It’s six o-clock on a Friday and the smell of cigar and fresh sawn wood diffuse inside one of the most glamorous, enthralling and visually striking bars in Houston.
Three friends who are Houston entrepreneurs are winding down and toasting to the success of their week. As they clink, they all agree how much fun it would be if their glasses were filled with their own finely crafted tequila brand. That is how Veneno Tequila was born, an ultra-premium brand owned and operated by Javier Loya, Chairman and Co-CEO of OTC Global Holdings, Kiki Dikmen, CEO of Choice! Energy Management and Rick Perez, CEO of Avangard Innovative, among other investors.
Earlier this month, we sat down with Javier Loya to ask him about Veneno Tequila and what makes it so unique and special. Below are highlights from our interview:
- Tell us about Veneno Tequila
Veneno [vEh-nEH-no] small batch tequilas are handcrafted in San Ignacio Cerro Gordo, Jalisco using 100% Blue Weber Agave and aged in oak barrels to create an exceptionally sophisticated and smooth ultra-premium tequila. Led by artisanal Master Distiller Alejandro Campos, our tequilas are crafted using a 200-year old ‘traditional’ method which involves cooking the “pinas” (the heart of the agave plant) in brick ovens, shredding and crushing them with a “tahona” (a large stone wheel) and then fermenting and distilling the “mosto” (or juice). This time-honored distilling technique by true craftsmen is what makes Veneno Tequilas unique and in sharp contrast to other major tequila brands who have opted to use pressure cookers, roller mills or even diffusers in their cooking methods. Technology will help speed up the process and increase the volume. but it will also impact the flavor, smell and overall quality of the product. At Veneno, we are not cutting corners, ever… and it shows.
- What is your brand heritage?
Veneno Tequila was born as a homage to Mexico’s ancient civilizations and the ‘godly’ elixirs offered to their conquerors. ‘Veneno’ which means poison in Spanish, brings to life the myth and magic of the Aztec God Quetzalcoatl, known as the ‘plumed serpent’, whose venomous bite was thought to bring fortune, health and wisdom. Hence, we describe our Veneno tequilas as “the essential element of living a prosperous life”.
ed for the millennial mindset.
- Who are your partners and how did you all get involved?
There are several investors in Veneno Tequila, most are Houston-based, but three of us are also Owners and CEOs of our own companies: Kiki Dikmen, who is CEO of Choice! Energy Management, a nationwide full-service energy procurement, utility and telecom management company; Rick Perez, CEO of Avangard Innovative, the largest recycler in the Americas, and myself, Co-CEO of OTC Global Holdings, the largest independent institutional broker of commodities in the World.
While we lead three different types of companies, we are also avid tequila aficionados, and as such, we’ve experienced firsthand America’s love affair with tequila. We wanted to create the first ultra-premium Texas-based tequila brand, and backed by a diverse group of Houston investors, we sought to find the most unique, traditional and exclusive distiller in the heart of Los Altos de Jalisco. Our hope is that everyone who tastes Veneno can recognize how much passion we have for quality and flavor, which we want to share with our hometown first.
- What else can you tell us about the company that makes you unique & special?
Veneno Tequila can be found at over 150 different locations across Texas. It’s currently being sold at two Texas retailers: Total Wine & More and Specs as well as being served at many different bars & restaurants. Customers out-of-state may purchase Veneno through Bottlecaps, having it shipped directly to their house with the special option of a personalized bottle. Additionally, Houston based customers can request a home delivery where Veneno personally drops off their bottles in our branded Veneno van. Veneno has also hosted and partnered with local events such as Houston SaberCats games, Texas’s Taco and Tequila Festival, Houston Latin week and many more!
- What would your partners say they like best about running a Tequila brand?
The three of us are entrepreneurs and have our own business ventures, but the world of tequila brought us together with a passion. By sharing a focused entrepreneur-sensibility, it allows us to be more creative and adventurous while bringing unique skills to the table. Through the years, I have found that a keen attention to detail and a passionate drive are vital for success. Veneno Tequila has enabled us to transfer our business skills to a passion-driven project. Veneno is an extremely good tequila that we love to share with our friends.
- What is your favorite way to drink Tequila?
There is no better way to wrap up the work week than with a Veneno 7-Year Extra Anejo Tequila straight. That is the true way to enjoy it’s superb and unique smell, body and flavor notes. Having said that, I do very much enjoy a Pomegranate Smoked Jalapeno Margarita with Veneno Blanco. Just add smoked jalapeno simple syrup, pomegranate liquor, lime juice and a splash of Squirt. Many of our favorite recipes can be found on our website. https://www.venenotequila.com/recipes
- How can restaurants and retailers learn more about how to order Veneno Tequila?
Restaurants and retailers can reach out through our website contact page at https://www.venenotequila.com/contact or direct email at firstname.lastname@example.org or just give us a call at 281-727-0944 and the Veneno Tequila team will answer questions and connect you with a local distributor in their area.