The Tale of Nosotros
The tale of Nosotros
A Tequila-Fuelled Interview with Founder, Carlos Soto
SCOOPED AGAIN - JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO, CARLOS HAD HIS NOSOTROS DEBUT FEATURED IN FORBES.... IT'S GREAT TO KNOW THAT THE SSR IS LITERALLY ON THE HEELS OF FIRE TRENDS. READ OUR MEGA INSIGHTFUL INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDER OF NOSOTROS TEQUILA: WHICH IS currently holding the title of "World’s Best Tasting Tequila."
SS: First off, congratulations on winning two high-profile awards, Best Tasting Tequila & Double Gold. Starting a business is quite a commitment… what made you decide to dive into the liquor business and specifically Tequila?
CS: Thank you! Starting a business is a lifestyle change. It requires commitment, a heavy stomach and a willingness to make mistakes. It's a trial and error process and more often than not you’ll make mistakes. Gotta learn from them, and keep pushing even when it feels like you’re not going anywhere.
Ever since I moved from Costa Rica to California, I’ve been an fan of 100% de agave Tequila. In late 2015, my senior year of college, I had an assignment to put together a pitch with the premise: “think of a business idea that has nothing to do with technology.” We live in an era where everyone is trying to create "the next Uber of this", or "the next Snapchat of that." The premise challenged us to go back to a more “rustic” business model. Following a night out, my answer was pretty straight forward. Nothing gets more rustic than Tequila. During the research for the pitch I discovered a growing market and it aligned with something I really enjoyed. It was a mixture of research and a gut feeling!
So, I had my pitch, and even though I didn’t win the class competition, I became fixated with the idea of Tequila being a fun, yet viable business. So I booked a plane ticket to Jalisco and met with several distilleries down in Tequila. In every meeting I explained my vision of creating something different. Spanish, being my first language, made things a little easier. Additionally, having my two partners on board, Michael Arabanas and Ryan Haake, has been imperative to our success in such a competitive industry.
SS: You’ve been in business a relatively short time and Tequila takes some time to process, distill, and age before you know if your first batches are going to be good. How did you learn what to do and how to get started?
CS: There has definitely been a lot of serendipity with Nosotros.
Without really knowing much about the industry, I happened to sit with an amazing Master Distiller who has worked with countless brands and knows tequila like the back of his hand. He was the one who helped us create the original formula and make sure that our batches were perfect.
Tequila takes some time. Our agaves are grown for a minimum of 6 years before cooking them for Nosotros. This means that we buy agave from farmers who have met the minimum required growth age. At many levels, patience is key in this industry
SS: I understand there are three types of Tequila: White or Silver (no aging required), Reposado (rested or aged up to 1 year) and Anejo (aged 1 to 5 years). What made you decide on “Rested” (11 months) and …. do you have plans to introduce either a Silver or Aged?
CS: We have both a Tequila Blanco and a Reposado! The Blanco was our first product. 11 months later our Repo was ready.
The reasoning for going 11 months with our Repo was to really get the most we could out of our French Oak barrels. Anything more than 12 months turns into an Añejo. Eventually, we do plan on introducing an Añejo, however we want to be a little experimental with this one!
We do have a Mezcal that is almost ready. We are finalizing our formula and it should be coming to market by the end of 18! Our goal is to grow within the agave family!
SS: Which of the following is the most important part of making a great Tequila? Where the agaves are grown, the aging time, distilling, blending or the oak aging barrels? I’m sure all are important - but what really sets you apart?
CS: All of these come into play. An extra hour in cooking or fermentation in a formula can make a huge a difference. That’s what makes tequila so amazing. Every formula has a difference taste profile.
One of the main things that makes Nosotros different is that we source our agaves from both the highlands and the lowlands of Tequila. This means that we have an equal number of agaves from two different areas with different flavor profiles at the time of cooking. This blend creates a very bold flavor, starting with a sweet note (highland agaves), and ending on a peppery, earthy note (lowland agaves).
SS: Where's your target market and your target demographic?
CS: Our target demographic encompasses a wide array of people. We capture everything from young Millennials who can enjoy a quality tequila on rocks but also shoot it seamlessly, to the go getters in the Generation X who are willing to try new quality products. We’re focused in this relatively new wave of people who are understanding the importance of drinking quality 100% de agave tequila and who are tired of waking up with hangovers from low quality tequila.
SS: With the recent notoriety of these fantastic awards, have you seen an uptick in sales?
CS: We’ve definitely seen momentum build up. It’s hard not to pay attention when you realize that this brand, created by young kids, is suddenly the World’s Best Tasting Tequila. In an industry controlled by brand names, the awards help a little!
SS: What was the thought behind your branding? Who developed your bottle design?
CS: The Tasting Panel Mag described our tasting profile as ELEGANT AND REFINED, BUT STILL SHOWING DEPTH AND RUSTIC CHARM. I think this not only encompasses our taste but also our brand and experience.
The name of the brand is technically La Historia de Nosotros Tequila, which translates to The Story of Us. Drinking is a social experiment and it’s always about writing your story with the people around you. We have a quality classy product, yet we’re ready to get dirty if life allows it!
The bottle was designed by one of my best friends Silvana Volio. She is also from Costa Rica and a super talented woman. She went to Savannah College of Art and Design and now works at Kettle in New York City!
SS: What are the biggest challenges in the booze industry? Misconceptions?
CS: Booze is probably one of the most cut-throat industries out there. It is severely controlled by big players with money and certain distributors. Breaking these systems is not an easy task and it takes the willingness of people to work with independent brands.
There are lots of misconceptions along the way. One of the biggest ones I hear around is “if you’re going to mix Tequila, the quality doesn’t matter.” That’s BS. The quality of Tequila in a mix drink determines whether you have a cohesive and tasty drink, or if you’re going to taste a few flavors and then feel a masked alcohol burn.
Don’t settle. Your body will appreciate it the next day.
SS: What’s next for Nosotros?
CS: This year we will continue to grow our brand awareness in the state of California. We’ve focused on working with accounts who care about the quality of the products they carry and it’s been an awesome experience.
Down the road we definitely see ourselves entering other states and countries. We want to make sure that we never jeopardize the quality of our tequila in the search for scale.
We also have some events planned for later in the year. The best part about this business is being able to share it with old and new friends!
SS: And now, the most important cap off… What tequila drink do you like best?
CS: I enjoy my Nosotros Tequila on the rocks with a slice of orange. I think that combination really brings out the qualities in the taste. However, if it’s middle of a summer day in LA, I’m a sucker for Watermelon Margaritas at Sol Cocina in Playa Vista. Absolutely amazing.