This past week, Casa Herradura announced that they have upgraded their packaging (re: bottles) for the company’s 140th anniversary. Among other reasons, the new bottles are meant to better showcase the tequilas that rest inside and reflect their place amongst the ultra-premium tequila set currently occupying top-shelves everywhere. Companies and brands change and update their stuff all the time, so why is this any different? All-in-all, it’s probably not, as market forces often dictate that companies make these types of moves. While I’d like to think that Herradura is truly doing this to celebrate their history, I think that they see the train leaving the station and feel that they better get on it quickly. With all of the new brands hitting the market and starting to take up space on the top shelves of restaurants and bars, simply having good juice and a long history is not enough to draw the attention of the “in” crowd.
Regardless of the tequila’s actual quality, you need an interesting bottle design (Corzo), product placement (Avion), celebrity ownership (Cabo Wabo/901) or massive position-marketing (Patron) to gain “social” acceptance. While Herradura’s revenue has probably not taken a big hit yet, the fairly recent spike in tequila’s popularity has brought more new drinkers to the tequila aisle and those new consumers are likely not looking at Herradura first. Couple that with the bevy of new brands and a case could be made that concerns about market-share are the driving force here. All of these new tequila fans and Herradura is not in place to compete for them. Update and upgrade the bottle and it creates a perception of equality. Add to that the fact that they’re rebranding the US label as a Silver instead of a Blanco (“to leverage consumer familiarity” according to the press release) and that gives them a real shot at grabbing some of these new consumers. When you think about it, it makes perfect business sense.
Here’s my take – it’s a fancier bottle with the same juice inside. Call me a conspiracist, but this sounds like the perfect excuse to also bump the price a few bucks. Before you get sucked into the hype, just remember that while a bottle can certainly add to the overall experience of finding, buying, displaying, pouring and sipping tequila, it really doesn’t matter what kind of bottle it comes in if the tequila inside is truly worth what you pay for it.