I was recently asked “What were your key experiences and learnings from 2020 for Tequila Villa Lobos and how will this direct your strategy for exports in 2021? We get a lot of emails and queries like this and usually answer in the ‘proper’ commercial jargon. This time I decided to give it some extra special thought. What did we REALLY learn from the year of the virus or as we call it, from the ‘Vid’ (Covid 19)? I soon realised that my answer in 2019 would have been completely different than my answer today. 2020 has sure been a learning experience.
Here is the answer that I sent to the Agave Spectator, a very serious and well informed Agave Blogger in the US:
What a wild year 2020 was. Who would have ever imagined in their wildest dreams that a worldwide pandemic would completely change the course of the world as we’ve known it till now! And for me personally would bring my lifetime of world travel to a complete standstill. Naturally this has also meant that I have not been able to travel to Mexico to visit Carlos and the team at La Alteña, the birthplace of Tequila Villa Lobos.
Luckily during this time, sales have continued to steadily grow. We are now exporting Villa Lobos (or VL as we call it ) to over 25 countries. Ecommerce is becoming a big deal for us now with bartenders and people alike at home, wanting to consume and learn about quality tequilas from the comfort of their living rooms. 2020 showed online growth of Tequila Villa Lobos in a number of markets. Canada for example showed us how liquor stores are finding resourceful ways to get customers buying ; It’s shown bars find creative ways to stay active. In October 2020 the ‘Golden Pineapple on Ship street in Brighton’ put on their first socially distanced cocktail competition with Villa Lobos being star of the show.
Most of 2020 has taught us about the amazingly loyal people that back the brands they love by staying full of life and tasting, sipping and mixing Villa Lobos. This is of course whilst going online with their ideas, words and reviews in order to build online tequila communities (such as yourselves!). I’d go as far as to say that these communities are almost like families, sharing, discussing and eagerly awaiting to see each other online for the next moment of agave love. It’s really heart-warming to watch and naturally we participate like any family member would.
Let’s hope 2021 allows us, first and foremost to return to Mexico. This is where my heart and my father’s soul (and taste buds) lay! Then we hope to get back to meeting the people. Whether it be the team at La Alteña, bartenders, and of course the fans and consumers . Good people in general want to share and create. This defines us as a brand and a family and this is what we have missed in 2020!
Nb. Would be nice if 2021 offers new markets such as the Ukraine, Slovenia, Bosnia and Croatia ( All in the works..).
Honestly thought, we aren’t really fussy about where we sell. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s really all about who joins us for this amazing ride called life.