For World Tequila Day we thought it would be great to profile local businessman Craig Shaw who recently launched the brand Aguamiel Tequila. He chatted with us about the business and the challenges they face.
What is your business called and what does it do?
Aguamiel Tequila. Currently we sell tequila in Ontario and British Colombia, but will be breaking into other provinces and The United States soon – stay tuned for that!
What made you start this business?
I have always had a passion for the hospitality industry and had many opportunities to be part of it, but nothing felt right. As soon as I left my career of 15 years in the development/construction industry and moved to Costa Rica with my family, I explored the industry again. Once I learned more and explored the world of tequila, visiting Jalisco, Mexico and submersing myself into the industry and culture, I truly fell in love with the product and the history. Tequila represents a lot in Mexican culture but for me what resonated the most was the passion, hard work, traditions passed along from generation to generation, and the celebration & impact one product had within a country and culture. I knew this was what I represented and I had to be part of it by creating a product that also aligned with the same values.
What problem does this solve?
The tequila market is in a state of rapid growth right now and what is predominantly offered on shelves at a premium level is mass-produced and sold at a high price point. Aguamiel is boutique production premium tequila, but offered at a reasonable price point unmatched by its competitors in both cost and taste.
Who are your clientele/demographic?
Everyone! Aguamiel has a soft and inviting palette, which makes it very appealing to those newly exploring tequila, but also has the true agave character, which will excite and impress the tequila connoisseur. The 100% agave tequila is a very clean and low calorie spirit, which is much easier on your system than other spirits such as whiskey or rum, and much more flavourful than vodka. We worked hard to create a flavour profile that works as nicely as sipping tequila as it does in a cocktail.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
We are currently sold and distributed by the LCBO in Ontario and sold through Authentic Wine & Merchants in British Colombia.
Where in Toronto can we find Aguamiel?
We are currently being sold in 95+ LCBO location across Ontario. To find out what location is near you, please visit the LCBO website or app and search Aguamiel Tequila.
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services?
What is the difference between your tequila and other brands in the same market place?
Aguamiel sets itself apart from other premium tequilas in similar market places by our bottle, our branding, and our business strategies. But, most importantly the difference lies in the taste and quality. As soon a new person tastes our tequila they can’t believe how smooth and flavourful it is compared to others.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part of what I do is that I make tequila. It’s the most fun and beautiful spirit available on the market and I get to be a part of sharing it with the world. It’s a very exciting time to be involved with tequila because it is really beginning to get the recognition it deserves as a highly artisanal spirit. I love nothing more than seeing friends and family, spending quality time, enjoying Aguamiel cocktails while creating new adventures and memories together.
The worst part is that I am away from my family quite a bit as they live in British Colombia and our head office is in Toronto.
What is you favourite joke about your own profession?
Tequila is no joke (lol)! But in all seriousness, a lot of people joke about their university experience with cheap tequila and how it has made them unable to drink tequila again. Aguamiel is 100% agave, which is a completely different product all together. My goal is to invite those tortured souls to come back and experience what real tequila is all about – and maybe sip it a little slower this time.
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?
I can’t say enough about Notable Life! They have had a huge impact and have been instrumental in the launch of Aguamiel Tequila. From the core team to the entire Notable community, I feel so much love and support.