By Andy Young

Australia is one of Patrón Tequila’s most important markets outside of the US, according to the brand’s global marketing officer, Lee Applbaum.

Speaking to TheShout about Patrón’s position in Australia, Applbaum said that the brand is enjoying good growth here, but that it should be doing much better.

“Australia is critically important to us,” Applbaum told TheShout. “We’re seeing good early growth in the brand, it’s around 20 per cent year-on-year growth, but honestly that should be more like 100 per cent growth.

“This is what should happen and when consumers start seeing the swagger of the brand and seeing that it’s hip and it’s cool and bartenders know how to make killer cocktails with it, then it just catches on like wildfire and you begin to get that multiple growth.”

Capturing and communicating that “swagger” is a key target for Patrón and Applbaum revealed how the brand is planning to build its growth in Australia.

“Obviously for us the on-trade is so critically important, because it’s going to be pretty hard to get someone to commit to buying an entire bottle off-premise until they’ve had a chance to sample it. On is what leads to off. Not that we are not doing business with our off-premise partners, we are. But we are absolutely focusing on educating the trade, bartenders, bartenders, bartenders.

“When the men and women who are making the cocktails understand it, from a learning standpoint that’s great. And sometimes not just our brand, just getting them to understand the category, understand tequila.”

He added: “Then we start leveraging our partners on the PR side, so that’s the push for us; getting bartenders and mixologists talking about us.

“The pull side for us comes from the swagger of the brand, it’s the celebrity side. We don’t pay for endorsements but it’s saying where there are iconic fashion, lifestyle, music, entertainment, sport events in Australia, then that’s where our brand needs to be. The Patrón brand was built in the States on its swagger and its confidence and we don’t want to lose that, we just want to be able to say that we back up our style with substance.

“So that’s really what we want Australian consumers thinking, if there’s a hot event going on, if there’s an influencer, Patrón is there and people will be blogging, tweeting, posting on Instagram, and that creates the demand and so when it comes to the point of purchase then they have the bartenders at the great restaurants and great bars and the great mixologists leading the way.”


One of the other focuses for Patrón is highlighting some of the innovative work being done by its master distiller, in particular with its ultra-premium expressions. Patrón Platinum, Gran Burdeos and Gran Piedra are now available in Australia and Applbaum explained to TheShout, that these drinks show what can happen when the boundaries are pushed on a couple of key variables in the process of making tequila.

He said: “In the case of Platinum Patrón, the variables have been the highest sugar content in the agave, but the real key is that we triple-distill. So what you are getting is an ultra, ultra-smooth Blanco tequila. Some tequila aficionados may say that it is too refined, it’s too smooth; because in the triple distillation you end up losing some of the agave. But it is sinfully dangerous, because you can drink it all day long and you can easily put it in a cocktail. You can put it on the rocks with some lemon and you can drink it all day.

“The next boundary-pusher from Patrón is the Gran Burdeos, which retails for around $800 a bottle. The key variable that we have played with here is finishing in the barrels. It is finished in first-fill Bordeaux barrels and so what you are getting is a Cognac-like finish. It is more what you would expect from a darker spirit, it has a sweeter note, much more reminiscent of Cognac.

He added: “Now if you are a Scotch consumer, then there is the Gran Piedra and there are two variables here. One is that this is 100 per cent from the tahona wheel, so unlike most of our other tequilas that are a blend of the mechanical roller mill and the tahona stone. So that is the big volcanic stone, which crushes the agave and then we are fermenting and distilling with the fibre in there. 

“So you are getting that much more prominent agave note, the antithesis of the Platinum. The extra variable is age; this is an extra Añejo, in this case four years of age.

“That retails for around $600, but mid-palate, back-palate it is very much reminiscent of a Scotch, because of what it is picking up in the wood. 

“We’ve been advertising this at Scotch lovers and telling them ‘here’s your tequila’. We’re not shy about it being a tequila, we embrace that, but we’re saying that for people for whom Scotch notes are important, this will resonate.”

With these expressions, plus the rest of the Patrón range now available in Australia, Applbaum said that the brand is here for the long haul and the target is to enjoy the same sustained growth that it has experienced in the US.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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