Two bartenders are living the drunken 3am dream of many of us, their own tequila brand.
There is something exciting about someone actually following through with the dreams that we’ve all had after a shift. Sitting around with a bottle of bourbon, a lottery ticket and a whole lot of dreams we have all fantasised about our own bar, brand or night with Kaley Cuoco. However actually getting it from a fantasy to a reality is something that most of us will never manage (for the record Kaley is a surprisingly gentle lover).
One such dream has brought us Agave Thieves the brain child of two bartenders from Chester, Andi ‘Pand’ Lowe-Smith and Ben Iles. We had a chat with the guys to find out how it all came about:
BarLifeUK: So what is Agave Thieves?
Agave Thieves: Agave Thieves Tequila is the brainchild of two British bartenders with a passion for Tequila! Both of us adore agave based spirits so much, we started producing our own super small batches using the 5 litre mini barrels (you see in bars all the time) just for ourselves.
Ben owns a bar with a late license making it a bartender hang out when they finish shift. Once they started to try our home brew, we were repeatedly told we should be producing this for the wider market. Fast forward four years, and here we are with our bottles due for delivery into the UK this spring.
BLUK: How drunk were you both when you came up with the idea?
AT: We are both huge lovers of whiskey, bourbon and tequila. After finishing work each night, we would have a drink (or 10) and dream up how we would use methods of making whiskey and bourbon to make the ultimate tequila (more on these methods when we get our hands on a couple of bottles – Ed). So we decided to give it a go and the results were off the charts. We designed it to be all the things we love about our favourite spirits, rolled into one.
BLUK: Did it have to be Tequila or did any other spirits get discussed?
AT: It was always tequila. There is an air of danger around tequila, we love that! It’s also one of those spirits that bartenders, it has a deeply passionate following in the bartending community. We wanted that to translate into a sophisticated drink that is made by us, for people like us.
BLUK: How much influence did the fact you got to hang out in Mexico make in your decision?
AT: We’re not going to lie, being able to go to Mexico, real Mexico, is something very special. The food, the culture, the people, the tequila (mezcal/sotol etc) are something we will forever hold in our heart. Being able to be there, making tequila is something very special to us.
BLUK: How much time have you spent out in Mexico in the last 2 years?
AT: We have been out once. We had to put everything into place before we went out, once we were there, we had a whirlwind trip to get it all tied up.
This included going to the bottle maker to discuss exactly how we wanted our fully bespoke bottle, the shape, the embossing and so on. The barrel selection, the char level, the filtration process, how long it has to sit in the barrel.
In the few weeks we were there, we didn’t stop. Luckily we live in an age that we are all very easily connected with technology. This made the process very easy. Each month we would receive a sample of how it was developing in the barrel. Once it was ready, we pulled it from the barrel and had it bottled.
BLUK: Best story from your time in Mexico?
AT: I’m not going to lie, there are many! Maybe I can divulge over a tequila or two…
BLUK: Who is helping you make the tequila and why did you partner with them?
AT: We have partnered with Tequilera El Triangulo, a family run distillery in Usmajac, Guadalajara. Having met them through mutual industry friends, we started to Skype them to explain what our ideas were and the product we wanted to create. They were a bit taken aback with our vision but they loved the new direction we wanted to take tequila. After a year of planning with them, we flew out to meet them and get the process underway.
The family creates beautiful, artisan, award winning tequila, mainly for the American and Chinese/Japanese market. Having stocked their tequila, we fell in love with it, now having them help making our tequila is a dream come true.
BLUK: Any plans for the future/other brands?
AT: I would never say never. But, our focus is solely on this for now.
BLUK: How can bars and bartenders get their hands on it?
AT: It will be arriving into the country this spring. Once here, we want to place it into the correct distribution agencies so that it sits alongside likeminded brands. From there, it will be on mass sale for bartenders to get their hands on. We are launching our website in the coming weeks (www.AgaveThieves.co.uk) and updates on where it can be purchased will be posted live via our Instagram page (@Agavethieves).
We certainly can’t wait to try Agave Thieves and it has the added bonus of supporting fellow bar industry folk. We will keep you updated on when it lands and how you can get your hands on it and we certainly wish Andi and Ben the best of luck.