Houston’s The Courier

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in Media + News

Ilana Edelstein, along with her partner, the late Martin Crowley, discovered Patrón tequila in a remote part of Mexico. Now Edelstein has writen a book, “The Patrón Way” that offers the never-before-told story of the popular tequila brand.

Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2013 4:00 am

By Kim Hogstrom

Contributing writer

Patrón co-founder offers untold story of popular tequila in intriguing book

There are few in Texas who reach adulthood without their own tequila story, many of which involve an embarrassing episode of some sort. After all, we don’t call it “ta-kill-ya” for nothing.

However, in the mid 1990s, something changed. A beautiful green-ish bottle with an interesting cork and a little green ribbon started to appear on the shelves of bars across the state. It was Patrón tequila, and it contained a brandy-esque beverage that proved to be as good alone as it was mixed. With the addition of this historic Mexican product, the Texas tequila market shifted.

“Patrón, and its iconic hand-blown bottle, introduced Americans to the realm of tequila and helped change the view of the spirit, from a shot, to something meant for sipping and savoring,” said Sean Beck, master mixologist for three of Houston’s most popular restaurants: Hugo’s, Trevisio and Backstreet Cafe.

“The reason Patrón tastes so good is because it is 100 percent agave,” explained Ilana Edelstein in her melodic, South African accent. Edelstein should know; she’s the author of “The Patrón Way,” a book about building the brand, and co-founder of the company. Today, Patrón is the world’s top-selling ultra-premium.

Edelstein and her partner, the late Martin Crowley, discovered the product in a remote part of Mexico. Crowley toured the historic tequila distilling facility, and was immediately impressed.

“Martin brought a bottle back to California where we lived together, and insisted I try it. At first I resisted,” Edlestein stated, laughing. “Everyone has had a bad tequila experience and I did too, but he poured a bit in a snifter and I tied it. I said ‘Wow!’”

The couple introduced a friend, John Paul DeJoria, to their discovery. It was a sound idea. DeJoria was a man of means best known for his Paul Mitchell hair products. Together, the three bought the Mexican distillery.

“Martin came up with the name,” Edelstein explained. “We both wanted a name that meant the same thing in all Romantic languages. Patrón means “The Good Boss,” a kind of a godfather. We both liked the aristocratic sound.

“I searched for the bottle to present it in. I found bottles that were hand-blown, but that meant we needed a dozen different sized corks; no two bottles are identical. And doing business in Mexico was a challenge.

“It was a lot of fun building the business, but make no mistake, it was also a lot of work,” Edelstein said, again laughing.

Patron entered the market at a $50-a-bottle price-point, well above its “Diablo Blanco,” $6 predecessors. Others brands followed suit, but none have done so well.

“There are many lessons outlined in the book about on our journey, but one is to be creative in business; be ready for whatever the universe has to offer, and never allow conventional wisdom to constrain you,” Edelstein concluded.

Sounds like good advice to us.

To learn more about the tequila, Ilana Edelstein, or to order “The Patrón Way,” go to www.thepatronway.com.


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