Canadian Connection to Tequila – Interview with Eric Brass, Co-Founder of Tequila Tromba

Eric Brass, Co-Founder of Tequila Tromba
Eric Brass, Co-Founder of Tequila Tromba

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 Rolling Stones’ hedonistic ways 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 favorite of cocktail sippers and knowledgeable bartenders with a creative mind, Tequila Tromba has a balance of substance and smooth taste.

Eric Brass shares his insights on Tromba’s story, his determination, and how to savor the spirit.

Tequila Tromba - Blanco

Tequila Tromba – BlancoJupilings: 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.

Tequila Tromba Blanco
Tequila Tromba Blanco

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.

Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field
Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field

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.

Tequila Tromba Distillery
Tequila Tromba Distillery

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-

EB: I love putting tequila into traditional non Tequila drinks – subbing out gin, vodka etc. for Tequila.  Tromboni (Tequila Negroni), Mexican Mule and Tromba soda are three of my favourites.

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.

Tequila TROMBA - Anejo
Tequila TROMBA – Anejo

Jupilings: Do you have advice for aspiring entrepreneurs to get ahead in your industry-

EB: Passion and persistence are paramount.

Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field
Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field

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.

Tequila Tromba Agave Field
Tequila Tromba Agave Field

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-

EB: Take life by storm!

Tequila Trombone Anejo
Tequila Trombone Anejo

Civic Tourism – El Campo de Cebada

Travel is about transformation, a catalyst to make sense of people’s behaviour and observe the challenges and beauties of our planet. Visiting museums, sightseeing in a double decker bus or tasting the authentic dishes are experiences that we all strive to accomplish when we are travelling. However, our curiosity to get wind of the meaning of life for locals is indulged when we visit the ugly or the unpleasant still the charismatic neighbourhoods. Exploring the local slums & the stomping grounds, cast light on motives that influence political, social or cultural movement that spawn in a community.

El Campo de Cebada, in La Latina quarter, Madrid, is one of those local hangouts, with graffitis, musicians, plays and wave of people moving in and out. It was a sport centre that has been demolished and now is a temporary community space por y para los vecinos – for and by the neighbours”, until the funding for new centre is raised. The confined space is about self expression, camaraderie and joy. The sense of belonging fused with personal identity is in the air, ranging from group of youth playing cards to dancing or music lovers sitting on a rusted chairs to enjoy the local artist to different groups of individuals with different backgrounds drinking, reading or relaxing. They are all merged in this rugged yet vibrant space to enjoy life.

 

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The wisdom to engage the community to solve the collective challenges, foster creative learning and allow the abstract feelings of subjectivity rise between the inhabitants and the street performers and musicians, underlies the purpose of this space.

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It made me wonder whether creating community spaces where the neighbours contribute to its development as a mean of dialogue and healthy activism can encourage respect, responsibility and compassion among the inhabitants?

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Dolceacqua – A medieval village in Italian Riviera

Following the trail of Claude Monet, the picturesque village of Dolceacqua, at the bottom of Nervia Valley, in the Italian region of Liguria is an expressive sight.

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Dolceacqua’s iconic stone footbridge that arches over the Nervia river, dubbed by the master of impressionist, Claude Monet ” jewel of lightness” and the Doria Castle depicted in 1884 is the birth place of powerful Doria Clan who were lord of Genoa in 16th and 17th century. The castle is in ruins however at the top, the restoration has allowed an area for festivals and plays with a panoramic view of the spontaneous nature of Liguria.

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The cobblestone walkways and alleys with twists and loops, the artist shops and the adorable restaurants all air medieval romance and characterize the gentility of the knights of the round table. Among the eateries, “Casa e Bottega”, accentuates the essence of Dolceacqua charm and marvellous cuisine.

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The primary economic activities of the region are olives, production of roses, mimosas, brooms and local speciality wine called “Rossesse”. The wine grape is aromatic and garrigue flavoured, suggesting bushy, wild and fragrant plants.

With every old town and city, there is a story and the legend of Dolceacqua is about women’s emancipation. The tragic love story of Lucrezia and Basso, two lovers who fought against the “Jus Primae Noctis”, which means the newlywed bride should spend her wedding night with the lord of the region.  The story recounts that while Lucrezia and Basso were celebrating their secret marriage, the Marquise’s guards kidnaped her to perform her duty. However, she refused and was imprisoned and left to die in the dungeons of the castle. Basso broke in the castle and forced the Marquis to abolish the law with a knife at his throat. The residents of Dolceacqua celebrate this victory with a sweet pastry called “Michetta” accompanied by “Rossesse di Dolceacqua” wine.

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