By : Gene Kizhnerman
October 12, 2017
Tastethedram had the pleasure to speak to Ralph Gonzalez the COO at the 3 Amigos Tequila. Ralph is one of the amigos that took time out of his busy schedule to share some secrets with us.
Ralph, please tell us a little about yourself. What were you doing before you got into this business?
RG: We are a small family owned business that is based in the west outskirts of Phoenix, AZ. We are farmers for generations that started in Jalisco, Mexico and eventually brought that tradition and many others to the US in the late 1960’s. We got into the business because we believed having a quality product starts from the plant that you make it from and we knew we could grow the finest agave.
Tell us about your vision for 3 Amigos Tequila? Tell us about the name?
RG: The vision for 3 Amigos Tequila was to make a quality tequila that the “working man/woman” can enjoy. We knew we could provide that because we were a vertically integrated business.
3 Amigos Tequila’s name came from my Dad, Santiago, he named it after my two brothers and I.
What difficulties did you initially have when getting into this business?
RG: Distribution was the first difficulty. When we started we self-distributed our tequila. We literally went door to door trying to sell our tequila to bars, restaurants, and retailers. It was difficult because most businesses want to purchase their liquor from one company rather than buy from a business that only carries one product. Our competitors did not make it easy either. Whether it was in pricing or promotions that they would do, we could never compare and/or compete on their level, so we had to be creative and think outside the box.
Do you distill your own Tequila or do you source it from other distillers?
RG: Our tequila comes from one distillery. We do not own the distillery but we do greater than 50% of their production.
What is your role and everyday duties.
RG: My role is COO of the company. We make sure our distributor is getting our product out into the trade and selling/representing the brand in the best way possible. The only way to make sure that you are being well represented is by working with them out in the trade. We do promotions/events in order to get the name and quality out there. We “change it up” every year to make sure that we are staying relevant and efficient in our industry, whether its entering new competitions, new products, or using new technologies that make us more productive as a business.
What have been some of the most memorable moments thus far in this industry?
RG: We have had the chance to work in big events anywhere from New Year’s Block Parties to the huge national championship games where 3 Amigos is in front of 80K fans per event. We have launched new products that we are very proud of, one being Ramona’s Reserve, named after the matriarch of our family. Another great memory is to be recognized by competitions and receive recognition for the hard work put into 3 Amigos.
What tequila expressions do you currently produce? and how are they different?
RG: We produce a Blanco, Certified Organic Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, Extra Anejo, Ramona’s Reserve Liqueur. The difference between them is aging, they all start off as a Blanco, but with the aging you get the color and flavor from the oak barrels. The Organic Blanco has the certification from the USDA and European Union and is ran through a cold filtration process compared to the Blanco. Ramona’s Reserve uses the Anejo as the base and uses agave nectar to sweeten and spices to really bring out the flavor, it truly is something different and special to our family.
How big is the Tequila market in the United States?
RG: It’s the number one market but it is also a very tough market.
Describe your product with 3 words.
RG: Honest, Quality, Family
The spirits market is leading more towards sipping the actual spirit, rather than just throwing it into a cocktail and having it become masked by all the other ingredients. What do you think is responsible for this push?
RG: I believe that our industry has made a push to educate the consumer and luckily for us, the consumers have been very receptive to listening and doing their due diligence when it comes to picking out a great spirit. We have some pioneers in our industry that have opened up the industry from “Quality crafted” spirits and I think that it’s important to acknowledge that.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
RG: You don’t have to pay a lot of money to enjoy a quality tequila. Try our family’s tequila side by side with your favorite and let your palate decide. Salud
Make sure to check out the original article HERE!