Cinco de Mayo, celebrated on May 5th, has become an unofficial holiday in the United States. It commemorates Mexico’s victory over French invaders in 1862, and millions of Americans join in the festivities by enjoying tequila. One notable tequila brand associated with NBA star LeBron James is Lobos 1707. While traveling to Mexico’s Tequila Trail to witness the growth of agave and sample the region’s diverse tequilas has gained popularity, the U.S. State Department currently advises against travel to Mexico due to various factors, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, Lobos 1707, a tequila and mezcal brand with international origins, has experienced growth, driven in part by LeBron James’ investment. In this article, we delve into the intriguing story of Lobos 1707 and explore the world of tequila, shedding light on its history and significance.
The Tequila Trail and Travel Advisory
The Tequila Trail in Mexico offers a unique experience for those interested in tequila production. Visitors can witness the cultivation of agave plants, which form the core ingredient of tequila, and sample various tequila varieties produced in the region. However, the U.S. State Department issued a Travel Advisory on April 20, 2021, rating Mexico as Level 4: Do Not Travel. This advisory covers a significant portion of Mexico, including the state of Jalisco, known as the heartland of tequila production. Despite the travel restrictions, the love for tequila persists.
Lobos 1707: A Tequila with International Roots
Lobos 1707 is a tequila and mezcal brand that boasts international heritage, originating from Mexico and Spain. LeBron James, who invested in Lobos 1707, emphasized the importance of taste as a criterion for his investment, stating, “If it tastes great in Akron, Ohio, then I know it’s the right thing.” This commitment to exceptional flavor and quality has contributed to the brand’s success.
A Conversation with Diego Osorio
Diego Osorio, the founder and chief creative officer of Lobos 1707, shared insights into the world of tequila and the brand’s origins. While Osorio’s family had a longstanding involvement in the liquor business in Spain, he initially pursued a career in film and television. However, his fascination with tequila’s culture and history led him to embark on a new venture. He described the agave plant found in Jalisco’s clay-rich soil as a remarkable specimen that retains all its sugars, making it ideal for fermentation. Notably, the consumption of fermented agave dates back nearly 10,000 years, with both Mayans and Aztecs enjoying its intoxicating effects.
A Rich History of Tequila
Tequila’s history is steeped in tradition, with over 100 distilleries in Mexico producing more than 900 tequila brands. The popularity of tequila in the United States has steadily increased, with sales volume rising each year since 2004. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, tequila sales reached approximately 23 million 9-liter cases, marking a 15% increase over the previous year. U.S. retail sales of tequila reached a remarkable $10.3 billion in 2019.
Barrel Aging: The Key to Distinctive Flavor
Diego Osorio believes that the key to Lobos 1707’s exceptional flavor lies in the barrel aging process. He purchased aged barrels that were originally used for Pedro Ximenez (PX) wine, crafted from a white Spanish wine grape. These barrels impart a unique character to the tequila, enhancing its quality and complexity. Osorio’s family has a history of transporting spirits, similar to tequila, in sherry wine barrels from Mexico to Spain in the 18th century. This tradition connects Lobos 1707 to its roots, exemplifying the brand’s commitment to authenticity.
The Origins of the Name: Lobos 1707
The name Lobos 1707 holds historical significance. It pays tribute to the brand’s founder, Diego Osorio’s great-great-grandfather, who learned about the cultivation of the Blue Weber agave by jimadors. He transported a spirit, similar to modern tequila, in sherry wine barrels to Spain in 1707. The brand’s name, “Lobos,” is derived from the Osorio family coat of arms, which features wolves. Today, Diego Osorio serves as the Chief Creative Officer, overseeing innovative ideas, including the Agave Wind Rose Compass, a prominent feature on every Lobos 1707 bottle.
A Diverse and Influential Team
Lobos 1707 boasts a diverse and influential team, with LeBron James and Maverick Carter as investors. Their decision to invest in the brand was based on the exceptional quality of the tequila, core company values, and the opportunity to build a strong consumer brand with diverse leadership. The brand has also attracted other notable investors, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and LeBron James’ fellow Lakers star, Anthony Davis.
Exploring the Lobos 1707 Portfolio
Lobos 1707 offers a diverse range of tequilas and mezcal:
- Lobos 1707 Joven: An 80-proof Silver or Blanco tequila, available for approximately $45 for a 750ml bottle.
- Lobos 1707 Reposado: Aged for over six months in American white oak barrels and blended with Lobos 1707 Tequila, Extra Añejo, and finished in Pedro Ximénez (PX) wine barrels. Priced at around $50 at Total Wine.
- Lobos 1707 Tequila, Extra Anejo: Aged for three years in American white oak and finished in Pedro Ximénez wine barrels, offering a taste of rich oak and pepper. Available for approximately $150 at outlets like Total Wine.
- Lobos 1707 Mezcal: Made with 100% espadín agave, roasted in an open Oaxacan fire pit. While it doesn’t include a worm (illegal to import into the U.S.), it can be found at outlets like Total Wine for about $55.
The Significance of Destination-Specific Drinks
For many travelers, enjoying a drink associated with a specific destination can evoke memories of past visits or inspire future travel plans. For example, only sparkling wines produced within 100 miles of Northeastern France’s Champagne region can legally be labeled as “Champagne.” While visiting these destinations may be challenging due to travel restrictions, sharing a local specialty like Lobos 1707 tequila with fellow enthusiasts over platforms like Zoom can keep the spirit of exploration alive.
Lobos 1707 Tequila, with its international roots, commitment to quality, and unique flavor profiles, stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of tequila. Despite travel restrictions and challenges posed by the pandemic, the brand continues to thrive, thanks in part to its dedicated team of investors, including LeBron James. As the world eagerly awaits the return of travel and exploration, enjoying a taste of Lobos 1707 Tequila can transport enthusiasts to the heart of tequila culture and tradition.