Tag Archives: Diageo

Don Julio González Estrada, Tequila Pioneer, Passes Away

His main ingredient: Passion

NORWALK, Conn.–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–Statement by Diageo Global, Maggie Lapcewich President Global Tequila, Diageo plc

We are deeply saddened to announce that Don Julio González Estrada, the industry legend and founder of Tequila Don Julio passed away on Tuesday, March 20, 2012.

Mr. González’s passion, devotion and innovative thinking changed the world’s perception of tequila. His namesake brand, Tequila Don Julio is the world’s first luxury tequila and helped create a new segment for the category. We are immensely proud to carry on his legacy and continue to craft a tequila that is worthy of his name.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family and those that were touched by his pioneering spirit. His main ingredient was passion and passion above all else defines excellence.

More about the life of Don Julio González Estrada

Tequila Don Julio™ is mourning the loss of the man responsible for our brand story. Don Julio González Estrada, founder of the extraordinary tequila that carries his name, was 87 years old when he passed away from natural causes on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. Undoubtedly, this brings great saddens to our industry; however, we know that his legacy will live on.

Don Julio González Estrada, who came from humble beginnings, was born on the 7th of January of 1925 in Atotonilco, Jalisco. He was the third child of Carlos González and María Estrada Moreno. From an early age he learned the meaning of responsibility, a value he gained through working at his uncle José’s tequila distillery. In the 8 years he worked there he gained the experience, which unknowingly, years later would lead to the birth of an extraordinary tequila.

At 15 years old Don Julio González experienced the loss of his father, and became the head of his household. With the firm belief that success could be reached with hard work, Don Julio embarked on the difficult task of supporting his family. As a result of his need, he got a job as a farmhand where he received nine pesos a week. After seeing that his salary was insufficient, he persisted until he was able to start selling tequila in small wooden barrels throughout Ocotlán, Jalisco which belonged to the distillery where he worked in El Salvador, only a couple of hours away. This allowed him to gain those same nine pesos but this time on a daily basis.

Throughout his life Don Julio worked arduously, neither allowing himself to fail nor succumbing to adversities. He always fought and prevailed in his perseverance to achieve his goals. When he was 23 years old he wed Dorothea Garcia, whom he had met in Ocotlán and with whom he had 9 children. From then on, he and his wife created a mutual support, which they could count on for years to come.

Many describe the journey of Don Julio’s life as one that was honest, just and fair. He remained loyal to his beliefs and was committed to his work and family. The greatest success of his life is concentrated in 1942 when he started a tequila distillery which would later be known as “La Primavera” and by 1951, with the brand Tres Magueyes, he was on a path that would later ignite the traditions that have prevailed through Tequila Don Julio in its different variants: Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, 70, 1942 and Real.

It is an honor that each one of our bottles carries the name of the man who dedicated his life to one of our countries greatest icons: tequila. His values and philosophy will always thrive in the fabric of our brand.

May you rest in peace, Don Julio González Estrada.

Weekly Wine Press Round-up

Lots of activity in the wine world. These posts culled from my Google reader. After a day without Wikipedia, I went back to the old-fashioned way. I used my Google Search for these timely posts. Happy weekend.

Source: Dallas Morning News
January 18, 2012
By Rebecca Murphy

Château de Montfort, Vouvray Demi-Sec 2009

Chenin blanc is a grape variety that gets little attention. Yet it produces beautiful wines in a range of styles, from sparkling to barrel fermented and aged still wine to luxurious dessert wines. The Loire Valley in France provides several versions of chenin, including this elegant vouvray. The aromas and flavors of Granny Smith apples and citrus mingle with notes of dusty minerals. It’s light and slightly sweet, but has the chiseled acidity to clear the palate. Enjoy it as an aperitif, or with a fresh goat cheese or a sautéed chicken breast with a fruit-based salsa.

The Loire Valley is the home of many grand, glorious chateaux, including Chateau de Montfort, which dates from the 14th century. This wine is their flagship wine and they treat it with kid gloves, letting it ferment at such a cool temperature it can take 60 days to ferment to the desired sweetness level. They then allow it to rest on its lees, the expired fermentation yeasts, which adds complexity and a creamy texture before bottling for our drinking pleasure.


Expensive wine 35: Beaulieu Georges de Latour Private Reserve 2006

Source: The Wine Curmudgeon
January 19, 2012
By Jeff Siegel

image from shop.bvwines.com

Beaulieu Vineyard is one of the most important wine producers in California history, and Georges de Latour is one of the most important figures in that history. Without the winery and the work de Latour did there before World War II, the wine business in the U.S. would not be what it is.

Hence, any wine from Beaulieu that carres de Latour’s name should be special. Sadly, the winery suffered through a series of problems in the late 1990s and early part of this century — ordinary wines, scathing reviews, and even wines infected with cork taint. It was as sad as it was surprising.

The good news is that Beaulieu’s corporate parent saw that something needed to be done, and invested millions of dollars to do so. The efforts have worked, and Beaulieu’s wines are once again, as wine geeks say, showing well. The de Latour ($125, sample) is a well-made and surprisingly traditional style of Napa cabernet sauvignon, which made the Wine Curmudgeon quite happy.

It’s a long, long wine from first sniff to finish, with aromas of cedar and dark fruit, more dark fruit in front, a solid middle, some rich oak on the finish and much welcome tannins to balance all. It’s not hot despite being 14.8 percent alcohol, though it does need food — lots of red meat — to show its best. I had it with prime rib and Yorkshire pudding, a classic pairing.

Decant this wine for an hour or so to get the most out of it. And be glad that someone went to the trouble to save a historic brand. A price note: When I got the sample two years, it was listed at $80; the increase, even during the recession, shows how much Beaulieu has improved.



The Whisky Flavour Map

One of my favorite sites to visit when I have a few minutes is the quirky Strange Maps. Appropo to The Blend, a Whiskey Flavour Map appeared, reposted here, originally found on Malts.com. It is very interesting, and instructive too. Read on…

Whisky isn’t complicated, it simply needs to be explained in the right way.

The Flavour Map will help you choose a single malt whisky based on its taste. Developed by some of Scotland’s most experienced professionals, the map demonstrates that – when it comes to flavour in a glass of whisky – all single malts can be plotted on a simple grid.

Created by the renowned whisky expert Dave Broom, and Jim Beveridge, one of the industry’s great noses, it’s an innovative way of comparing and assessing single malts. The Flavour Map means you can identify how light or rich, and how smoky or delicate a whisky is compared to ones you may already be familiar with.

To make it even easier, within the map our experts have identified four distinct flavour profiles:


FOR A COMPLETE RENDERING OF THIS MAP PLEASE VISIT THIS SITE: http://www.malts.com/index.php/en_us/Choosing-Whisky/A-World-of-Flavour/The-Single-Malt-Whisky-Flavour-Map

The Flavour Map has been prepared and endorsed by the independent whisky expert, Dave Broom, together with Diageo Scotland Limited. In addition to the names of individual distilleries listed on the Flavour Map, the Classic Malts words, the Quaich device, the Flavour Map device and associated logos are trademarks.

Dallas Morning News: Already big, Glazer’s wants to get bigger in drink distribution

Bennett Glazer (left) is the chairman and CEO of Glazer's and Shelly Stein is the president and CEO. DMN photo by Nathan Hunsinger

Source: Dallas Morning News
Date: Dec 17, 2011
By: Brendan Case

On the floor of a Farmers Branch warehouse full of alcohol, workers in pint-size forklifts beep their horns and dodge each other in a scene that looks like a cross between a traffic jam and a ballet.

Wheeling down aisles lined with 22-foot orange and blue stacks, they pluck products from shelves holding whiskey, rum, gin, vodka and tequila. There’s also a climate-controlled area for wine.

Next stop for the merchandise: a cat’s cradle of overhead conveyor belts, all long avenues and hairpin turns, humming, rumbling and squeaking. Electronic scanners route the merchandise onto inclined conveyors, which carry the cases back to employees at ground level who load them on delivery trucks into the wee hours.

“They’ll probably be done about 3:30 or 4 o’clock in the morning,” said Derek Morrison, North Texas regional manager for the warehouse owner, Glazer’s Distributors. The warehouse — one of about 40 that Glazer’s operates — typically serves between 900 and 1,100 customers per day, moving about 250,000 bottles a night — and 500,000 during holiday season.

That might sound like a lot, and Glazer’s, which is family-owned, already ranks as one of the largest beer, wine and spirits distributors nationwide. But the company wants more — quite a lot more, in fact.

At corporate headquarters, a new team of executives headed by former investment banker Shelly Stein has been working with longtime family leader Bennett Glazer to launch an expansion strategy. Glazer’s has been buying up smaller distributors, expanding its U.S. footprint and eyeing Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia for potential international expansion.

The firm’s $3.5 billion in annual sales makes it one of the largest privately held companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Additional acquisitions are likely, Stein said.

“We will look at other states,” he said. “We will look at distributors within the states we’re in. And we’re very focused on international.”

‘Matter of survival’

Any acquisition entails risks and possible downsides, from job losses to clashing corporate cultures to overly optimistic financial assumptions. But for alcoholic beverage distributors — sandwiched between global suppliers and large retail chains — bulking up is “a matter of survival,” said Jeff Cioletti, editor-in-chief of Beverage World, a trade publication.

“Increasingly the retailers are the ones with the most leverage, just by their sheer size and scale,” Cioletti said. “To make a level playing field, the distribution tier has to grow and consolidate and find greater efficiencies because their profitability per case has shrunk as retailers have put greater demands on them.”

Larger networks also help distributors woo large suppliers such as Diageo (home of Johnnie Walker, Jose Cuervo and Guinness, among others); Pernod Ricard (Chivas Regal, Absolut, Kahlúa); Beam (Maker’s Mark, Courvoisier); and Bacardi.

A wave of consolidation in recent decades has led to a distribution business that’s increasingly dominated by a handful of players, including Glazer’s.

“It’s like Pac-Man: In state after state, the big guys pick up the small guys,” said Seymour Leikind, a consultant who specializes in alcoholic beverage marketing and distribution. “I do not believe in this environment one can really stand still if they want to stay around.”

Glazer’s tried a different path just a few years ago when it explored a deal with Miami-based Southern Wine & Spirits of America, the industry leader in annual revenue, with about $9 billion.

“We were roughly one-third the size of Southern,” Bennett Glazer said. “I felt like we needed to look at our options because we were at a disadvantage.”

The two companies discussed a joint venture and a merger, Glazer said.

But “after a year and a half and millions of dollars’ worth of attorneys’ fees,” the companies parted ways in 2009 after failing to reach a deal, he said.

Harvey Chaplin, Southern’s chairman and chief executive, declined to comment about Glazer’s.

So, Glazer’s decided to go it alone, starting the latest chapter for a company that traces its roots back a century.

Louis Glazer and his wife, Bessie, moved to Dallas in 1909 and opened Jumbo Bottling Co., which distributed flavored soda from the back of horse-drawn wagons, according to company lore.

Glazer’s is currently owned by descendants of two of Louis and Bessie’s sons, Max and Nolan, who saw an opportunity in distributing alcoholic beverages in Dallas as Prohibition was repealed in 1933. They expanded statewide later that decade.

The company grew, acquired competitors and expanded into other states, reaching $100 million in sales in the 1970s. It was doing about $700 million in 1996, when Bennett Glazer, Nolan’s son, became head of the family holding company.

He embarked on an acquisition spree of his own, working with Jerry Cargill, who was president of Glazer’s from 1999 to last year.


Stein is trying to do something similar, and he’s gone shopping since taking over in July 2010 as CEO of Glazer’s Distributors.

Just last month, Glazer’s bought a Tennessee wine and spirits distributor, expanding into its 13th state.

Around the same time, Glazer’s made its largest acquisition ever, buying Halo Distributing Co. Based in San Antonio, Halo distributes for MillerCoors and other beer suppliers such as Heineken USA, Diageo Guinness USA and New Belgium. Halo’s annual volume of 6.5 million cases of beer pushed the Glazer’s beer footprint to 28 million cases a year (worth about $530 million in revenue).

So far, the company has paid for its acquisitions through its cash flow and short-term bank borrowings, Stein said. Glazer’s has an investment-grade credit rating from Fitch Ratings, according to documents provided by the company. (Fitch declined to comment, saying the rating was private.)

Stein and his team — many of them former investment bankers and private equity execs — have also sought to bring a more data-driven, quantitative approach.

“We now understand the profitability not only of all our suppliers, but we understand it by convenience store chain, by grocery store chain, by package store,” he said. “Nobody was looking at the business that way.”

Earlier this year, Glazer’s began a four-year project to install an SAP software system to manage information comprehensively within the company and with suppliers.

Stein envisions an international expansion within the next five years, using its supplier relationships and logistics capabilities as calling cards.

The company wouldn’t try to go it alone abroad but would seek a partner to work with, Stein said.

“All the suppliers we deal with, they all have products in many foreign countries, so why should I only be here?” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at Mexico. We’ll look at Latin America. We’ll look at China. We’ll look at India, and other places we believe are growth markets for our products.”

Thinking positively

Will it all work?

The business world is littered with companies that faltered after bringing in high-profile managers from outside. Even more common are family businesses that fizzle after a generation or two.

That’s not news to 66-year-old Glazer.

Strong financial performance is the key to survival, he said, since it provides family shareholders with a good return. Also the company employs 6,000 people, including 1,000 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“I think 10 years from now we will be one of the big survivors in the alcoholic beverage industry,” he said. “We’re already a major player, but we’ll be a bigger major player.”

Assuming, that is, that he and Stein can pull off their expansion strategy.

Stein said that after years as an outside adviser to companies as an investment banker with Bear Stearns and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, he’s having fun — but sleeping less.

“I definitely sleep less now than I did before,” he said. “I used to go to sleep at night no matter how difficult, how complex the deal, I could tune it out. Now I dream about the business all night.”

Spirit companies that are embracing Facebook with great results

Patrón Cocktail Lab has been a huge success in getting social interaction with their on-fire brand

Presently, 1 in 13 people on Earth are on Facebook. Many spirit companies have migrated some of their just in time p.r. and buzz over to Facebook. A sign of the times?  Examples below, after the jump…

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