When Bertha González Nieves called her parents to tell them she had decided to go into the tequila business, they rolled their eyes. “I’m the youngest of three and the only daughter. My parents were like, oh, please, maybe this is the flavor of the month,” she says in the latest episode of podcast “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing.” “They were convinced I would quickly fall in love with something else. And here we are many years later.”
While it might seem like a disconnect for Bob Pittman to invite a tequila producer on his weekly business-centric show, it is anything but. Nieves and the CEO of iHeartMedia are business partners for her Casa Dragones brand of spirits.
In this latest episode, the two discuss how they met at an event in Brooklyn—and how tequila connoisseur Pittman eagerly followed up the next day after noting interest in her enterprise—as well as Nieves novel marketing strategy. Instead of placing her brand in the hands of traditional celebrities, she explains that she decided to surround the tequila with chefs and artists.
When she first visited a tequila production facility, “I was enamored with the production process, with the agave fields—and with the role that tequila plays in Mexican culture and in defining Mexico’s image,” Nieves says.
Adding to that importance of the beverage in her native Mexico, she recounts that family would gather at her grandmother’s house weekly and before the meal, a glass of tequila was always the prequel. “I had my first glass of tequila with my grandmother, at the age of 12,” she tells Pittman.
Now hailed as tequila’s “First Lady,” Nieves has been entrepreneurial since childhood, first starting a poinsettia business and then making and selling her own greeting cards. Now, as co-founder and CEO of Casa Dragones, her small batch, independent production company offers numbered and hand-signed bottles. As her website makes clear, “It is our love of the craft and meticulous attention to detail that ensures an extraordinary experience and the highest quality possible.”
Bottles range in price from $75 to $285. The venture has been covered in such publications as The New York Times, CNN Travel, Travel & Leisure, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and GQ.