Drink Like a Lady Podcast

Making the “People’s Margarita” and Virtual Teremana Tequila Tasting with Jenna Fagnan

February 23, 2022 Joya Dass/Jenna Fagnan
Drink Like a Lady Podcast
Making the “People’s Margarita” and Virtual Teremana Tequila Tasting with Jenna Fagnan
Transcript
Jenna:

ULA was up over. The tequila was up over any spirits. It was up over 50%. I think a lot of it is just consumers got a little bit of fatigue with drinking the same thing, and also consumers are so much more educated now. So they want to know about the provenance, where things come from, how it's made and tequila is a little bit like wine, where it matters the terroir, like the soil, how it's handcrafted. And it really is a handcrafted product when you've got a great tequila. So there's so much fun story, I think in education, that during COVID consumers just really enjoyed that more than ever. And then also, when you've got the world's most loved individual making cocktails at home, I feel like everyone followed along with DJ who sadly can't come in today, but he's over here. Since he was making cocktails at home and everyone was like, what do I do with my time? Everyone said, you know what, I'm going to go order some tequila to my house or go to the liquor store and pick some up and just play and experiment and tequila so versatile and I think most people didn't think that they thought, oh, I could only have a margarita, but you can have a tequila soda. You can have a tequila and tonic you can do. Palomas. I love an old fashion with an aged tequila with our Reposado, for example, but it's really versatile. So I think there's just this whole new area for people to play in. Also probably the most important is it's fun. You don't take yourself too seriously. Cause it's tequila. You get together with your friends or your family or whomever and you have a tequila and you just can't help, but smile. And we all need that every once in a while.

Joya:

Why did the spirit space come calling? Cause you really made your entire career as a woman leader in that space.

Jenna:

Yeah. It was one of those things that did not happen by plan. At all, it was much more, I grew up working in restaurants and so I always loved the hospitality industry. There's just something about food and drink and just, getting people to enjoy life together that I don't know, I just hold it close to my heart. I had worked, in more traditional fields, like widen Kennedy and Nike when I was younger and then after business school I got hired by LVMH. And that was my first true foray other than the restaurant world in the wine and spirits world. And I fell in love with it and yes, there's really very few women. So that was it. That is daunting. Right? As a young woman, you want to see women like. Who you can project yourself to be. But I was really lucky and had some incredible male mentors, one of which was our CEO at the time and just a brilliant man, but he had a daughter my age. And so I think he just thought, you know what? I would want someone to treat my daughter this way. And so he really took me under his wing and taught me a lot. So I was very lucky since there were very few women role models. I had some great male roles.

Joya:

And what was the brand that you ushered back into relevancy while you were there?

Jenna:

When I started at LVMH, the CEO said I've got this brand. We don't know what to do with it. We are not sure if it's just gonna flounder or whether we should discontinue it. And he said, you can have it and see what you can do with it. And that was Dom Perignon. And so we had such an incredible time bringing it back to life, but it was really about people and a team that I ended up having the luck of building an incredible team, mainly young women in different cities around north America, who just breathe new life into it and that, and we also then really built the wine credentials around at the same time. Cause it's an incredible product, but it was so dusty. It was something that like your grandpa bought for a big like anniversary. It wasn't something that you really open up the bottle and enjoyed with friends or for a younger person's occasion. And so we had a lot of fun changing that.

Joya:

Yeah. So tequila is easily like a 16th century product. So how is it that all of a sudden it's become such a celebrity thing?

Jenna:

It's a great question and I would say we owe it to patrol because it was the first sort of high end commercial tequila to come into the United States. And so that was one where consumers said, oh, but tequila can be different than these inexpensive products. Like at least my generation had where you remember those next mornings and how you did not feel well because you're drinking mixed oat tequila, which is not good for anybody's body. But that was, I think the first one. And so it gave permission for new brands to come into this. Come into it and shake it up. And so Avion was one of the, was one of the first, at the time when we launched Avion. There was only patron in the high-end. Don Julio existed, but it was a tiny little brand and they're just like the U.S. Consumer, wasn't all that excited about it. And so I do think funny enough, entourage had a big thing to do with consumers saying, oh, wow, this is cool and sexy and I may want to drink it.

Joya:

And how did you find yourself named the president of that brand? Because that was entourage is a very male sort of focused show.

Jenna:

Yeah. So it happened before before it launched, I've got just a phenomenal business partner. His name is Ken Austin and he used to be in the wine and spirits business. Then he went and was one of the guys who started Marquis jet, but his love was tequila. I was working at LVMH. They had moved me over to run tag or your watches. So I was doing that, but I was so missing the wine and spirits industry. And sometimes you wake up every morning and you're like, I don't know what's wrong, but I'm not excited to get out of bed. And I should have been excited to get out of bed. It was an awesome job, but I just, there was something missing from the heart. And one of our mutual friends introduced us and he said, I don't know how you guys don't know each other. And I knew Ken's business partner, but I didn't know him. And we had a lunch that was supposed to last 45 minutes, it lasted four and a half hours. And we just talked about the spirits business and about tequila and how he was going down to keep the Keilani and met this wonderful family and was trying to make a tequila. And everyone was telling him he was crazy. And so I lived vicariously through him for probably two years while I was doing my thing. And finally, he said, you have to leave your day job and start this business with me. So we started it together, which was just remarkable and a lot of fun. We're still business partners today.

Joya:

And then how did you find yourself now? The co-founder of Terra mana? I can't wait to hear about the background of that.

Jenna:

It's so DJ, we call Dwayne DJ, and he is just a remarkable individual. He is, who is funny, like you meet celebrities and sometimes you're like, oh, they're not who I thought they were going to be. DJ's exactly who you think he's going to be. He is the hardest worker. He is so endearing and so thoughtful and just really a kind human being. He's always asking questions about the people like, "Hey, are we doing this right? Or are we thinking about this person or this kind of population?" He's very in tune and very thoughtful. And so he had wanted to start a tequila business for years for him. In his sort of growing up in his family, they would bring out a bottle of tequila whenever the family got together and his family is one of those families that get together, right? One of those families that probably once a week, they get together, they're celebrating someone, got a new job, they got a new car, but also unfortunately, like he also said in the tough times where someone passed away, they would just sit around that table and just drink tequila together and share stories. And so for him, he had this really strong, emotional tie to tequila and that sort of gathering and sharing. And so he had been thinking about it for years and he had been meeting with a ton of people. And then just one day his manager called my business partner and said, Hey, we need to meet you and Jenna. We're told, we've got to meet you guys. And so we met them and it was just so fun to talk about the business. It's just remarkable. DJ's curiosity. He just asks question after question and you, he really, his memory is scary. So if you tell him something I've learned, like I say, "oh, I think we're going to have this happen on the business." He'll ask you the next week, "So did that happen? Like what happened about it?" He just really is a curious person. That's why he's so successful. He's just very bright and very curious. And so we sat down and had a great conversation. And then also his business manager, Andy Garcia who's just brilliant as well. She really was sharing with us their strategy and what they really care about. And so it just was, we saw very aligned value systems because he wasn't saying, and we need a lot of celebrities and they'll say, Hey, I want to get really rich. I want to make a product that I want to launch it like ASAP. And they're not thinking. They're thinking about the money and sort of the fast to market. Instead DJ was like, "okay, let's think about the distillery. What do we care about?" So we built our own distillery with a Mexican family who also are part owners in the business with us, and which is unheard of that. I don't think it exists in any other business and definitely not any celebrity business. Cause most of the celebrity spirits, they do just contract work wherever they can, because it's a lot of work. And it takes a lot of time and a lot of money, but DJ was not hesitant to do that at all. So he spent years, a lot of money, and just really doing it the right way and saying, how do we care about the people? How do we make sure that it's being done sustainably? By hand. And one of the longest things that took is we have only, we only use copper potstills and they're these handmade beautiful potstills, but there's only a couple of people that can make them. And so when we launched and the business was going really well, our bottleneck was copper pot stills, and I'm kicking myself saying, oh, maybe we shouldn't have been like so precise, but we could only grow as fast because we told everyone we're only using copper potstills when we still do. So, what

Joya:

are we tasting tonight? What makes this special, this bottle that some of us has gotten some I'm hoping are still going to get tonight.

Jenna:

Hopefully you'll get a ring on the doorbell while we're doing this.

Joya:

I've watched some videos on this. And it's like there's beyond the copper pot stills. You've also aged them in a special kind of oak.

Jenna:

So that's the, I think you guys have the Blanco. So our Blanco is un-aged. But what it does is it's only mature agave, which may sound expected, but today it's unusual because the agave's prices are so high. A lot of people would just take immature agave and try to use it. It really affects your flavor profile. And so we only do Highlands agave from the area near where we are. And then we roast it in brick ovens for three days, we do an open fermentation. Then we do the installation in the copper pot stills. And so here, you'll see it tells a lot about the story. This is our nom right on the bottle. And a nom means it's a very specific place where you're bottled and made. So a lot of the big brands, like they'll have a nom that is shared by 80 other brands. So most of the celebrity ones will like, and we have our own no other brand shares it. So it's really unique and special. And DJ just started talking about that. And so also you'll see on here, it says distilled and handmade copper pot stills. You'll see our copper pot hidden over here. In the agave fields just so that we could, you know, people can storytell a little bit around it and see what they sort of learn about the brand. And then you've got on the back. Now, this is really unique. This is the first spirit that has a nutritional. This is what DJ said to us. He's like," why don't you have nutritional facts on the back of a spirit bottle?" And we were a bit stunned and said, "Well, Probably because no one wants to tell people like how many sugars or carbohydrates or all those things that are in it." But since we're so pure, it's very easy for us to do. So you'll see on here that carbohydrates are zero sugars are zero and it's 96 calories per one half ounce. So we're really proud of that. And then this is fun. So if you look at the bottom here, you'll see like a little bit of a design. We call this our two Jossy logo. And it's the first two letters of DJs. Three daughters put together Fiona, Simone and Jasmine. So we just thought he was like, I want to like include my daughter somehow. Cause he was thinking about family and legacy and such. So that's the bottle. So yeah, if you want to just open it up, I usually just use my fingernail or you can use knife just to cut this, or you can just go ahead and open it up.

Joya:

So we're making the people's margarita tonight. Why did we choose that?

Jenna:

Because this is just easy, fun, delicious, very light, very fresh margarita. And it's we just find it's just since DJ is part Polynesian, he's half Polynesian, half black, and pineapples, he grew up in Hawaii and so in part of his childhood and so he loves pineapple and so it 's our it's like a little bit his take on the traditional margarita. Oh, yay. One box came. It looks like.

Joya:

Yay. Somalis came Natasha yours. Isn't there yet.

Jenna:

So if you, can you give it a little smell? Oh, and you notice it doesn't have where you're usually like, get a tequilas smell where you're like, whew, it's much more like you get lemon grass, some citrus, some herbs. And that's really because of the terroir and then the process that's made it. So does everyone have a shaker or something that they can at least mix in or a big glass? Okay. Perfect. So what you want to start with is your lime juice first, so got your lime, you can just cut it in half on the cutting board. And one of the things, if you look at the recipe, it'll say it says two ounces, Tara Mon, a Blanco 0.7, five ounce lime juice. You can take those as parts. It doesn't have to be an ounce. So you don't necessarily have to have an ounce measure. You can use a little measuring cup, you can use a tiny little cup that you have. You can use sort of anything to measure and just change it to parts like two parts tequila, 0.75 parts lime juice, half apart agave nectar, or one part pineapple juice. Does that make sense? That's usually the easiest way to do it. A lime almost always is one ounce. So you don't even have to measure it if you don't want. So you can squeeze the lime into your glass or your shaker. You can do squeeze one of them really well. So you get the whole thing or if you're a professional bartender, this, by the way, if you guys have one of these at home, you can buy them at like the inexpensive grocery store for a few bucks. It will change your squeezing life. The best thing ever, no joke. Cause I used to use a one where you did the hand throw that baby away, go with one of these. I feel like I should be on the home shopping network talking about the citrus feeder, but these are just amazing because you can just go like this and it's just so easy. Your hands don't get dirty. It's lovely. So you do this one, like maybe halfway, right? So that you got 0.75 ounces and interrupt me if something doesn't make sense.

Joya:

So half the lime, we squeeze it out and put it in the glass.

Jenna:

So you're going to do three quarters of the line or close to the whole line. If you like more tartness, it's always to taste. But this is like this recipe. You can always add a little more agave nectar if you like stuff sweeter. So then you go agave nectar, this beautiful baby here. And you'll do a half a ounce of a agave nectar, but like I said, if you prefer more go more, oh, it's got some paper on it. You may want to take the paper off.

Joya:

You have a shot glass Jenna?

Jenna:

Perfect. Yes. So maybe like half of your shot glass or a little bit less, depending on how big your shot glasses. If you have a measure, the nice thing about measures is they'll usually tell you, like this side is usually one ounce. This side is like two bounces, that kind of thing. So what a professional trick is you don't put the liquor in until last, like that's a bartender trick. So in case you mess up, you throw out the cheaper ingredients rather than the more expensive liquid. So you've got in your lime juice, you're agave nectar.

Kimberly Brown:

Can you tell us real fast about this? This is a cool, I love that we received it. Can you tell us?

Jenna:

Yeah, no, it's just a great all. So we're we really like things that are all natural and fair trade. It's very much our philosophy. So this is just one of the ones that whole foods carries that we like, because it's got a really nice flavor and it's all natural and they do a really great job from a organic and fair trade perspective. And we saw it as fun. So you have agave nectar cause it lasts forever. What's great. Last for quite a while, at least. Okay. So then crack open your pineapple juice. Okay. You're doing one part of pineapple juice

Joya:

I gave you a bourbon glass.

Jenna:

So since I'm using half an ounce, I'm going to do two in, because I use my half hour.

Joya:

So two shot glasses.

Jenna:

No, one. Because you did half a shot glass for agave a day, right? Yeah. So one perfect. So then you'll add your two parts of Terra mana Blanco.

Joya:

Two shot glasses.

Jenna:

Exactly. There we go. The good stuff, the happy sauce.

Joya:

We need ice.

Jenna:

And then you're gonna add ice to, if you have a shaker or your glass and then you can shake away. I'm going to put it on mute. So it doesn't bother you guys.

Joya:

We need ice. You want me to put the salt down on this thing?

Jenna:

And the reason you shake is a couple of different things. One, the agave nectar has to break up. Cause once it gets cold, it gets pretty solid. So you really need a nice shake with the ice. And if you don't have a shaker, you can really take a fork and try to really stir it around pretty hard. Cause you also need the ice to melt a little bit. So that dilutes a little bit. Now put your shaker or your mixture once you did that to the side for a second. And you're going to take just like a plate and put some salt. I think some of you guys got salt, but some of them, I think the shipments got messed up and didn't get salt, but so whatever salt that you have, you put it on the plate and you take your glass. And you can take your leftover lime. And some people like just to do half, like I sorta like half of the glass, so I just rub my lime on half of it to wet it. And then you just dip it into your plate like this. So you see, I got a really nice, pretty rim. Definitely do that before you pour your cocktail in.

Joya:

We got the wrong kind of salt. We got the big rock, Himalayan, pink, salt. Now we are trying to get the Kosher salt.

Pawneet Abramowski:

Himalayan, salt works. I mixed it in, I salvaged the salt that came in the package. I was able to salvage it and I mixed it up. The seal broke, but I was crafty enough. I salvaged.

Jenna:

Perfect. And so what a true bartender does is they pour fresh ice in their glass and they strain it. Honestly, we're making a cocktail for yourself. You don't want to waste the eyes. I don't do that. You mean you can, but I usually am like, let me just go ahead and do it, use the ice that's in here. So you just pour it in and it should just go right. Almost right to the top of it. If you're using a traditional rocks glass. How is it?

Joya:

It's so good.

Pawneet Abramowski:

I'm a big time tequila drinker and this is perfect. The way that the bottle has a seal too, that is different from every other bottle that I've seen. It's remarkable. That was fantastic.

Jenna:

Oh, fun. Thank you. I appreciate that. We had so much fun designing it with great. I sorta call us a clean tequila because most tequilas are not a clean tequila, most tequilas add additives or Carmel color and different things to it, you know? And it's, um, and definitely DJ is all about when he puts it inside his body. Like, it's, he really he's so serious about it. I just can't even comprehend sometimes. Like when we're with him for a stretch of days, like he does not mess around. He's like exactly what he's supposed to be eating. I don't have that kind of willpower. Um, but the nice thing about it is really just sort of talking about sort of the cleanness and we try to stay away from like, oh, it's healthy because it's alcohol at the end of the day. Right. So we don't want to make people feel like, oh, I should be drinking something for my health, but I think what's nice is that you're going to be drinking. Right. Make sure you know, what you're drinking, you know, how it was made and you understand. That there are no additives in it whatsoever. I think that that's incredibly important from a wellness aspect and people do a lot of funny enough, um, professional trainers. They will only drink tequila and they have their clients just drink tequila from a spirits perspective because they have a belief that the body sort of breaks it down better. But I can't legally comment on any kind of like health aspects. Well, I have to say it's super inspiring to be with all of you, amazing rockstar women. So I was talking about it earlier to my team and I said, you know, this is so rare and so special. And I feel like we are beginning to live in a really special time where you can have. Such accomplished women, like all together on a call. Like, I feel like when I was younger, this would've never happened and it wasn't because they weren't out there, but it just, wasn't like an open conversation. So joyous, like what you do is so important and so inspiring for all of us to have. Uh, a platform to meet and to talk and be inspired by others. So I want to toast to you and say, thank you for doing what you do. It's just, um, it's remarkable and it's so needed. So, and to all of you, thank you for the inspiration as well. So cheers to all of you. Thank you.

Joya:

Um, one last thing, I heard your CNBC interview and you're very passionate about getting other women into the spirits space, especially into leaders. Um, can you finish with that note? Like what does that mean for you?

Jenna:

Yeah, it's a great question. It means I meet with as many women as I can, both in corporate and, and not to try to convince them that there is really a strong path for them. And we, and it's funny, you go into these big corporations and they talk about it all the time. They'll say, well, our consumer is 60%. Female, but then you look at that boardroom and it's all white male. And I still to this day had never been at a board meeting with another woman and I've had board meetings with pretty much, most Multinet. So that to me is not okay. It's absolutely not acceptable. So we have to really make sure that we bring women in, but that we keep them in the business too. And I think that is really important. That sort of, for all of us, it's sort of a responsibility. If you're a woman in our business or in many of your businesses that you're. That there's maybe not enough women in for all of us to be maybe more visible than we're more comfortable being. I'm a total introvert. So, and so this kind of thing, sometimes a little uncomfortable for me, but I feel like it's, you know, when, or when I'm speaking to younger women, it's like, it's something that I have to do and is really important for our business. So if any of, you know, any young women. And the wine and spirits business encourage them, because let me tell you there that I see change. I see change. It's not happening fast enough, but we're definitely getting something. Thank you.

Joya:

Thank you. Thank you.