Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Not Tequila. Not Mezcal. Sammy Hagar's New Agave Hybrid Spirit Venture: Santo PURO Mezquila 100% Agave?

Back in 2007, Sammy Hagar sold an 80% controlling interest in 'Cabo Wabo' to Gruppo Campari for US$ 80 million. Then in 2010, Gruppo Campari took advantage of the option written in the 2007 contract with Sammy Hagar and purchased the remaining 20% for US$ 11 million. Was it a ridiculous amount of money? Perhaps when you factor in the Cabo Wabo Cantina(s), Cabo Wabo Tequila brand etc. maybe not? 

Guessing boredom set in and sometime around 2011 Mr. Hagar launched a new spirits endeavour with 'Sammy's Beach Bar Rum'. Then in June of this year an article, "Sammy Hagar going back into the tequila business", was being shared on various social media sites. Many people were asking if Sammy Hagar was indeed getting back into the tequila business? Not quite. Was there ever a non-compete clause (NCC) with Gruppo Campari and did this NCC expire?  No clue. Perhaps this 'it's not a tequila, it's not a mezcal' project is a clever attempt by Mr. Hagar to circumvent such a NCC? And a way to appease the many die-hard Cabo Wabo tequila fans still out there?

In 2015, a brand going by the name, 'Santo Puro', was trademarked by an individual in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Then in June 2016, a limited liability company (LLC) in Novato, California, USA filed a trademark for 'Santo Puro'. This particular LLC also filed trademarks for 'Santo Agave', 'Santo Espiritu Mezquila', 'Santo Mezquila', and 'Santo Espiritu'. We can definitely picture the governing bodies for Tequila and Mezcal scratching their heads over 'Mezquila'. Then somewhere it was mentioned that this Sammy Hagar-Adam Levine join-venture project would in fact be an agave hybrid based spirit. 

Indeed the label indicates a "50% Distilled Blue Agave & 50% Distilled Espadin Agave". It does appear that a formula has been submitted for this product to get approval for distribution in the USA. Does this submitted formula mean 2.5% additives? No idea. Keep in mind this spirit has been filed under the Category 699: OTHER SPECIALTIES & PROPRIETARIES with the TTB. There is no indication where the two agave distillates  are sourced from or what region of Denomination of Origin(s) were involved. But it appears these two sourced agave distillates  are blended and bottled at Ensambles y Destilados de Agave SA de CV in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. And we are not familiar with Ensambles y Destilados de Agave SA de CV. All of this is perfectly legal under the NOM-EM-012-SCFI-2006 - which is probably the reason why there is no such disclosure where the two distillates were sourced from on the label. This spirit would qualify as a Destilado de Agave under such rules in Mexico? 

So here we are piecing together a story on this 'Mezquila'. We have heard a rumour that the 100% blue Agave tequila distillate component was being sourced from the distillery that originally produced the 'Los Cinco Soles' brand. The brand that Mr. Hagar emulated his Cabo Wabo tequila from. This is where it gets tricky, Patrón owns that original distillery, so the tequila distillate must be produced at the newer Distillery Tequila el Viejito. Now can anyone tell us where exactly the 100% espadin distillate component was sourced from? Can we expect any "Salud Con Mezquila", "Got Mezquila", "Mas Mezquila", "More Mezquila", "Forget Tequila, It's Now Mezquila", "It's Not Tequila, It's Mezquila" or "No Es Tequila, Es Mezquila" marketing jargon once this product is released? We shall see. The brand-name "Mezquila" has been trademarked specifically for spirits in the USA and Mexico a handful of other times prior in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The jury is still out if this could ever be sold down the road for US$ 91 million à la Cabo Wabo tequila. Maybe just maybe this truly is an agave passion project...** But on the off chance this product does become successful because you know ... people. Could its potential popularity affect agave sustainability? 

Familiar looking label

Sammy's new tattoo confirms the rumour?

** pleaseif we are in any way wrong with the details and information submitted here a 'Santo PURO' representative can tweet us or DM us here

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