Stateways May-June 2014

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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StateWays Q Q May/June 2014 50 W hat do George Clooney, Justin Timberlake, P Diddy, Carlos Santana and Sammy Hagar all have in com- mon? They are all hitching their stars to tequila, with category sales volume and revenues both enjoying robust growth. Much of the interest and sales center around the super- and ultra-premium levels, with many new entries. Messaging puts an emphasis on artisanal craft and tradi- tional techniques. Experimentation with barrel fi nishes has created a synergy with the whiskey category. Generating waves in the media and blogosphere are a surfeit of category news, including distribution deals, acquisitions and new products. Tequila is moving upwards, as consumers buy into this versatile spirit, that's both sippable and mixable. "It's such an exciting time to be in the tequila category, with the growth we are experiencing," says Ann Stickler, senior vice president, managing director of tequila for Brown-Forman. A SPRINKLING OF STARDUST A few tequila brands have long been associated with celebrities, but lately the stars have really come out. Actor George Clooney, singer Justin Timberlake and rapper Sean Combs are all getting into the act. Whether this is good or ill for the brand depends upon how the stars are aligned. Cabo Wabo Tequila, for example, was born in 1996 on the back roads of Guadalajara by legendary musician and tequila afi cionado, Sammy Hagar. "With so many tequilas on the market, celebrities are often used to break through the clutter and give consumers a human connection to the brand," says Kathleen Schuart, senior marketing direc- tor, White Spirits, for Campari America. (The company's portfolio also includes the Espolon Tequila brand.) "The difference for Cabo Wabo is that Sammy Hagar is not just a spokesperson, he is a true founder and visionary of the brand as a whole," she adds. "Celebrities are driving interest in the category. Of course, we expect some of these celebrity associations to come and go and some will ultimately disappear," comments Jose Hermosillo, founder of Casa Noble Tequila, which has long been associated with musician Carlos Santana. Academy Award winner George Clooney is the daz- zle behind the Casamigos brand, which was launched Propelling the Mexican spirit into the fi rmament are celeb involvement, silvery expressions and celestial craftsmanship. By Thomas Henry Strenk Tequila's RISING STAR Tequila's RISING STAR

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