Former Bacardi CEO Mike Dolan has co-founded a new sustainable Tequila brand, called Mijenta.
Dolan, who is also the lead investor for Mijenta, teamed up with Mexico-based distiller Ana Maria Romero to create the new brand, which was in development for two years.
After retiring from his role as Bacardi CEO in April 2018, Dolan aimed to create a brand that “treats people fairly and properly and well” and is focussed on “ethical behaviour”. Speaking to The Spirits Business last week, Dolan said: “I chose Tequila because I love Mexico and the story of Tequila. I wanted to invest in the people that make the product.”
The name Mijenta is inspired by the Spanish words ‘mi gente’, meaning ‘my people’. According to the brand, the words refer to a “community of likeminded people who come together to celebrate life”.
“Mijenta is meant to unite all kinds of people under the same flavour, whether it is for tasting, pairing with food or tasting with friends,” said Romero. “Each element of the journey has been crafted in order to celebrate the best of the land and its people – from the earth that graces us with its gifts, to our community who share their skills, to our customers who give us their trust.”
Produced in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, Mijenta is said to celebrate the traditions of Mexican culture. The first product from the brand is a blanco expression made using Blue Weber agave from maguey plants, which are grown in deep red clay soil and harvested at their ripest. Precise cuts in the heads and tails of the plants help control temperatures and account for the cool mornings in the highlands.
Mijenta is described as having honey, vanilla and caramel flavours, along with tropical fruits such as peach, melon, pineapple and soursop.
Romero oversaw the whole creation of Mijenta, from harvest to bottle. She has more than 25 years of experience in the Tequila industry.
Romero described the Tequila as “culinary, very elegant and complex”. She said: “We really wanted it to have the local characteristics that the region has such as red clay soil. All these aspects really inspired the characteristics of the terroir. The characteristics are fruity flavours and aromas.”
The brand has placed an emphasis on sustainability with everything used to make the product sourced from Mexico to help support local businesses and communities. The labels and box are made from the wastage of the agave.
The brand will launch a reposado at the end of 2020, which will be aged for up to six months in oak casks. The resulting liquid is a “softer and fuller expression of Mijenta”. Two additional expressions will be released in the future, including an añejo by mid-2021 and a cristalino Tequila.
The brand will initially launch in the US, with the aim of being in a number of markets by the end of 2020 including Europe, Middle East, Australia and South East Asia. Dolan said the initial focus will be on North America, as well as Europe, in markets “where there is already an appreciation for Tequila”. He points to markets such as London, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and Singapore, where there is a community of star bartenders.
Dolan said the company will be social media-focussed, with the pandemic “bringing that forward”. Mijenta’s website will also provide a platform for the brand to communicate its values and story.
In addition, the brand has created the Mijenta Foundation to support local members of the community and protect and preserve their skills. The company will give some of its profits to offer healthcare assistance and help to its team members and families.
Mijenta Blanco is priced at US$50 and available to buy from Mijenta’s website and Reserve Bar.