Some brands are iconic in and of themselves, be it a signature logo, product or even a motto — They don't need to sell themselves because the public is already invested in what's coming next.
When it comes to brands in the wine and spirits industry, this is especially prevalent. And perhaps no company exemplifies that better than Patrón.
That's why Patrón's latest collaboration with renowned director Guillermo del Toro (aptly named 'Patrón x Guillermo del Toro') is set to make major waves, mainly because it was built off of a mutual sense of curiosity, appreciation and authenticity, not a paid deal.
The collection, which is priced at $400 a box, features two bottles — one limited-edition 750 mL bottle of extra añejo Patrón and one 100ml bottle of Patron aged orange liquor (the first of its kind.)
The packaging features ornate and whimsical designs and carvings (typical of del Toro) that were inspired by jimadores, creating an "off the charts" complete product that made Patron's CMO, Lee Applbaum, say, "Holy shit."
Take a look at the collection below:
We had the chance to chat with Applbaum about the del Toro collaboration, how Patrón decides on pricing and companies for collaborations and what might be next for the company at large.
AOL: How did the Guillermo del Toro collaboration come about? Why Guillermo del toro, why now?
Lee Applbaum: "As a brand, we really don't do collaborations very often, and we've never done one like this...this is the first time in more than the 27-year history of our brand that we've ever collaborated in this fashion.
Celebrities talk about our brand all the time, so we're very fortunate that we have that organically — in the case of del Toro, that's no different. Guillermo is from Jalisco, which is the state where all tequila is purchased — He's from Guadalajara which is very, very close to where Hacienda Patrón is located (where we make all of our tequila.) His family still lives there, and he has a very important and organic cultural and personal connection to the area, and has always been sort of fascinated by tequila. We were introduced and immediately kind of said 'Okay, here's a guy who's a real master of the arts, Academy-Award nominated director, has an amazing filmography, amazing talent, is linked to Jalisco.' He had a real interest in understanding tequila and for us it was a treat to spend time with del Toro.
This is a true situation where you have an artist and you have us coming together saying 'let's make something really cool, really unique that's totally on brand for del Toro and totally on brand for us.'"
AOL: How do you decide on pricing for a collaboration like this?
LA: "Pricing is always an interesting thing — we have tequila that's $7,500 with Lalique [The bottle is called 'Patrón en Lalique'] and we have our sort of workhorse tequila, Patrón silver, that's just under $50. So there's a huge range.
Our thinking here [with del Toro] was that we could charge a fantastic amount for something like that. But the discussion was that we wanted [the collection] to be very special (it is limited) but we also wanted it to be reasonably accessible. For something like this, it reflected the cost of packaging.
We didn't want the price to be so stratospheric that somebody who was a fan of del Toro, Patrón or both couldn't have access to it — We want it to be able to hold that special place on somebody's back bar, or any bar or restaurant.
We're keeping in mind that for a limited release, the price [and the package] is something that's aspirational, yet attainable."
AOL: How many bottles in total will be released?
LA: "I don't think we declared that — by our standards, it's safe to say several thousand. To put that in perspective, several thousand bottles is not a lot. In fact, it's really, really small! Again, the idea was make it special (del Toro has a huge fan base.)
AOL: What kind of tequila is in the package?
LA: "There are two bottles. The large bottle is an extra añejo tequila, aged more than three years — you're going to have sort of a golden color tequila with a lot of nuts and raisins, vanilla — very different from our silver that's going to be a lot more citrus and pepper. It's going to be a more robust flavor, something for people that are used to more aged spirits.
The second bottle is an aged orange liquor — a lot of that citrus, and french toast, and caramel.
The first bottle is a serious tequila, but you don't always have to drink it in a serious way — like a lot of our tequilas, it's very versatile."
The collection also comes with custom cocktail recipes using both of the liquors to inspire.
AOL: Where can these be purchased?
LA: "Better spirit stores in the US will carry it, even though it's limited."
AOL: Do you see Patrón participating in any collaborations like this in the future?
LA: "The key is [a collaboration] has to be authentic and has to be organic...in the case of del Toro, it was his unique and authentic and ongoing link to Jalisco and deep interest in the category. It's not an endorsement — it's an artistic collaboration. If other opportunities present themselves like that, I think there's very much an opportunity to do that. In the case of Lalique, when you have a brand that's very good at what they do that wants to collaborate with us, it makes perfect sense. We don't actively look for [these partnerships], we just wait for them to organically present themselves and when they do and when we just know it's right, and we'll jump right into it for sure."
The 'Patrón x Guillermo del Toro' collection retails at $400.
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