However, in the more than 25 years since the brand first appeared on the scene, most of tequila has turned upscale and there have been many celebrity-oriented and high-end brands enter the marketplace.
Patron is not struggling. The traditional line of the brand has seen its sales increase by 20% over the past 6 years to over 2 million cases during 2013.
However, by the company’s own admission, Patron wants to be more relevant to contemporary drinkers, those asking for more complex tequila, said Led Applbaum the marketing chief.
Now comes Roca, tequila not made to be a replacement for the flagship line of tequila, which averages between $45 and $55 per bottle, but instead will be positioned as a higher-priced, artisan alternative.
The difference is in the roca, rock in Spanish, namely the volcanic stone wheel weighing in at two tons also referred to as tahona. The wheel is used to crush baked agave and to squeeze out the juice that is the base of all tequila.
The majority of today’s modern-day makers of tequila abandoned the old-fashioned process a long time ago replaced by modern methods of crushing the agave.
The flagship Patron even uses modern methods to crush the agave, but the idea for the Roca was to honor an age-old tradition and receive purer agave flavor.
In addition, Applbaum said it helps by fermenting both part of the agave fiber and juice together, which later is separated as that technique adds richness to the flavor.
The Roca line has had impressive comments from those who have tested it. It is pricier than the flagship line at Patron, but it is much more elegant and deft at doing what the drink is designed to do, deliver full agave flavor.
The Reposado, which is aged in bourbon barrels from the U.S. for five months, is the best of the new Roca line.
It is enjoyed best straight up and sipped, never gulped.