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Houston Couple’s Product to be Distributed Across Texas


Fort Bend County residents Ignacio Flores (left) and Nydia Flores toast to the success of Izkali Tequila, the new brand they created and introduced in 2011.

Fort Bend County residents Ignacio Flores (left) and Nydia Flores toast to the success of Izkali Tequila, the new brand they created and introduced in 2011.

SPIRITS ARE HIGH OVER IZKALI TEQUILA

By Judy Latta

Several years ago, Fort Bend County resident and Monterrey, Mexico native Ignacio Flores recognized a deficiency in the Houston tequila market. Premium tequila was available to consumers if they were willing to spend $55 to $100. Inexpensive tequila was abundant, but the quality was far below that of the more expensive options. What was missing, Ignacio determined, was a fine sipping tequila at a reasonable price.

In response, Ignacio and his wife Nydia spent several years creating Izkali Tequila, an affordable 100 percent blue agave tequila, which is handcrafted at a distillery in Los Altos de Jalisco of the western Mexican highlands. Their purpose was to introduce Houstonians to the kind of fine sipping tequila that was served with food at gatherings and celebrations of friends and family in Mexico. The word “Izkali” means “to be born” in the Nahuatl (Aztec) language.

The Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), the second largest distributor of wines and spirits in the United States, recently discovered Izkali, and offered the couple the opportunity to have their award-winning product distributed in a rolling launch across the state of Texas. Up to now, Izkali was only available in some areas of Houston. Ignacio says, “We are excited about our partnership with RNDC. They are a great fit for our brand and, as Izkali is gaining popularity throughout the city of Houston, it is the right time to expand to the rest of the state.”

The Origins of Izkali

Prior to developing the formula for Izkali, Ignacio, a chemist and highlytalented food and beverage technologist, spent three years traveling between his home in Sugar Land to distilleries in Mexico studying best practices for producing premium blue agave tequila. In order to be certified as 100 percent authentic agave by regulatory organizations in Mexico and the U.S., the tequila must be made from agave grown in one of five Mexican highland states, and it must be produced and bottled by a distillery of that same region.

After years of painstaking research and development, Ignacio was ready to put his preliminary tequila formula to the test. He began running blind taste tests, and using the feedback to tweak his recipe. He was in no hurry to get to market; he wanted to take the time necessary to achieve an optimum quality product.

“Nydia and I wanted to create a fine tequila that expressed our experience growing up in Mexico,” explains Ignacio. “We wanted to open consumers’ eyes and show them that tequila is for much more than just a margarita. It has been exciting to see our dream come to life and to merge the traditions of Mexico with the lifestyle of the modern consumer.” Adds Nydia, “Tequila is the spirit of Mexico. We wanted to share that with Houston.”

Launch of the Brand

Two years ago Ignacio and Nydia finally felt they had achieved their ideal formula, and they unveiled their Izkali Tequila in three expressions — Silver, Reposado and Anejo — based on the varying length of time each tequila is aged. Silver requires no aging, only sterilization prior to bottling. To produce Reposado, the silver tequila is placed in barrels and aged approximately eight months. The premium brand, Anejo, ages in the barrels for approximately 18 months. The aging times are approximate because the quality control process for completion is determined by taste.

Once their tequila was in production, Ignacio, a distributor of bar and restaurant beverage supplies, began introducing Izkali to his friends and colleagues in the industry. Nydia says that Houstonians were very supportive of this process. “Getting our foot in the door was easier than we expected because we are Texans,” she says. “It has been a lot of hard work, but it has been such an exciting project. It gives you so much satisfaction when people say ‘Wow, what a great product.”

Accolades Accrue

Since then, Izkali has gained wide acceptance at bars, restaurants and wine and spirits stores in the Houston area, and has won a number of awards. Most recently, Izkali Anejo Tequila won the Chairman’s Trophy or grand prize in its category at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York City. The   Challenge involves a double-blind taste testing, which means the servers and judges are all blind as to which product is being served. This takes away preconceived notions about particular brands and bases the competition truly on flavor and quality. In the same competition, Izkali Reposado Tequila won the Second-place Finalist Award in its category and Izkali Silver Tequila was awarded a Strong Recommendation.

The Flores’ take great pride in these particular awards because they were won over some of the most popular, well-known and expensive brands of tequila on the market. Seventy-three different brands participated in this competition.

Ignacio says that his tequila products are specially designed to be paired with food to bring out and enhance their flavors. Nydia personally recommends pairing the Silver with Mexican and Tex-Mex foods and with smoked salmon; the Reposado with Asian food and chicken; and the Anejo with chocolate, caramel and other sweet flavors. The Silver and Reposado tequilas are typically used for cocktails. Anejo is specially formulated for sipping neat. For more food pairing suggestions and food and drink recipes, visit izkalitequila.com.

Izkali Tequila can be found at a wine and spirits store, bar or restaurant near you.  The suggested retail is: Izkali Silver Tequila, $26; Izkali Reposado Tequila, $32; and Izkali Anejo Tequila, $37.

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