Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Meanwhile While People Feared China's Fake Alcohol Industry An American Company Introduced A Faux-Tequila: Besado 100% Agave Tequila

This particular agave spirit has been on our radar for a few years now. Around 2015 we noticed some PR put out by an International Spirit & Beverage Group, Inc. (ISBG) regarding their Besado Tequila, Cavoda Vodka, and Dziaq Liqueur. The Besado Tequila was being promoted as a premium handcrafted triple-distilled 100% blue agave Platinum *highlands* Tequila delicately infused with an herbal blend of Maca, Damania, and Ginseng. Where exactly is the tequila distillate sourced? No idea. There is no available information anywhere or a NOM for that matter that identifies the certified distillery within the Tequila Denomination of Origin. Where is Besado bottled? Apparently at Florida Caribbean Distillers' Auburndale, Florida plant. Are you thinking what we're thinking, that 100% agave tequila can not legally be exported from Mexico to be bottled in another country? There are however a few various trade agreements between Mexico and other countries that permit the export of bulk mixto tequila to be bottled in certified facilities within certain countries. For instance, The United States of America and Mexico have such a Trade in Tequila Agreement.

Since 2007, the trademark ownership of the Besado brand-name has circulated through a few companies. In Mexico, the Besado trademark is currently owned by Core Groupe, LLC. from Miami Beach, Florida, USA. In the USA, the brand-name has passed through Core Groupe, LLC.OTR, LLC.Top Shelf Brands Holding Corp., and finally to its current owner, International Spirit & Beverage Group, Inc. (Houston, Texas). It does seem that all of these companies have been or once traded on OTC Markets Group, (previously known as "Pink Sheets"). That's right, a volatile, highly speculative market loosely regulated, if that, by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). There is another company linked to Besado, an Emperial Americas Inc. "doing business as" International Spirits & Beverage Group. Funny legal maneuver? Emperial Americas Inc. appears to be the only company holding a basic permit issued under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. The individual names that appear all over these various companies - in whatever capacity are: Mr. Alonzo Pierce, Mr. Jeff Freiberger, Mr. David Salmon, Mr. Jack Cacciato, Mr. Anthony Mazzo, Mr. Bruce Klein, Mr. Todd Waggoner, Mr. Joel Contreras, Mr. John Kingston, Mr. Graham Ross, and possibly a few others.

Now before for an alcoholic spirit can be allowed to be imported, distributed and or sold in the United States of American a Certification/Exemption of Label/Bottle Approvals (COLA) must be filed with and approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). There have been COLAs submitted for Besado Oro, Besado Silver, and Besado Platinum. A summarization: one submitted label contains "Premium 100% Oro (Gold) Tequila, Lighly Infused With Maca Root Extract, Ginseng Flavor, Damiana Liqueur Flavor, With Other Natural Flavors And Caramel Color"; and another submitted label contains "Premium 100% Agave Tequila, Lighly Infused With Maca Root Extract, Ginseng Flavor, Damiana Liqueur Flavor, With Other Natural Flavors Added". If it did contain 100% Agave Tequila legally this product would have to have a NOM on the label. There is no NOM indicating the certified distillery within the Tequila Denomination of Origin this distillate was sourced from. Jose Cuervo imports bulk Tequila (mixto) into the USA to be bottled and has a NOM. Check the COLA for Jose Cuervo Especial Silver (below) - notice the category 978 (Tequila), origin 81 (Mexico), and source of product Imported. This Tequila (mixto) is bottled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. All COLA submissions for Besado identify them as category 649, Other Specialties & Proprietaries not the Tequila categories 977 & 978 and Diluted Tequila categories 985 & 986. Origin 16 (Florida) and Source of Product is indicated as Domestic. And all COLAs have a submitted formula - meaning minimum 2.5% total volume contains approved additives? Maybe Bow Wow has a clue...

We were able to piece together that Emperial Americas Inc. indeed imported one tequila shipment from Jalisco to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, in late 2011. The tequila appears to have come from Compañía Destiladora de Acatlan, SA de CV (NOM1413). 'The Total CIF Value USD' was $4,125. Doesn't appear to be a large amount of Tequila. Can't imagine it is legal in the USA to import bottled 100% Agave Tequila to eventually dump in vats, adulterate it with additives and then re-bottle. New-age solera aging thing? Hi-def 'prestigious blending'? Is ISBG sourcing bulk mixto tequila from Compañía Destiladora de Acatlan (NOM1413)? Better yet illegally importing bulk 100% agave tequila - adulterating and bottling it in Florida, USA? God only knows. 

It does smell of good timing with the recent Luxco, Inc. v. Consejo Regulador del Tequila, A.C. matter over the use of the "Tequila" on labels in the United States of America. Albeit the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has to take some responability in not protecting the American consumer and for that matter Mexico from fraudulent use of "Tequila" and "100% Agave". If one were to simply interpret the TTB COLAs for Besado a few conclusions could be drawn. Here is a somewhat confusing fact, there are two categories defined by Mexico - Tequila (mixto) and 100% Agave azul Tequila. The tequila in this product is most likely bulk mixto-tequila (51% Agave azul and 49% other fermentable sugar source(s)) imported into the USA as outlined in the Mexico-USA Tequila Agreement. Even-though various articles - perhaps PR sub-planted on behalf of Besado's owners - seem to mention "100% Agave Tequila" a lot. This created confusion seems a tad disingenuous for the uniformed consumer. Some might even say fraudulent. Previously we have mentioned the perils of adulterated agave spirits.

We have not had a chance to try Besado, but the great people at Tequila Aficionado did. Their review did appear to make some investors happy on various online penny-stock trading chat-boards. Too bad Tequila Aficionado failed to mention bulk 100% Agave Tequila can not be shipped to another country to be bottled. Or if Florida Caribbean Distillers is even certified by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila to import and bottle bulk mixto Tequila at their facility. Credit Tequila Aficionado for saying that it could not be called a Tequila. Although allowing it to be called an Agave spirit presents a few pitfalls over the use of the word "Agave". Perhaps this product doesn't even contain legitimate Tequila. Maybe some people will be caught with egg on their face. Or maybe just maybe this is  be the best damn 'spirit' on the planet? Buy a bottle of the Besado Silver for U$D 49.99 or perhaps purchase 55500 shares of ISBG stock instead for the same amount? Or maybe just buy a more established 100% Agave Tequila from a family owned traditional distillery like Fortaleza, Hacienda Vieja, Don Nacho, or Tapatio.

Pump and dump is a scheme that attempts to boost the price of a stock through recommendations based on false, misleading or greatly exaggerated statements. Caveat emptor

We did try to reach out and call ISBG but apparently their contact number is out of service. If any facts or statements are inaccurate please DM us. Thank you.

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