So, what do ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Sully Erna from Godsmack have in common, apart from being Rock Gods?
That commonality would be their shared love — passion even — for Pura Vida tequila? And, to express that enthusiasm, they’ve both agreed to sign a classic Fender guitar in a giveaway starting on the Cinco de Mayo 2015 to help boost an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to allow Pura Vida tequila to expand.
Not interested in that signed Fender? Then how would you like your own Cinco de Mayo party in 2016 with 20 friends in your hometown, all sponsored by Pura Vida? Or you could win tickets to one of Pura Vida’s own 2016 parties in one of 25 cities in the USA. Or autographed tequila bottles. Or backstage passes to a ZZ Top or Godsmack concert. Does the fun ever end?
Of course there’s a serious point behind all this Cinco de Mayo tequila madness. Pura Vida needs to grow, and to do that it needs to build its own distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, where it can have more control over the end result. When the company began distilling four years ago, they went the craft route, not the big business model. To do so, they used a neighboring distillery to create Pura Vida tequila, made from 100% Blue Weber agave harvested in the highlands of Jalisco.
While the company obviously felt it was making fine tequila, it had no idea just how big it would grow, helped by endorsements from celebrities like Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Billy Gibbons. Not mincing words, Gibbons simply said that Pura Vida was ‘the best damn tequila I have ever tasted.’
The conventional route to expansion would be to go to bankers and investors and ask for loans, but Pura Vida founder Stewart Skloss was never the conventional type. A firm believer in ‘let’s have some fun here,’ he decided that instead of turning to the bankers, he would turn to tequila lovers to invest in the new distillery.
His challenge is to raise at least $250,000 in just over a month, from May 5th to June 10th, 2015. Skloss has found eight acres of land by Lake Chapala close to the existing production facilities, and has plans in line for a 54,000 sq ft distillery. Every supporter will be immortalized with their name on a brick in the barrel room. Not only will they be alongside Billy Gibbons and Sully Erna, but other well-known Pura Vida fans including musicians Ice-T, Aaron Lewis (of Staind), Jason Cassidy, Tobin Esperance (from Papa Roach), Jon Foreman (Switchfoot), Justin Furstenfeld (Blue October), and Laz Pina (from Ill Niño), plus former Houston Texans football pro Travis Johnson, and the bands Bad Suns and New Politics.
Not only are these guys putting their weight behind the Indiegogo campaign, some are getting involved in creating celebrity cocktails too. Sully Erna’s Sully Smash combines Pura Vida Añejo with the company’s orange liqueur, organic agave nectar, and fresh lemon juice. The Gibbons rocks ZZ Top’s boat with Reposado Tequila, Topo Chico mineral water, lime, lemon, and two fresh jalapeños.
Pura Vida is not a brand that gets by on celebrity endorsements alone, though. Its tequilas have won several medals in competitions, and appeal to the market by actually being affordable.
“Our profits are about half the industry average,” says Skloss, bucking convention yet again. “I’d rather produce better tequila for less profit than make more money on an inferior product.”