It goes without saying that life is a series of decisions. Most are small, meaningless and uneventful. Others are potentially life-changing “fork-in-the-road” moments where choosing the unknown path can be hugely rewarding or completely devastating. Four years ago I was presented with an opportunity, a proverbial “fork-in-the-road” moment. I’ll save the dramatic build-up and say up front that the opportunity was not one that required any real risk-taking and, on the surface, did not appear to be instantly life-changing. The new path in front of me was more like a scenic version of the path I was already on – different enough to provide some new challenges, but safe enough that my decision was a relatively easy one to make.
I was presented with the opportunity to represent a tequila brand – specifically T1 Tequila Uno (and two years later Tears of Llorona) – as well as the chance to try my hand at sales, something I had never done, which made this especially interesting. Both brands are well-respected among tequila aficionados, made by acclaimed master distiller German Gonzalez, and I would be working for the distributor as a specialist. It was a part-time, weekend only job which meant that it would not interfere with my regular, long-time nine-to-five job. It was also for a tequila brand that had quickly become one of my favorites. Couple that scenario with the fact that I could hang out with German on a fairly regular basis and the decision was a fairly easy one to make. It also provided me with the opportunity to see if being a salesman was something I might enjoy.
If you have stumbled upon the Tequila Tracker site within the last four years and wondered why very little ever got written or posted, this job has been the reason. This site has mainly been about the stories behind some of the smaller brands. As long as I was accepting money to represent, promote, introduce and sell a specific brand; and post about it on branded social media channels, I felt there was an inherent conflict of interest in writing about other brands. While I’d like to think I could remain unbiased, just the perception of a conflict would be enough, in my mind, to lose credibility. I mean, do you believe your government representatives when they accept lobbyists’ money, vote to the benefit of the lobbyists’ causes, but then claim to be neutral? Fair or not, it’s about perception. So when I accepted the position I stopped writing on this site about anything that was brand-specific. (I have, however, continued to stay active on the site by tracking and updating the comings-and-goings of brands through the official CRT “NOM List” releases – which started in January 2013. As of this writing, there have been over 375 new tequila brands that have been introduced. Yes, 375 in three years!)
As of May 1 my adventure as a tequila brand rep ended. I had planned to give this path two years to see what might happen and I ended up giving it four. My intention in this post is not to go into any significant detail about my time as a rep, that’s something a future post might cover. Suffice it to say, I have met some wonderful people these past four years and helped build a brand that had zero sales or placements in the market. At this point, I recognize that I’ve taken these brands as far as I can as the “Saturday only” salesman. It’s time to put someone in that position that can take them to the next level, as German and his tequilas deserve.
In case you are wondering, stepping away was my choice and I leave on great terms, knowing that German will remain a close and respected friend – truly one of the nicest, most gracious and humble people I’ve met. I am very thankful to him and his team for letting me try my hand as the T1 guy for this market. It has taught me a lot about the industry – some good, some not so much. I have a new appreciation and respect for a number of people I had known prior to taking this role and for the way they run their businesses; as well as a lack thereof for a few others. To put it in a nutshell, it’s an interesting industry with some interesting characters and the last four years have been eye-opening – but again, I’ll save those stories for another time.
I can look back now and say that I’m glad that I chose this path when the opportunity presented itself. Now I’m looking forward to exploring and sharing the stories of some of those 375 new brands! Stay tuned!
That’s a beautiful story, thank you for sharing it with your Tequila family. It was your article about the 1921 brand that got me started down the path of collecting, enjoying and learning about this wonderful spirit. Your friendship and guidance helped me discover many treasure bottles that are now part of my collection. Good luck in all of your future endeavors. Salud my friend!
Thank you!! The 1921 story is easily my most referenced post. Look forward to raising a glass with you again soon!
I know T1 will miss you. Good luck on alllll of that new brand research!
Thank you Maggie!!
Congratulations on what you’ve accomplished, Bob. I very much respect the integrity that you bring to this community, and look forward to enjoying your writing once more!
Thanks Clayton! That means a lot to me and is very much appreciated.
A tough decision I’m sure Bob, especially working with such classy people. I can respect and understand your conflict with writing about other brands, while at the same time working for T1. I know I would have the same conflict. All the best in your future endeavors and I look forward to reading your stuff.-Lou