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Clase Azul Aims To Raise Bar On Tequila Pricing

April 30, 2012

Already growing in the Western part of the country, ultra-premium Tequila brand Clase Azul is now entering New York through Southern Wine & Spirits with the goal of raising the category’s price bar, particularly in the top on-premise accounts.

A partnership between former Southern sales manager John Hanson and master distiller Arturo Lomeli, Clase Azul debuted in California in 2004. Its line includes a Plata retailing at $79.99; a Reposado at $89.99 a 750-ml.; and a luxury Tequila Clase Ultra, an Añejo aged five years and retailing at around $2,000. The portfolio also includes a pomegranate-infused Tequila, La Pinta ($39.99), which was recently repackaged.

Produced at Mexico’s Finos de Agave S.A. distillery (where ultra-premium competitor Avión, part-owned by Pernod Ricard, is also made), Clase Azul currently sells around 8,000 cases in the U.S. market (out of 15,000 cases in total) and is growing at 30% annually from its small base. Clase Azul is now in 18 states, notes Hanson, who serves as president for the brand’s San Francisco-based U.S. importer, Tequilas Premium.

In Western markets, BevMo—which accounts for roughly one-quarter of its U.S. sales—has been key to Clase Azul’s growth. “BevMo was a big initial hit for us, and they’ve been a great customer ever since,” Hanson says. Clase Azul also plans to enter Washington State in the coming months.


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