Nine Utterly Gorgeous Tequila Bottles

The bottles of reposado tequila have been rolling in at a furious pace the past few weeks, samples for an upcoming Wine Enthusiast review column. What is it about the tequila category that inspires a product avalanche?

Although I can’t yet speak to what’s inside, I have been awed by the beauty of so many of these bottles. The designs are so gorgeous, I had to snap a few quick photos to share.

Gorgeous Graphics

These bottles are stunning, no? (From left to right:  Luna Nueva, Magave, Jose Cuervo)

Bold Shapes

Each of these had such bold, beautiful contours – squared-off shoulders, elongated pyramid, circular. The photo doesn’t quite capture the impressive tactile  heft of each of these bottles. (From left to right: Gran Dovejo, Oros Azul, Corazon.)

Is that a present, for me?

Around the neck of each of these bottles is a little something:  a guitar pick around the neck of the Corrido bottle, a leather bracelet (“for good karma”) around the neck of the Karma bottle. Why, how thoughtful, darlin’.

Tiki tequila

How awesome is this? A green glass tiki totem inside the bottle with tiki-style lettering and bamboo graphics and a green wax seal over the cap. My immediate cycnical thought was “oh, how clever, now they can put less tequila in the bottle,” but no, there’s still a full 750ml inside.  Know any good tiki drinks that include tequila?


Why some spirits bottles fly off the shelf and others just sit there

Recently, I had the good fortune to be in possession of 70+ bottles of tequila. After posting the photographic evidence, I was asked, “so what do you do with all those bottles?” While a more sociable person would use the bounty to throw a party, I give away most bottles to my office-mates.

With very few exceptions, no, I don’t make the rounds giving specific bottles to specific people. Rather, I set them out and let everyone have at ’em. And it’s fascinating to see what flies off the shelf when price isn’t a factor. I thought this might be of particular interest to anyone involved in selling or marketing spirits brands. 

 Apparently, here’s what factors into the decision-making process:

1. Expert opinion. In other words, people get overwhelmed and ask me, “which one do you think is best?” They also ask one another, and consult their smartphones for online guides. “Expert” is relative.

2. Name recognition. Even if the spirit has a bad reputation, “I’ve heard of it” is a big draw.

3. Pretty pretty colors. Bold, eye catching bottles or labels fly off the shelf fast. Ditto for spirits with entertaining or salacious names or slogans on the bottles.

4. Expensive looking/gift-worthy appearance. Many people want to take bottles to parties. Luxe bottles trump cheap-looking ones.

And to a lesser degree:

5. Smell. Obviously, not a factor in stores with closed bottles. But given the opportunity, imbibers will pop the top and take a whiff – and if they don’t like the aroma, back it goes!

6. Recipes. If someone can’t figure out what to make with it, it stays on the shelf.  Bottles with recipe booklets on the neck tend to walk away before those without.

Frankly, it drives me crazy that I can set out 10 bottles of tequila (or any other spirit category), and when I return later the best of the batch is the one left sitting all by its lonesome. The lesson? It kills me to say this, but sometimes it’s what’s on the outside that counts.

So to all you distillers out there, the message is clear:  keep striving to make the best possible product you can, but if you want a wide range of drinkers to go out and buy your product, you’ll still need stellar design, marketing, and PR.