Bertha González Nieves: CEO of Casa Dragones Tequila

My NativeAdVice:

How did you get into the beverage industry?

In my early 20s, I was selected by the Japanese government as a young Mexican ambassador to Japan. As a part of my training, I had to learn about the history, finance, economy, and culture of Mexico and was invited to visit the top tequila distilleries. When I saw my first agave field I fell in love with the industry. Before Casa Dragones, I worked for 10 years for the Beckman family, who own Grupo Cuervo, the largest tequila company in the world.

How did you come up with the idea for Casa Dragones and what is your vision for the brand?

I launched Tequila Casa Dragones in 2008 with my partner Bob Pittman, founder of MTV, former COO of America Online and current CEO of iHeart Media. Together, we set on a quest to deliver a true sipping tequila, with no harsh aftertaste or “wince factor.” Our mission was to push the boundaries of what had been done in the tequila industry; to deliver a tequila so smooth, it could only be called a sipping tequila.

We launched our first style, Casa Dragones Joven in 2009. This 100% Blue Agave Tequilais a very rare blend of silver tequila and extra aged tequila, for a complex smooth taste that is ideal for sipping and pairing with food.

We recently launched Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco 100% blue agave silver tequila, handcrafted to deliver the true essence of agave through an innovative process that focuses on purity.

What differentiates Casa Dragones from other Tequilas? What trends are you noticing in the beverage industry and how do you capitalize on them?

At Casa Dragones, we combine the traditional art of small batch tequila-making—including detailed craftsmanship, the care for the land, and the high quality of our agaves—with the utilization of modern technology such as an ultra-modern water treatment facility, state-of-the art diffuser and column distillation. It’s this process of elaboration that truly sets us apart, enabling us to create exceptionally smooth, clean tasting tequilas.

In terms of trends, consumers are looking for handcrafted spirits of a higher quality. As a small batch producer, we are passionate about crafting exceptional tequilas using an ultra modern process and meticulous attention to detail—from the hand-selection of our agaves, to the hand blending of our Joven tequila. For us, it’s about crafting exceptional tequila, one bottle at a time, ensuring the highest possible quality for our consumer.

What strategic partnerships are you implementing have contributed to Dragones success?

We have been able to seduce some of the most discerning palates in the culinary industry. We created Casa Dragones Joven especially for sipping and pairing with food. This gave us the chance to collaborate with amazing chefs, such as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert, Enrique Olvera, and Martha Ortiz, who created the most unexpected and spectacular pairings.

With the launch of Casa Dragones Blanco, we are now able to collaborate with the most respected and creative mixologists in the industry, such as Jim Meehan, to create innovative craft cocktails that feature our tequila in new and inspiring ways.

Describe an ideal situation to drink Casa Dragones?

Tequila Casa Dragones Joven is handcrafted especially for sipping and pairing with food. In fact, we’ve worked with some of the world’s most respected chefs, including Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, Enrique Olvera and more, to create unique pairings with Casa Dragones. So serving Casa Dragones Joven with food is an excellent way to enhance your meal and enjoy an authentically Mexican experience.

Casa Dragones Joven is also a wonderful way to celebrate a special occasion, such as a wedding or New Year’s Eve. It’s a tasteful and memorable way to make any day even more special.

Life Motto?

My motto is to live with passion, and work with even more passion.

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

My drink would be Casa Dragones Joven. And I would pair it with an incredible Mexican dish such as Ceviche de Robalo by Chef Enrique Olvera, or Láminas de Atun a la Mexicana by Chef Jorge Vallejo.

Role model - business and personal?

I admire many people in business, including my partner Bob Pittman, for his entrepreneurial passion for innovation. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, for not letting being a woman in a man’s industry slow her down. Oprah Winfrey for always being an inspiration to so many people. And personally, my role model is my mother—the strongest, smartest, fiercest woman I know.

Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?

It doesn't matter if you’re a man going into a woman’s industry or a woman going into a man’s industry, have passion about your idea or brand, and you will inspire other people to have passion for it as well. And above all, have your vision clear and work towards it everyday.

What literature is on your bed stand?

Born To Run - A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen - by Christopher McDougall, The Innovators by Walter Isaacson, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

Favorite travel destination?

London and Tokyo

What's next for Casa Dragones?

We recently launched Casa Dragones Blanco, a small batch 100% pure blue agave silver tequila, handcrafted to deliver the true essence of agave through an innovative process that focuses on purity. The result is a crisp, smooth taste that is ideal for high-end cocktails or to enjoy on the rocks.

Today, tequila is one of the key players influencing the future of the spirits industry and as a result we have received orders from countries around the world including Europe, Asia and the Middle East. We believe Mexico has the credentials to compete in the international luxury market and tequila in particular, has all the credentials to compete with single malt scotch, whiskey, cognac and other luxury spirits.

Currently Casa Dragones is sold in Mexico, the US, and the UK; however, we have strong demand in other areas, and hope to expand our distribution in the near future.

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Casa Dragones is an independent, small batch producer with a passion for crafting exceptional tequila, one bottle at a time. Each bottle is hand-signed and numbered, hallmarking our commitment to quality. At Casa Dragones, it is our love of the craft and meticulous attention to detail that ensures an extraordinary experience and the highest possible quality