Eva Longoria Has Something to Say About 'Celebrity-Forward' Tequila Brands
The actress, who just launched Casa del Sol tequila, is joined by women who come from generations of tequila-making in Mexico.
For years, Eva Longoria has been approached by tequila companies eager to work with her, and, for years, she has declined. It wasn't until Casa del Sol, a new tequila brand that co-founder Longoria launched at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, that she felt excited about the opportunity. For one, she actually liked how the tequila tasted. But more importantly, she was eager to join a team run largely by women, who come from generations of tequila-making in Mexico.
"You would think there were more Mexican-backed brands, and you would think there were more women in it, but there aren't," Longoria told Food & Wine. "Our distillery is 100% Mexican, and the CEO of the distillery is a woman. For me, it was never, 'Oh, what's the next thing I could sell?' There is really an authentic connection I have with not only the category of tequila, but this particular brand."
In our interview at Aspen, the Mexican-American actress expressed a deep skepticism of celebrity-fronted tequila companies and of "gentrifying the process." Longoria never felt the need to reinvent an art form that has existed for thousands of years, passed down through generations of artisans in the Jalisco state of Mexico.
"Instead of being celebrity-forward, Casa del Sol is about the legacy and the liquid," she said. "It's really about the tradition of sustainability—how they farm the agave, how they pay fair wages."
Longoria is joined by female power-players in the tequila industry. Alejandra Pelayo, the "protégé and goddaughter" of Patron creator Francisco Alcaraz, serves as the head of production. Mariana Padilla, daughter of Jalisco's own Paco Padilla, is the Artesana Tequilera.
"Tequila can't be celebrity-led because it is about craftsmanship and art," Longoria said. "Because it is an art."
The actress notes that some newer brands are cutting down agave too soon, and not replanting it, or artificially watering the agave. There's overproduction throughout Jalisco. "To be able to honor the tradition and craftsmanship of what tequila is, that's what I'm most excited about," she said. "We need to have more friends that make tequila this way, instead of an exploitative way." For every agave plant Casa del Sol cuts, they plant a new one. The company also doesn't use gas to burn the agave, but rather agave fibers.
"We have so many generations of tequila makers behind us," Longoria said. "They know exactly what they are doing in the tequila region; they have done it for centuries."
Casa Del Sol currently offers three tequilas: a Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo. The tequilas are made from 100% Blue Weber agave from the highlands of Jalisco, and the Reposado and Añejo are aged in Cognac barrels sourced from France.
Longoria says she has officially switched her end-of-day glass of wine to a glass of tequila.
"Having wine at the end of the day really put me to sleep," she said. "Having tequila at the end of the day is like a high five."
Casa Del Sol is currently available at select retailers and restaurants throughout California, Colorado, and Florida — or can be ordered as part of a pre-sale online at casadelsoltequila.com. Bottles will roll out nationally early next year.