the new Mezquila flavor profile, we will then introduce an aged version of the blend,” said Monroy when asked about the next steps for the brand. “Santo is just beginning, as the combination of blends and aged products is endless. For now, we continue experimenting to find what our next aged product will be.”
Liquor has been around forever; moreover, people have always loved to party. Is there a reason mezquila has never been done before? “Mezcal and tequila, though cousins and related by being distilled by different varieties of the agave plant, come from different areas of Mexico, with their own inherent traditions. Therefore, no one had ever blended them to create a totally unique and different taste profile,” explained Daniels. “It is interesting to think that Sammy Hagar and Adam Levine, through their love of tequila and having been served a mezcal with its inherent smokiness, combined the mezcal with their tequila and discovered a new and higher spirit. After 2 years of testing and refining the taste profile and production methods, Santo Mezquila was born.”
With tasting notes described as an “intense agave aroma [mixed] with an earthy, light smokiness with a hint of herbs,” Santo Mezquila will retail for $55 a bottle at select spirits purveyors.