After touring the US for over 2 years in search of the perfect tequila, Jon created his own brand.
Juan Lobo is hand-crafted in the highlands region of Jalisco, Mexico, slow-cooked in a brick oven, and distilled in copper pots for the ultimate taste and no extra additives
Sounds pretty epic right?
The Journey of Starting a Tequila Company
In our past interviews with entrepreneurs and talents such as Rob Riggle or Pat La Frieda, we always like to gain honest insight into how people started their brands.
This meant that we secured a chance to sit down and chat with the man of the hour, Jon Wolfe about his journey of creating this company.
Just to share in our excitement, we checked out the Juan Lobo Tequila promo, and let’s just say Jon Wolfe is one bad-ass mofo.
Check it out here:
The Interview with Juan Lobo’s Founder, Jon Wolfe
MAN’edged: Take us back to the beginning. As a successful musician that is constantly on the road, you could’ve easily decided to just enjoy what was on the market after a long day of work. What possessed you to start your own tequila brand?
Jon Wolfe: I’ve always been this type of person – The kind of person that is never truly satisfied with the status quo. I love constantly pushing myself as an entrepreneur, and, let me tell ya, I had no idea just how difficult this endeavor was going to be! Before I created Juan Lobo Tequila, I would typically sip on Don Julio. Nowadays, no matter how many other tequilas on the market that I try, I always find myself reaching for my own product, so I think I made the right choice creating Juan Lobo Tequila!
MAN’edged: How do you enjoy your Juan Lobo? On the rocks? Straight?
Jon Wolfe: “For me, personally, I like to drink Juan Lobo Tequila straight. Usually, if I’m drinking the Blanco, I’ll drink it chilled in a shot glass. If I’m drinking Reposado, I like to drink it neat in a flute. If it’s Añejo, I like to enjoy it in a rocks glass over a large ice cube.”
MAN’edged: What pairs well with Juan Lobo?
Jon Wolfe: “We got really creative on our cocktail recipes – you can check them out on juanlobotequila.com. Each of the three Juan Lobo Tequila expressions are fantastic on their own, but we created some fun recipes that bring out the flavor profiles beautifully while introducing new twists so you can enjoy Juan Lobo Tequila in a multitude of ways. Because music and tequila fit so perfectly together, I also curated individual playlists to accompany each recipe. We thought it really added a fun and interactive element to our website.”
MAN’edged: According to your recentDigital Journal feature, you mention that “My vision for Juan Lobo Tequila is essentially a premium/ultra-premium product at an entry-level tequila aficionado price point.” Why was this an important choice for you?
Jon Wolfe: “Two things: The general public still has a lot to learn about tequila. I wanted to give my fanbase as well as prospective tequila drinkers, a tequila that is top quality, smooth, and identifiable for a reasonable price. Secondly, there are a lot of over-priced tequilas out there, in my opinion, and I wanted people to get more of a value when they buy Juan Lobo Tequila.”
MAN’edged: Why should people welcome Joan Lobo to their bar carts?
Jon Wolfe: For anyone drinking quality spirits, Juan Lobo Tequila checks all of the boxes. It’s a 100% Blue Agave, small-batch craft tequila produced by a family that’s been growing agaves for five generations and distilling tequila for over fifty years. Our distillery doesn’t produce multiple brands on the market, so when you buy Juan Lobo Tequila, you’re truly buying a unique craft brand.
MAN’edged: The product packaging is phenomenal. We imagine this to take center stage on any gent’s bar carts. What inspired the bottle design and packaging?
Jon Wolfe: I was heavily involved in the bottle and label design process. I wanted the bottle to have an old-world feel and to have a certain weight to it. I wanted the label to be a sort of mixture between a vintage label and a modern, dressed up design. There were probably 400 revisions to that label and a lot of late nights before I felt that it was just right.
MAN’edged: How did it make you feel when you saw your final product packaging and design?
Jon Wolfe: After working on this brand for over two years, it really felt amazing to see it come together, but the perfectionist in me is always analyzing and second-guessing. When I saw it all come together, it was just as I had envisioned it, but I thought, “Should I have added color here?” or “Should I have made the cap look like this?”, you name it! Last July, we held our second-annual Juan Lobo Tequila Fest in Corpus Christi, Texas and San Antonio, Texas, and this was to be the first time anyone could purchase or taste Juan Lobo Tequila. When I showed up to the first bottle signing that night in Corpus Christi – Shout out to LiquidTown for being the first liquor store in Texas to bring it in – There was a line wrapped around the store, and people were holding multiple bottles of MY product! That was an unreal feeling, and it made all of my doubts fade. I’ll never forget that feeling for the rest of my life!
MAN’edged: Our readers enjoy hearing about the raw truths of being an entrepreneur. Would you be open to sharing one of the biggest hurdles you had to overcome when crafting this tequila?
Jon Wolfe: Sure! The obstacles are many – From trying to understand and gain knowledge in the tequila industry, to the legal and regulatory hoops you have to jump through, to the packaging and design process. I would say the most difficult hurdle would have to be finalizing the tequila taste profile. It’s a very daunting process to finalize a profile knowing that it’s going to go out to the public. You’re kind of laying it all out on the line, hoping our consumer is going to like it as much as I do.
MAN’edged: When you made your first debut of the brand, what was going through your head?
Jon Wolfe: “Man, I hope I’m not crazy!!” and “I hope people like my tequila!”
MAN’edged: In today’s world, it’s crucial to have a great digital presence. Can you share more about what it was like looking for a digital solutions company likeLion’s Share Digitaland what made you decide to work with them to create your website?
Jon Wolfe: Luckily, my wife, Amber Wolfe, has been working in digital marketing for several years now working with tech companies in Austin. I tasked her with the job to find the best web designers to create a phenomenal website for Juan Lobo Tequila. We researched several companies that she worked with in prior companies. Lion’s Share came highly recommended, and after looking through many portfolios and conducting interviews, we both felt that their work really spoke for itself. They made the website creation process so seamless, organized, and they truly took our ideas to the next level. The team at Lion’s Share Digital is top-notch, and we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with them! We get so many compliments on our website. It’s such an important component to any brand’s presence along with a strong social media aesthetic and digital marketing strategy.
MAN’edged: Some of our readers are interested in the finance portion of starting a brand. From our experience with other spirit companies, starting a spirit brand is no easy venture, but you’ve accomplished this. How did you go about raising funds for the venture, was it all self-funded and do you have any tips as an entrepreneur when it comes to starting your own venture?
Jon Wolfe: Typically, my philosophy has been if I believe in something, I’ll press forward and find a way to make it happen regardless of whether or not I’m well-funded at first. Juan Lobo Tequila was a bit of a mixture between my own funds and some small investment, initially, but has since gained the confidence of additional investors. I think the key is to make sure your product or brand has as many competitive advantages as possible – Whether that’s the launch platform (such as my music career), branding, marketing, management, taste, or pricing. I feel like Juan Lobo Tequila is unique in quite a few of those categories, making private investment more appealing.
MAN’edged: If you could go back to day one of starting this project with all the knowledge you currently have, what would you tell yourself?
Jon Wolfe: Honestly, I can look back and say there aren’t a lot of things I would change. Patience is definitely something I could have improved upon in the beginning and remember that building a brand is a marathon, not a sprint.
MAN’edged: What does success for the brand look like to you?
Jon Wolfe: I think success for Juan Lobo Tequila means that I’m mentioned in the same breath as other previously established tequilas in the marketplace such as Don Julio or Herradura. Success for Juan Lobo Tequila is also becoming known for our particular flavor profile, which is such a subjective goal since everyone has a different palate and preference. We want to stand alongside the titans in the industry that have paved the way and feel like we’ve earned our place next to them. Now, that takes time, hard work, perseverance, but we’re here for the long haul.
MAN’edged: What can people expect from Juan Lobo in the coming months?
Jon Wolfe: We just released our short film, which was a unique digital marketing campaign that paralleled our expansion into the e-commerce market. We’re working diligently to increase distribution across Texas, which, in the middle of a pandemic has its unique challenges. We’re agile, though, and I decided to wrap my tour bus to showcase Juan Lobo Tequila so it’s kind of a moving billboard. The bus is starting to make its way to local liquor stores around Texas for surprise pop-ups, and, you never know, I just might be on there every now and then for photo ops and bottle signings!
Still don’t believe that this is going to be the new must-have tequila of 2021? Here we breakdown even more about this delicious tasting tequila
The Fermentation Process
For more than 200 hours, our tequila harmonizes with the elements in the air such as the ash, citrus from surrounding trees, oxygen, and a surprising additive: classical baroque music. Juan Lobo Tequila ferments in concert with classical music, which provides more structure on a molecular level and an end product created in harmony.
Juan Lobo Tequila is distilled in copper pot stills, which naturally removes any unwanted elements from our end product.
Once they have introduced enough oxygen and tweaked the alcohol by volume just right, our product can go in one of two directions: they can either send the juice to the barrel room to age or bottle the beautiful blanco tequila.
This is where Juan Lobo Tequila Blanco is born.
The taste of the Juan Lobo Tequilas
Juan Lobo Tequila Blanco
For the agave purest, Juan Lobo Tequila Blanco exhibits a bright, well-balanced flavor that begins with a blend of floral sweetness with a touch of citrus and finishes with a light, peppery note.
Juan Lobo Tequila Reposado
Aged for 7 months
The golden color of Juan Lobo Tequila Reposado is a result of our aging process in single-use Jack Daniels barrels. You’ll notice a perfectly-balanced flavor of sweet, cooked agave and woody notes from the barrel finished with a round, vanilla taste.
Juan Lobo Tequila Añejo
Aged for 22 months
A beautiful dark, amber color with flavor notes of vanilla, plum, dried fruits, and honey that finish with a bite of pepper, our Juan Lobo Tequila Añejo is a perfect blend of luxury and grit.
Still looking for more spirits to explore or other cocktails to try?