Ever since the Nahua tribe tasted the sweet nectar of the blue agave blessed by the goddess Mayahuel, and in time the spirit became part of the hedonistic ways of Rolling Stones, tequila embodies joy and pleasure. Fast forward, this drink has become a refined sipping spirit as consumed in Mexico and thanks to enterprising individuals such as Eric Brass, indulging in supreme quality has become affordable for everyone.
Eric Brass, the co-founder of Tequila Tromba, partnered with one of the world’s most respected master distillers, Marco Cedano, has created a brand representing formidable pedigree and authenticity, producing boutique crafted batches of high-end tequila. Launched in 2012, Tromba has grown to the #2 premium Tequila in Canada and number #1 in Toronto and has expanded in the prominent tequila and cocktail scene in the US and other parts of the world. A favourite of cocktail sippers and knowledgeable bartenders with a creative mind, Tequila Tromba has the balance of substance and smooth taste.
Eric Brass shares his insights on the story of Tromba, his determination and how to savour the spirit.
Jupilings: How would you describe yourself-
EB: I’m someone who loves to take the path least followed. I think people too often lean on the conventional paths with the least amount of resistance. These paths offer a lot of comfort and stability, but they also can offer the least amount of reward. I prefer to take an unconventional approach and be involved in the process. More often than not, I’m actively working on growing the business, so you’ll rarely find me sitting for too long.
Jupilings: How did Tequila Tromba start-
EB: I went down to Mexico on exchange with school and fell in love with Tequila. I always had the misconception of Tequila being that terrible shot at that horrible bar at the seedy hour of the night. I tried good tequila for the first time and was amazed.
When I returned to Toronto, I’d preach my new love for Tequila but found no products that spoke to me and my demographic. Most brands were either “cheap and low quality” or were too expensive and personified a bottle service, chest beating, look how much money I’m spending type attitude. There was nothing that spoke to my demographic and me nothing that was authentic and craft with a real story and pedigree behind it that had both substance and style.
Thus the idea of Tromba was born. A product that is authentic, ultra-premium and inclusive.
I had “no business” starting Tromba. I had zero experience in the nightlife, bar or alcohol world, no valuable relationships and no money. I started Tromba on a dream: against all the odds, with a couple of bottles, $10,000 and a backpack.
Jupilings: What makes Tequila Tromba different from other Tequila brands-
EB: There isn’t one specific element that makes Tromba different. It’s the complete process. Tromba’s distilling team are Marco and Rodrigo Cedano – father and son duo who have been making tequila their entire lives. Marco was the original master distiller of Don Julio, and Rodrigo was effectively born on the agave fields. Tromba is distiller owned, so it’s really unique that these guys are not only making Tromba but are owning Tromba. We have a rule at Tromba – no gringos in the kitchen which mean every single step of the production process is overseen by Rodrigo and Marco, from the harvesting of the agave, cooking, fermentation and distillation. Marco invokes the old traditional methods of how things have been done while Rodrigo, the younger asks why can’t we do it a new way, adding innovation. We call it modern craft, and it works.
Jupilings: What makes the perfect tequila-
EB: Much like great wine, Tequila has a strong terroir element, which means that the taste of the final product has a lot to do with the soil, climate and terrain that imparts flavour into the blue agave plants.
The craft of production is also a really important element when it comes to creating a great tequila. We age our tequila in Jack Daniels Barrels, which help to create the golden hue of a Reposado and Anejo. Marco and Rodrigo overseeing every step of the production process, and that attention to the small details is what makes Tromba such a great tequila.
In all, there is no such thing as perfect tequila. It’s truly dependent on people’s tastes and personal preference. Tromba’s taste profile is sweet, soft and citrusy which may be perfect to some but not for someone that prefers a more vegetal earthy taste.
Jupilings: What are the top tequila myths that need to be debunked-
EB: The idea that you need Salt and Lime to take shots of tequila. The combination is less a pairing and more a tactic to mask the taste of bad quality Tequila.
Another myth is about the worm or scorpion in the bottom of the bottle. The worm is not a mark of quality. Instead, it’s a cheap marketing gimmick for Mezcal, a product similar to tequila, but not made in the Jalisco Highlands, the only area that can legally produce tequila.
Jupilings: What makes tequila a good spirit-
EB: Tequila is one of the healthiest spirits you can consume. Aside from its low calories (69 calories per ounce), there are no refined sugars in tequila. It’s also gluten-free and vegan. To top off the amazing help benefits of tequila, it’s also the only spirit that actually increases endorphins. It’s an upper that increases your mood, rather than making you sleepy.
Jupilings: What cocktail trends with tequila have impressed you-
Jupilings: What are the most important qualities that are required to be a master distiller-
EB: Being a master distiller is both an art and a science. To make a quality spirit, a master distiller understands the fine balance of patience, the best balance of ingredients and possesses a palate that can discern the good from the exceptional.
Jupilings: Do you have advice for aspiring entrepreneurs to get ahead in your industry-
EB: Passion and persistence are paramount.
Jupilings: What’s one branding lesson you’ve learned in your career-
EB: Everything has to revolve around a reason for being and a why you exist. Once you stray from that and take shortcuts – you are asking for problems.
Jupilings: What are your favourite bars in the world-
EB: Would be like picking my favourite child.
Jupilings: Best piece of advice you’ve been given-
EB: Energy and persistence can conquer almost anything.
Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-
EB: Like our motto, you take life by storm. You need to be adaptable to the situation, no matter its highs and lows. Take a moment to step back, evaluate and make a choice based on informed reasons.
Jupilings: What is your life motto-