By Chris Morris
September 10, 2018

Patron is pushing deeper into the high-end tequila field. The company plans to unveil a new premium offering Monday that brings a hint of smoke to the popular spirit.

Gran Patrón Smoky will hit select markets later this month and begin a wider distribution early next year. The agave used to make the tequila is roasted with mesquite for seven days in underground stone pits, versus the above-ground clay brick ovens where most agave is roasted.

The result is a tequila that tastes like something a Texas pitmaster would offer you as you wait for a brisket to cook. The smoky tastes dance across the palate, but don’t overwhelm it. And it adds a distinctive twist to cocktails. You’ll also pick up citrus and a big peppery finish to the spirit.

Like many tequilas, though, this new offering comes with a high price tag: A 750 ml bottle will cost $199.

“At Patrón, … we have always been dedicated to preserving traditional tequila-making techniques.” said Lee Applbaum, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Patrón Tequila. “With Gran Patrón Smoky we’ve taken that commitment one step further by exploring the ancient method of roasting the agaves in small, underground stone pits, resulting in a balanced yet complex smoky flavor.”

Tequila has seen its popularity soar in the past year or so. That’s causing some headaches for producers, though, as an agave shortage is causing price spikes (with the price of the plants increasing sixfold in the past two years).

Still, exports of pure tequila are up 198% in the past decade, with a fast-growing interest in craft and high-end offerings. Patron, last year, added the first year-round offering to its line up in 25 years. And both Patron and Casa Noble rolled out ultra high-end offerings, with price tags of $7,500 and $1,500 per bottle, respectively.

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