The Queen of Tequila
Bertha González Nieves – the first female Maestra Tequilera – gives the tequila industry a fresh start
BY John D. Adams
The face of the Mexican tequila industry has historically and traditionally been male. Bertha González Nieves is changing that. But that isn’t the only thing this dynamic entrepreneur is changing. Along with her business partner, Bob Pittman, the founder of MTV, the two are altering the way the world experiences and indulges in tequila. Through their company, Casa Dragones, tequila is no longer a drink that you quickly knock back before eating the worm. The company’s tequilas are meant for sipping and pairing with gourmet menus prepared by the world’s best chefs and mixologists.
Take a shot
“I’ve always had a fire to be an entrepreneur,” said González Nieves. “I come from a family of entrepreneurs, all of us in very different areas. While I was at university, I was elected by the Japanese government to represent Mexico as a young ambassador to Japan. As part of my training for the program, I learned about Mexico’s top industries.” And tequila, of course, was one of them. “After the second day, I totally fell in love with the whole process and what it means for Mexico.” Upon graduating magna cum laude, González Nieves had the good fortune to develop a 10-year career with one of Mexico’s largest tequila producers.
Then, in 2008, González Nieves met Bob Pittman, founder of MTV, and a successful entrepreneur in his own right, “in one of these New York stories that actually do happen,” she says. “We talked extensively about tequila and Mexico. He remarked how much he had always wanted to establish a tequila company.” The two set out to found a company that would push the boundaries of anything that had been done before. The result was Casa Dragones, an independent, small batch producer. “We believe that tequila has all the credentials and the history, while Mexico has the craftsmanship and the professionalism, to produce and compete with other categories in the luxury segment like cognacs and single-malt whiskeys.”
Rebels with a cause
Casa Dragones, named for the historic calvary who reclaimed Mexican independence, and González Nieves were the new kids on the block with a lot to prove. “We are not in the business of volume, we are in the business of taste,” says González Nieves. “Everything we do is with an eye toward pushing the industry into the future in a modern and different way.” It’s a philosophy that appears to be working. González Nieves has been named one of Mexico’s top young businesswomen by Revista Expansión, Mexico’s leading business magazine. She is also the first woman to be certified as a Maestra Tequilera by the Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila, the organization recognized by The Tequila Regulatory Council.
As expected, the company’s first product was something quite new to the marketplace: a Joven, designed for sipping and
pairing with designer cuisine. The Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila (Mexican Academy of Tequila Tasters) wrote in their 2009 tasting notes that Casa Dragones is: “soft and smooth with hints of vanilla and spiced undertones, balanced with delicate notes of pear.”
Now, the company has recently released their newest innovation: Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco, a small batch, 100 percent pure Blue Agave silver tequila, perfect on its own or for cocktails. “It is an unaged blanco tequila that is meant to have collaboration with top mixologists and bartenders,” says González Nieves. “We believe the product really comes to life in these collaborations.” González Nieves is living her dream and successfully revolutionizing the tequila industry. Bottoms up!
To learn more about Casa Dragones, visit www.casadragones.com.