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Patrón Ramps Up On The Luxury End, Doubling Its Capacity For Aged Tequilas

October 1, 2019

Amid a boom in luxury-priced and aged Tequilas, Bacardi-owned Patrón has unveiled a new barrel-aging facility that will bring its total capacity for aging spirits to over 20,000 barrels. The new space—a nearly 17,000-square-foot extension named for master distiller Francisco Alcaraz—will roughly double Patrón’s aging capacity, and will feature a tasting area for brand education and an underground bar called La Cava for VIP entertaining. The expansion allows the brand to ramp up its aged production as consumers embrace more premium marques and more varied Tequila consumption. “In the past, Tequila was just shots. Then suddenly, people grew more interested in what’s behind Tequila,” says Antonio Rodriguez, Patrón’s director of production. “We always plan ahead because we don’t cut any corners in our process. We need to be ready in advance.”

While Patrón faces rising competition, it remains the dominant force in the luxury segment, far ahead of second-ranked Don Julio, and continues to expand at a healthy clip, averaging growth of about 100,000 cases annually over the past three years. Last year the brand reached 2.5 million cases, including its Roca Patrón offshoot, and had retail sales of $1.36 billion, according to Impact Databank.

The new barrel room is adjacent to the current one, in order to ensure that conditions in the new facility replicate the original. Rodriguez points to Patrón’s ability to maintain consistency while scaling up as paramount to the brand’s success. “The new space basically has the same weather conditions—the same everything—in order to duplicate our capacity to age,” he says.

While Patrón isn’t selling all the aged Tequila it can make, its planners are following their own internal forecasts. “We want to have enough capacity to supply the core line, to remain ahead of the growth curve and let the Tequila achieve the right age, and to just play, because that’s how innovations become reality,” Rodriguez says.

While agave sourcing amid the Tequila boom is always a consideration, Rodriguez is adamant that the company’s solid relationships with growers will prevent Patrón from feeling the pinch. “It doesn’t matter that a new guy is asking for the agave,” he says. “They know that with us, it’s going to be long term.”

Although Rodriguez is confident about Patrón’s agave supply needs going forward, he does note the brand does face one challenge as it continues to grow: the need to keep expanding its workforce. In the next year, Hacienda Patrón will add roughly 100 employees, bringing the facility to around 1,700 workers.

The recent release of a Patrón 10-year-old is intended to show what the brand can do with longer-aged Tequilas when given the chance to experiment. “We’re moving ahead in order to have enough time—to not just respond to demand, but to have the Tequila already produced when it’s needed,” says Rodriquez. “I want to have it there the day we need it.”—Shane English

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