For most Americans, tequila is limited to drinking margaritas from salt-rimmed glassware in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, but one Murfreesboro native has made it his life.
Eric Rubin has always had a passion for the food, beverages and culture of Mexico. After graduating from Riverdale in 1994, he worked in Chicago’s food and beverage industry before setting his sights on San Francisco. There he created Tres Agaves, a restaurant company (now named Tres Restaurants) centered on Mexican dishes and drinks, specifically tequila and margaritas.
Tequila is derived from the agave plant, which produces a sweet nectar that can be distilled. Being that there are three types of tequila – blanco, reposado and añejo – Rubin opted for the name Tres Agaves.
His restaurant grew to become the nation’s largest seller of 100 percent agave tequila from a single restaurant.
“Once you start drinking 100 percent agave tequila, not mixto, you realize it’s just such a wonderful, wonderful distilled material,” Rubin said, adding that mixto tequila is a cheaper, lesser quality version of tequila.
“We learned about all tequila,” he said of his time in the restaurant business.
He’s logged an estimated 180 trips to Jalisco, Mexico, to visit distilleries, build relationships and fine-tune his palate.
“I was able to hand pick the distillery and who I was working with,” Rubin explained. “So many people go down there blind or with one or two connections.”
With 154 working distilleries in Mexico, it’s important to be in the know.
By tasting dozens and dozens of tequilas, Rubin and his partners were able to create a flavor profile that would appeal to a variety of palates.
His sights were always set on building a tequila company, and in early 2010, Rubin sold his restaurant company. Together with two partners, he launched Tres Agaves Products producing 100 percent agave tequila as well as agave nectar and margarita mix.
Many investors who enter the tequila business opt for a high price point, but Tres Agaves wanted to be different.
“Let’s come in and launch a great, but affordable tequila,” Rubin explained. “It’s a lower price point, but we have won about every award we could win in competitions.”
The company’s añejo was awarded the highest rating for Tequila in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge for 2010, and the blanco and reposado took two out of three Chairmans’ Trophies in the Ultimate Cocktail Challenge, according to a news release. Additionally, both mixer products were awarded gold medals from the Beverage Testing Institute.
“After two years it is safe to say they are one of the most highly acclaimed new tequila brands ever,” the release stated.
Rubin and his partners also wanted to embrace margaritas.
Their award-winning combination is “the simplest margarita mix in the world” and comprised of agave nectar, real lime juice and filtered water. It’s also certified organic, Rubin said.
The agave nectar is also available solo for margarita fans who would rather squeeze their own limes.
“I challenge people to have a few margaritas made with our 100 percent agave nectar tequilas,” he said.
The brand is currently available in 15 states and very recently launched in Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas. Tres Agaves also has plans to unveil additional products in the next few months.
Visit tresagaves.com for recipes, products and to learn more about the company.