The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2013

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Page 51 of 148

Cruising Altitude A NEW LIQUEUR TAKES TEQUILA AVIÓN TO NEW HEIGHTS by Breanne DeMore / photos by Doug Young W Tequila Avión founder Ken Austin (right) and mixologist Isidro Gutierrez of NYC's Press Lounge. Pictured to the right, Ken's preferred Avión Espresso cocktail, the simple and delicious bartender-coined "Irish Espresso"— equal parts Avión Espresso Liqueur and Jameson Irish Whisky. hat happens when a brand completely focuses on the liquid and reputation, and throws caution, costs and everything else to the wind? Well, if you ask Ken Austin, Founder of Tequila Avión, he'll tell you that it results in quite the fairytale story. "We wanted to make the best tequila in the world," insists Austin. "So we put all of our focus on the liquid and bartender friendly packaging and never worried about the costs." An equal lover of tequila and aviation, Austin named his brand after the Spanish word for airplane and has since been the pilot as the brand has taken off. Refusing to blindly pick a distillery, Austin hopped on a plane to Mexico and set out to ind the distillery and family that would work with him to create a new, unique recipe—not just hand him one off the shelf like some others. That unique recipe uses only hand selected special cuts of agave grown at the highest possible elevations in Jalisco and then requires that they be slow-roasted at lower temperatures to maintain the natural lavors. "The way we make Avión is using the best of the traditional hand crafted techniques and then we take it a step further," says Austin. "Consumers love when you take chances and focus solely on purity." Then Avión took another chance—giving Hollywood a try. Doug Ellin, creator of HBO's Entourage and a close friend of Austin's and childhood friend of Kenny Dichter, Avión's co-founder, happened to be in need of a new story arc for one of his characters. A simple conversation between friends meant that Ellin could use the tequila as he pleased in the plot New Avión Espresso Liqueur and Tequila Avión would get the is the first line extension from kind of FREE exposure and awaresoaring Tequila Avión. ness most brands work ten or more years to achieve. Fast forward two years to the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, where Avión took home the exceptional titles of Best Tequila and Best Unaged White Spirit. "That was the most rewarding moment of this whole experience," explains Austin. "It wasn't me, or my mom, telling you Tequila Avion is the best. It was the industry telling us and accepting us for what we truly are, an incredible tequila." So what's next on the horizon for Avión? The recently launched Avión Espresso Liqueur has been gaining more and more speed. "I was originally against it being a tequila purist. But we spent eight months ensuring it was the premium product we wanted," says Austin. "Made with our Silver expression and the inest Italian espresso, the liquid isn't sweet or thick. It is smooth and actually tastes like tequila." may 2013 / the tasting panel / 51

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