When Arturo Lomeli was a young boy, his family would gather in the kitchen and extract pomegranate seeds to make a punch with tequila. His love for tequila saw him start producing the drink, but his first attempt failed. Lomeli had to go back to school and do a master’s degree in marketing, and when he went back to business, the product he created flourished. The Mexican-born entrepreneur now focuses on making high-quality tequila, which he exports to America and Europe. One of the products is Clase Azul Reposado tequila, and here are a few facts about it.
1. It’s Sold in Handmade Bottles
According to the Clase Azul website, decanters that the Clase Azul Reposado tequila is sold in are all handmade. Lomeli wanted to make his product unique and thought about using Talavera pottery to package tequila. However, he found out that Talavera pottery would not allow the bottles to be sealed due to how the product is made. Besides, it produced lead; thus, he went back to the drawing board and, with the help of his sister, designed a hand-painted decanter inspired by Talavera pottery.
2. It’s Aged for Eight Months
The aging process helps classify tequilas: Blanco is aged 2 months while Reposado takes 12 months to mature. On the other hand, añejo is aged 1-3 years while extra añejo matures after three years. Aging refers to the time tequila remains in oak barrels before being bottled. The more tequila stays inside a barrel, the more it picks up the flavor, aroma, and color hence aging requires patience. Since the Claus Azul Reposado is aged for eight months, it has a strong aroma of American oak.
3. How the Name Came About
“Azul Tequila” is a Mexican soap opera that aired between 1998 and 1999. The lead actress is Barbara Mori, who took on the role of Azul and according to Forbes, Lomeli had a crush on her. Therefore, when looking for a name for his tequila, he thought “Azul” was perfect. Unfortunately, it had already been registered. Since Lomeli was making tequila that cut above the rest in class, he tweaked the name and came up with “Clase Azul.”
4. The First Bottle Was Sold in 2000
When Lomeli went into the tequila-making business, he sold El Teporocho, but it did not do well, prompting him to go back to school. He wanted to learn all about marketing and gaining competitive and cost advantages. Thus Lomeli followed the advice of his thesis adviser – to create tequila specific to a Mexican region. After registering his business, the entrepreneur returned to producing tequila, and the first Clase Azul Reposado went on the market in 2000.
5. It is One of The Most Expensive Tequilas Worldwide
Mashed ranked the 25 most expensive tequilas in the world, and Clase Azul Reposado made the list. A 750 ml bottle goes for around $155, but it has been flaunted as being worth every penny. It is touted to be so pure and luxurious that mixing it with another drink or taking it a shot would not do it justice. Those who enjoy it believe the Reposado is meant to be savored. Of course, the Reposado’s price hardly compares with Clase Azul Ultra – it is aged five years and goes for $1,800. It still is quite an improvement since the El Teporocho that Lomeli began with retailed at $30.
6. Its Creator Turned Down a $1 Billion Offer to Sell the Company
The praises poured on Clase Azul Reposado, and other tequilas that Lomeli makes must have reached the ears of wealthy investors. The tequila enjoyed success in the market, resulting in Lomeli receiving a $1 billion offer to sell the company in 2019. However, to the entrepreneur, the business is worth more than the money in terms of how much it means to his community in Mexico.
7. Made from 100% Organic Weber Blue Agaves
Authentic tequila must be produced in specific areas of Mexico. It is a requirement stipulated by the law, but Lomeli said that regardless of the law, some producers cut corners. He added that using the best ingredients makes his tequilas world-class. The Clase Azul Reposado tequilas are made from 100% organic Tequilana Weber Blue agaves. The agaves are harvested before being cooked for 72 hours in brick ovens. The company then uses custom yeast to incorporate flavors, aroma, and smoothness.
8. Recommended for Dessert Pairings
Red wine should be paired with red meat and white wine with white meat. Like wine, tequilas too are made to be paired with specific meals. Tequila is versatile but pairs well with white meat; therefore, any meal with chicken or fish is ideal. However, the versatility ensures that you can still enjoy your tequila with dessert. Lomeli recommended it for dessert pairing. Hence, one of the pairings recommended on the company’s site is a bittersweet chocolate mousse with orange and hazelnuts.
9. It Has Given Over 180 Employees a Means to Survive
Since each Clase Azul Reposado bottle is handcrafted, tequila has created an employment opportunity in Mexico. Lomeli knew that Mexican artisans were barely making ends meet due to the rise of machine-crafted products. Therefore, he handed them a lifeline by packaging his tequila in handmade bottles. Each bottle takes 11 days to be a finished product, after going through the laborious process of baking, painting, polishing, glazing, and molding. The employees are majorly women with little formal training, and they grew up in poverty. Thus, Lomeli even provides transportation and two meals every day.
10. Its Founder Was the Master Distiller
Lomeli is credited as the master distiller when the tequila was first launched. However, he has since recruited Viridiana Tinoco to be the master distiller of all the tequilas made by Clase Azul. She said that at Clase Azul, the purpose is to connect and share the most exquisite Mexican cultural aspects with the world.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith