One of the dishes at Clase Azul’s La Terraza
For 25 years, the luxury tequila brand Clase Azul has promoted the “magic of Mexico.” At least according to its CEO and founder Arturo Lomeli, who started the company as a way to pay homage to his birthplace.
Now, Clase Azul is going beyond spirits with a new upscale restaurant, La Terraza, in Los Cabos and scheduled to open in October. For anyone who doesn’t know, Clase Azul has built a large following over the last two-plus decades for the flavor profile of its tequilas that stand out for their sweet finish. The connection it gives imbibers to Mexican artistry and culture by presenting the spirits in artisan handcrafted bottles is part of the draw.
“At first, my goal was to make a great spirit that would raise the profile of Mexico as luxury producers, as well as save our country’s dying artisanal culture,” explained Lomeli. “Now our goal is to become Mexico’s first luxury house, building a luxury Mexican brand, not just a luxury tequila and mezcal brand.”
The once little-known brand, which has gone from 200 to 2000 employees in the past five years, has found itself at the core of the luxury tequila movement and promises to surprise consumers through what Lomeli says is a “truly luxury and truly Mexican” experience.
As part of this year’s Silver Anniversary, the company has announced the transformation from a spirits brand to a luxury house. As part of this expansion, the company exclusively told Forbes.com about its new hospitality and experiences division, “Clase Azul Destinations. La Terraza is the first venture under this umbrella.
La Terraza, at the Shoppes at Palmilla, offers a culinary journey through Baja California under the helm of chef Ivan Arias. The new upscale eatery will sit adjacent to the brand’s namesake boutique, where visitors can experience Clase Azul’s popular tasting experience, “A Taste of Culture.”
Below are recent excerpts from a recent interview with Lomeli about Clase Azul Destinations.
What inspired Clase Azul Destinations?
We desired to create and offer spaces where Clase Azul comes to life. After 25 years in the business, we realize how touched and inspired our customers are by Mexican culture, traditions, and artistry – and that is an amazing thing. I started the company to share the magic of Mexico with the world, and we became inspired to offer more than tequila and mezcals.
Why did you choose Los Cabos as your first Clase Azul Destination?
Los Cabos is one of my favorite places in Mexico, a place I personally go to the most. My wife, Sagrario, loves that it’s not too humid and there aren’t many mosquitos. We love everything about the sea, especially the seafood. The food in Cabo is like the sunsets- some of the best in the world.
A dish from La Terraza
What kind of cuisine can we expect at La Terraza? Can you share a few of your favorite dishes?
La Terraza will take you through the wonderful flavors that Baja has to offer. Ingredients are sourced regionally and supplied by farming and fishing alliances. True to our brand values, we formed a network with local producers and promote practices like sustainable business and fair trade.
Menu items will range from a variety of fresh ceviche’s, like Corn or Scallop & Octopus, to our take on a Garden Salad with quelites, olive hummus, and fried corn. The Tamal Gobernador, with blue shrimp, brie cheese and poblano beurre blanc will be offered, and so will the Tamal Chilayo made with marinated tofu, salsa chilayo, ayocote and purslane.
Other highlights include the Smoke Kitchen Grilled Octopus, Blue Shrimp and Mole, and of course Carne Asada with shishito pepper, frijoles puercos and tortillas.
Clase Azul currently has five tequilas and two mezcals, and your biggest challenge is meeting demand. How does it feel to achieve such success while also expanding into new businesses?
While we need revenue to maintain and operate our mission, we’re most interested in bringing more of Mexico’s exquisite nature to the people. When I was studying, I learned how a brand had to have a point of differentiation to give it a competitive advantage.
I’m grateful for what I’m able to call my job.
Beyond La Terraza, what does Clase Azul Destinations have coming up?
We’re in the beginning stages of “La Hacienda,” our distillery and visitor’s center in Jalisco, and plans for a hotel are underway. It will be intimate, very high-end and something that feels private and special. We have big plans to develop Brand Homes in some of the World’s biggest cities, with the Clase Azul Mexico Loft in Brooklyn being our first space to open in the US.
One of the dishes at Clase Azul’s La Terraza