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Ex-Banker Goes Organic With Tequila;


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#1 Mike Morales

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 07:23 PM

From Orange County Business Journal...

Short blurb on Chris and 4 Copas....

Organic Tequila

Chris Melendez sure knows how to change careers.

Melendez, a former banker who led companies such as Newport Beach’s Tempest Asset Management, now is doing tequila.

Melendez cofounded 4 Copas Tequila, a Newport Beach-based company that makes 100% organic tequila. The company is private and doesn’t disclose sales. It counts five workers.

He started the business in 2004 with his father and two partners.

“I was working all over the world for large commercial banks and it was great but at the end I just wanted to do something more fulfilling,” Melendez said. “This job is just as time consuming but it’s so much more fun.”

4 Copas contracts with an organic distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, to make its tequila. The company’s Anejo, Blanco and Reposado tequilas are made with Weber blue agave plants that are grown organically.

4 Copas cultivates and supervises its own agave plantations. The agave is baked and then distilled in stills. It’s then poured into hand blown, decorated glass bottles.

Miami-based Southern Wine & Spirits of America helps distribute the liquor, which runs $55 to $90. It’s sold in stores, restaurants, bars and nightclubs in California, New York, Hawaii, Texas, Nevada and Arizona.

Jessica Alba and Tom Leykis have been seen sipping it.

Rivals include Las Vegas-based Patrón Spirits Co. and OC local, Trago International Inc. in San Juan Capistrano, among others.

4 Copas also produces agave nectar, an all-natural sweetener that’s diabetic-friendly. It’s sweeter but healthier than sugar, Melendez said.



#2 lirubis

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 06:41 PM

So, that means if the additives (color, aromas, etc...) are organic too, there is no problem? Just asking... ;)

#3 Ian Chadwick

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 06:54 AM

Jessica Alba and Tom Leykis have been seen sipping it.

I always question the inclusion of the gitterati in promotion and advertising of any product. For me, they're a good reason to avoid a product because few seem capable of competently making decisions about any important aspect of their their lives, much less about what they drink.

For me, a Booker-prize author who drinks a certain brand, a world chess master who likes a particular sip, or a renowned geneticist would make me pay attention to the brands chosen. I'd even be impressed with what some film directors choose. These are people who work at making conscious decisions, who aren't just posed with a product.

I'd take the advice of my car mechanic or my doctor first. They have to live in the same world I do; they have to make the same sort of decisions as I do about groceries, what shirts to buy, where to fish, when to fill the car up, where to park and what to microwave for dinner... they'll make their choices based on criteria I can appreciate or understand.

Hell, I'd take the advice of my cats first, over any actor's recommendation...

#4 La Hora Azul

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 06:57 PM

From Orange County Business Journal...

Short blurb on Chris and 4 Copas....

Organic Tequila

Chris Melendez sure knows how to change careers.

Melendez, a former banker who led companies such as Newport Beach’s Tempest Asset Management, now is doing tequila.

Melendez cofounded 4 Copas Tequila, a Newport Beach-based company that makes 100% organic tequila. The company is private and doesn’t disclose sales. It counts five workers.

He started the business in 2004 with his father and two partners.

“I was working all over the world for large commercial banks and it was great but at the end I just wanted to do something more fulfilling,” Melendez said. “This job is just as time consuming but it’s so much more fun.”

4 Copas contracts with an organic distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, to make its tequila. The company’s Anejo, Blanco and Reposado tequilas are made with Weber blue agave plants that are grown organically.

4 Copas cultivates and supervises its own agave plantations. The agave is baked and then distilled in stills. It’s then poured into hand blown, decorated glass bottles.

Miami-based Southern Wine & Spirits of America helps distribute the liquor, which runs $55 to $90. It’s sold in stores, restaurants, bars and nightclubs in California, New York, Hawaii, Texas, Nevada and Arizona.

Jessica Alba and Tom Leykis have been seen sipping it.

Rivals include Las Vegas-based Patrón Spirits Co. and OC local, Trago International Inc. in San Juan Capistrano, among others.

4 Copas also produces agave nectar, an all-natural sweetener that’s diabetic-friendly. It’s sweeter but healthier than sugar, Melendez said.


Amazing what the press derives from an interview. Even more amazing what people derive from text. I see a reply about color or additives being organic in the same thread as this topic. Librius, I would like to ask an exact question, not to be lost in translation. Where on this good earth did you equate color or additives with 4 Copas?

Ian, if you would like to have a go at me, you could sure pick a better topic. How about cat juggling?

#5 *45*

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 07:02 PM

Yes Ian, as many would, but SoCal is a different planet. We lead the world in many trends and ideas, so "Name dropping" and getting your product into the "spotlight" is a huge deal. As most people in this world are sheep, when they see others doing something, they will follow. At the very least, the product is recognizable. Getting the public to identify with any product is what marketing and sales is about.

#6 Wichie13

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 09:34 PM

I would have to say i'm with Ian on the name dropping thing I don't really care what star drinks a tequila, if I didn't know better I would possibly avoid it for that marketing. But thats what it is marketing it may work for the masses but I trust the opinions of the forum members and my own taste buds the most. And we all know (some of us) that 4 copas is a first rate Tequila, and they are first rate people as well. So as far as we are concerned who cares about the marketing I only care about the product and the people who make it.

Chris, maybe Brad would know this better but when do you think the New organic blanco will start hitting the shelves in Ontario? We have a bottle of the old and a bottle of the new organic and I think you guys did more then just get organic cert. ;) could be in my head but I am in a 4 copas organic blanco groove now and we will need to find a replacement bottle soon. I am really digging it, did you guys change the process/formula as well as go organic.

#7 *45*

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 11:17 PM

Jarrett-
4 Copas has been using the organic process for quite some time. It wasn't until this year that they received their certification. But something did change with the blanco not only from this year to last year, but from the year before. Although, if I remember correctly, the '07 is much more like the '05. Those are more earthy while the '06 was more floral.

#8 Mike Morales

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 08:11 PM

Jessica Alba and Tom Leykis have been seen sipping it.

I always question the inclusion of the gitterati in promotion and advertising of any product. For me, they're a good reason to avoid a product because few seem capable of competently making decisions about any important aspect of their their lives, much less about what they drink.


Since the early days when Bing Crosby and Phil Harris first imported Herradura, or when John Wayne and friends were guinea pigs for the earliest margarita recipes (rumored to be named after an actress!), tequila has been inextricably meshed with Hollywood.

For me, a Booker-prize author who drinks a certain brand, a world chess master who likes a particular sip, or a renowned geneticist would make me pay attention to the brands chosen. I'd even be impressed with what some film directors choose. These are people who work at making conscious decisions, who aren't just posed with a product.


For this reason, there are several well known brands that decide not to mention which celebrities enjoy their tequilas. Even when doing so would problably increase their case movements. They do, however, sponsor big name events which these stars attend. (Guilty by association?) This way they also avoid any negative publicity like last year's Mel Gibson/Cazadores incident.

Getting the public to identify with any product is what marketing and sales is about.


There's so much competition now when a new label breaks into the market that they have only a short time to "make it" and grab significant market share. If they have limited promotional monies things could get bleak for them in a hurry. Their chances of survival are increased when a "buzz" is created. And who creates the biggest buzz but Hollywood's movie elite.

Perhaps the best example of using star power is The Margarita King. He can still be seen rubbing elbows with all sorts of celebrities.

The cycle has now come around the other direction. Record companies have signed agreements with developers and marketers of alcoholic beverages to have their recording stars endorse or develop new products. Drinks Americas did just that recently with Interscope Geffen A&M. It's no secret that the record industry has been slumping while the premium alcoholic segment is in orbit.

But thats what it is marketing it may work for the masses but I trust the opinions of the forum members and my own taste buds the most.


While I'd trust your taste buds even more than mine, we'd be foolish to think that a few tequila aficionados alone could support the influx of new brands each month. Marketing does just that. It doesn't discriminate. It reaches everyone from the newbie to the connoisseur. In a way, we're helping to create the buzz, too.

I'd take the advice of my car mechanic or my doctor first. They have to live in the same world I do; they have to make the same sort of decisions as I do about groceries, what shirts to buy, where to fish, when to fill the car up, where to park and what to microwave for dinner... they'll make their choices based on criteria I can appreciate or understand.


I'll agree with you here, but if Jessica Alba offered me a snifter of 4 Copas tequila, I wouldn't turn her down. (I'm a sucker for, um, celebrity marketing! :wub: )

Hell, I'd take the advice of my cats first, over any actor's recommendation...


Do your cats have their own line of cat food--or tequila? And is one of them named Elvis? :clown:

#9 CaliTequilaSipperGirl

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 08:46 PM

There's a place and time for 'name dropping', for sure. I for one am ok with name dropping and using 'star's to promote a product, especially if replaces the likes of Patron with a quality product like 4 Copas.

Yes Ian, as many would, but SoCal is a different planet. We lead the world in many trends and ideas, so "Name dropping" and getting your product into the "spotlight" is a huge deal. As most people in this world are sheep, when they see others doing something, they will follow. At the very least, the product is recognizable. Getting the public to identify with any product is what marketing and sales is about.



#10 Ian Chadwick

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 10:57 AM

Ian, if you would like to have a go at me, you could sure pick a better topic. How about cat juggling?


Sorry, Chris. I apologize for being testy and for shooting off my overly large mouth. It was not a shot at 4 Copas - one of my personal favourites - rather at the popular trend in almost every industry to popularize products through association with Hollywood icons or sports icons. The tequila industry is no different, even though I like to pretend it is.

Maybe my years in the media have made me overly cynical, but I've rubbed shoulders with some of the exalted kulturi and even interviewed a few pop stars, and have not always come away with any additional respect for their cognitive power.

To be fair, 4 Copas wasn't promoting itself through this - it wasn't an ad, rather an interview - but the press picked up this one element and brought it to the fore in the interview, as if what some actor drinks is more important than the product itself, more important than the time, effort and care put into it. That's one of those media issues that drives me insane. I want to grab the reporter by the hair and shout "focus, dammit, focus!" while I pound their head into the keyboard.

I probably wasn't popular as an editor.

I'm aware that the trickle-down effect has helped spread the word and given us more opportunities for good tequila coming to the shelves; in a vaguely Reagan-esque way we have benefited from this.

I guess I'm just not the target audience for pop media or advertising. I shouldn't let things get under my skin. Even an old curmudgeon like myself should soften up sometimes. Sorry again, Chris.

#11 La Hora Azul

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 11:01 PM

Ian, if you would like to have a go at me, you could sure pick a better topic. How about cat juggling?


Sorry, Chris. I apologize for being testy and for shooting off my overly large mouth. It was not a shot at 4 Copas - one of my personal favourites - rather at the popular trend in almost every industry to popularize products through association with Hollywood icons or sports icons. The tequila industry is no different, even though I like to pretend it is.

Maybe my years in the media have made me overly cynical, but I've rubbed shoulders with some of the exalted kulturi and even interviewed a few pop stars, and have not always come away with any additional respect for their cognitive power.

To be fair, 4 Copas wasn't promoting itself through this - it wasn't an ad, rather an interview - but the press picked up this one element and brought it to the fore in the interview, as if what some actor drinks is more important than the product itself, more important than the time, effort and care put into it. That's one of those media issues that drives me insane. I want to grab the reporter by the hair and shout "focus, dammit, focus!" while I pound their head into the keyboard.

I probably wasn't popular as an editor.

I'm aware that the trickle-down effect has helped spread the word and given us more opportunities for good tequila coming to the shelves; in a vaguely Reagan-esque way we have benefited from this.

I guess I'm just not the target audience for pop media or advertising. I shouldn't let things get under my skin. Even an old curmudgeon like myself should soften up sometimes. Sorry again, Chris.



Sweet Mary Ian, I wish I had your vocabulary. No problem at all. I do share some of your views, however in less spectacular verbage. I am just trying to do my job building the brand. I hope to see you in September. Regards