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Michael Jordan And Partners Launch Cincoro, A New Upscale Tequila

September 16, 2019

Cincoro, a new high-end Tequila helmed by a team of NBA owners—including Michael Jordan—and finance professionals, has launched in 12 markets across the U.S. The new entry is taking aim at the luxury market in the on- and off-premise with packaging designed by Nike’s Mark Smith and liquid selected by the brand’s founders in consultation with industry experts.

Cincoro’s founding partners are finance professional Emilia Fazzalari and her husband Wyc Grousbeck of the Boston Celtics, Jeanie Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers, and Wes Edens of the Milwaukee Bucks, in addition to Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets.

Fazzalari, who’s the CEO of Cincoro, tells SND that the founders discovered their shared passion for Tequila over dinner one night, and decided to explore the options for creating their own brand. “We were looking for a Tequila that was ultra smooth and didn’t have that agave burn,” she says.

Chris Spake, formerly Patrón’s director of brand education, signed on as Cincoro’s director of trade development and aided in the selection process alongside Fazzalari and Jordan. After hundreds of taste tests, the team settled on a distillery—Destiladora del Valle de Tequila (Nom. 1438)—and a final product, a blend of Highland and Lowland agave that, according to Spake, marries fruity, floral flavors typical of Highland agave with the earthier notes from the Lowland piñas.

The resulting Tequilas are high-end: Cincoro Blanco retails at $70, the 8-to-10-month-old Reposado is at $90, the 30-month-old Añejo is at $130, and the 40-month-old Extra Añejo lists at $1,600 (all are bottled at 40% abv). “We want to set the five-star gold standard in the ultra-premium category,” says Fazzalari. “That’s where the name comes from: Cinco for five and oro for gold.”

In addition to securing high-quality liquid, Cincoro’s partners have focused on ensuring that the brand’s packaging appeals to luxury-minded consumers. With input and design inspiration from Jordan, Nike’s Smith created Cincoro’s tall, five-sided bottle, which is custom-produced in Mexico City. The five-sided design represents the number of founding partners, and has a burst of agave pressed into the base. In a subtle nod to Jordan’s old jersey number, the bottle curves 23 degrees.

While the company initially planned on a limited release that targeted the on-premise, Cincoro’s positive reception with distributors led the partners to reconsider and aim for a wider debut. “We actually wanted to launch in just a handful of states,” says Fazzalari. “This isn’t a licensing deal or a marketing play.”

Cincoro is now rolling out in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin. Its distributors include Breakthru, Young’s, Empire, Allied, Martignetti, and CDI in the initial markets. Though the launch is limited to those states, the brand will be widely available in those markets, according to CMO Russell Pareti, formerly of Stoli Group. Cincoro expects to follow with a national push in early 2020.

Though the founders have quite a bit of star power, Fazzalari stresses that Cincoro is a luxury-priced Tequila first and foremost, and will not be driven by its celebrity ownership, but rather its own quality proposition.—Shane English

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