Jose Cuervo names its ‘Don of Tequila’

Tequila Jose Cuervo has named Japanese bartender Koji Esashi as its inaugural “Don of Tequila” following the first global cocktail competition of its kind in the category.

Jose Cuervo Dons of Tequila winner, runners up and Dons. L to R: Laura Duca, Don Louis, Koji Esashi, Dona Araceli, Don Francisco, Sung-Min Park (Photo: Jose Cuervo)

Jose Cuervo Dons of Tequila winner, runners up and Dons. L to R: Laura Duca (UAE, third place) Don Louis (master blender), Koji Esashi (Japan, winner) Dona Araceli (PR director), Don Francisco (Tequila master) and Sung-Min Park (South Korea, second place) (Photo: Jose Cuervo)

The prize sees him named as an honorary Don for life and he has been given the opportunity to harvest his own crop of agave to create a unique blend of Tequila which will be labeled under his name.

“I’m so happy to have won the Dons of Tequila competition and to join the Jose Cuervo family,” he said after securing the title. “This was an amazing journey and I’ve learnt a lot. As a Don I’m looking forward to educating others on the great drink that is Tequila.”

Don Koji was among the national winners from 16 other countries competing at the Jose Cuervo distillery, La Rojeña, in Tequila, Mexico for the global final of the Jose Cuervo competition.

Over 1,800 bartenders initially competed for the prize of reaching the final in Mexico by uploading a photo of their own tequila serve at the Dons of Tequila website. The top entrants then competed in a national final where they had to show judges they have “the passion, grit and cojones to become a Don”, before the national winners battled it out at the global final, the category-leading brand said.

Juan-Domingo Beckmann, CEO of Jose Cuervo said, “From thousands to just one, we found someone with the passion and creativity needed to become our next Don.”

Jose Cuervo, which is also the oldest Tequila brand still in operation, sees the competition as one aspect of a long-term education platform for the Tequila category.

Don Francisco Hanjal Alforo, the Tequila Master at the 220-year-old producer, told the drinks business that as recently as 20 years ago Tequila in general was a “very very bad beverage”. But he said the work of the category at large has improved its quality and the message, through activity such as the Dons of Tequila competition, is now getting through to bartenders and consumers.

“Jose Cuervo will always be the leader in the category, so now we’re fighting for all of Tequila”, he said.

A full report on the competition will be appearing in the next issue of the drinks business.

Jose Cuervo Dons of Tequila 2015 winner Koji Esashi's finale cocktail, which featured tomato, herbs and chilli along with Jose Cuervo Especial Silver (Photo: Jose Cuervo)

Jose Cuervo Dons of Tequila 2015 winner Koji Esashi’s finale cocktail, which featured tomato, herbs and chilli along with Jose Cuervo Especial Silver (Photo: Jose Cuervo)

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