American Tequila Maker in Mexican Standoff
What would you do if you had a whole mess of blue agave, the plant used to make high-quality tequila, growing on your property? If you're JB Wagoner, you'd distill it and turn it into "Temequila," a premium spirit with a name that's a take-off of the word tequila and your home town of Temecula. That's just what Mr. Wagoner did, but as soon as he bottled it and prepared to sell it he got in trouble with some powerful people from south of the border.
You see, like Champagne, tequila is a regional name. No matter how good it is, an agave-based spirit made anywhere outside the Jalisco region of Mexico cannot be called tequila. So when Mr. Wagoner tried to market his American-distilled tequila-like adult beverage, the Mexican Tequila Regulatory Council apparently came down on him like a ton of bricks. They expressed concern that Temequila was too close to the word tequila, even though there were those extra, pesky letters in there and the bottle was emblazoned with an American flag.
Even though he has a patent on the name "Temequila," Wagoner is not allowed to sell his liquor under that name. In order to take off some of the heat that was being brought down on him, he changed the name of his drink to JB Wagoner's Ultra Premium 100% Blue Agave Spirits. Even after the change to this slightly-less-memorable name, Wagoner still seems to be having troubles with the tequila lobby. In fact, Wagoner claims that he was barred from a recent tequila festival in southern California.
The Southern California distiller alleged he was barred from participating in the Los Angeles Tequila Festival in Pomona because a Mexican tequila trade group "doesn't want me there," Wagoner said.
"The event is in my own backyard, it's unfair that I can't attend," he said.
Read the full article at NCTimes.com
If this is the kind of thing that gets you up in arms, learn more about the legal battles and what you can do help out, including writing your congressman, at Temequila.com. Or, if you're more interested in the drink itself, find out where to purchase your own autographed bottle of JB Wagoner's Ultra Premium 100% Blue Agave Spirits at JBWagoners.com.
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Posted by Jake Jamieson at November 21, 2005 6:18 AM