BoozeMenus goes behind the brand with Arturo Lomeli, the Founder of Clase Azul Tequila to get the inside scoop on how it came to be.
BoozeMenus: Can you give us a quick backstory on Clase Azul and how it came to be?
Arturo Lomeli: After years of research in Guadalajara, Mexico, I launched La Pinta with tequila which was modeled after the local Ponche de Granada, a mixture of pomegranate, sugar and alcohol. The drink was very delicious, but this business is quite challenging and sales were up and down. I needed to know more about marketing.
In the year 2000, I returned back to school and received a Master’s Degree in Marketing. I also spent one year studying to become what is known as a Master Distiller. All of this new knowledge proved to be a wise investment of time and money.
Upon finishing my studies, I conceived the idea for Clase Azul Tequila Reposado. Clase Azul is a very unique spirit sold in a beautiful, ceramic bottle made by craftsmen. It is a treasure that lives on long after the tequila has been enjoyed.
Today, we own a factory in a small town in Mexico where we employ 75 workers…much of the town! We are very committed to this community and are always giving back to it to show our commitment to improving lives there.
My partners Juan Sanchez, John Hanson and I run our company like a small family business. Tomas, who runs our factory, owns 20% of the factory, so he feels the same commitment to quality as we do. The factory has a thriving business and produces many brands, including Avion and Casamigos.
Fast forward to 2008, and our business really got off the ground. At that time, in keeping with the high demand for quality, we launched the $1,200 Extra Añejo Ultra in Los Cabos. We sold our first 12 platinum, gold and silver embellished black ceramic bottles to the one gentleman. Simultaneously, we were featured in the Robb Report “The Best of the Best” segment. Also, in 2008, we entered the duty-free market and launched Plata, our silver, un-aged tequila.
Each of our tequilas have their own identity and are all very well received. Los Cabos and the United States have been excellent markets for us.
BM: You mentioned that you are in the same factory as Avion and Casamigos. What makes Clase Azul different?
AL: Clase Azul has it’s own yeast and a different process for cooking the agave. We also use different casks.
BM: What is the best way to enjoy each of the tequilas?
AL: The best way is when you’re happy, when you have something to celebrate, when your day is complete, when you want to toast to something. Clase Azul to me is related to achievements, the things that encourage you to want to be a better person. If you notice, the bottle resembles a trophy.
BM: You noted that the design was influenced by a candleholder. What other ways have you seen the finished bottles used?
AL: Many people turn them into lamps as they have done at El Toro Blanco. I’ve also seen them used as table legs, flower vases, and fountains.
BM: What are some of your favorite New York bars serving Clase Azul?
AL: El Toro Blanco, La Esquina, and Toloache which has some of the best, most authentic Mexican food. Haven on the roof of the Sanctuary Hotel is an amazing spot as is The Bowery Hotel. You can also get Clase Azul at Del Posto which is the best Italian restaurant.
BM: What’s your favorite cocktail for fall?
BM: Lastly, what can we expect from Clase Azul in the near future?
AL: We plan to launch a Mezcal in 2014. We are also continuing to work with our Cause Azul Foundation which supports craftsmanship in Mexican Communities.
You can read more about the foundation, ‘Mexico: A Través Del Tiempo’ and the one of a kind bottles here: http://mexicoatravesdeltiempo.com/.