Not many alcohol brands can claim to have taken a nearly 30-year hiatus from producing their spirit, only to revive it and build their business into a category leader. However, Tequila Fortaleza is not your average brand. It entered the U.S. market during the early stages of tequila’s popularity boom and rapidly became one of the most celebrated agave spirit brands in the industry.
In this episode, Park Street’s Jesse Cortes sits down with Billy Erickson, the Sales and Marketing Manager of Tequila Fortaleza to dive into the rise and development of his family’s brand.
Erickson will cover the history of the brand from front to back, recounting how he helped his father build and expand the business in its early days and what the duo sees for Fortaleza in the future. He explains how their patient approach to expansion in the U.S. market paid off in the long run.
Having been at the heart of the business for over a decade, Billy offers insight into the operational aspects of Tequila Fortaleza. You’ll get a sense of how Billy and his team achieved a positive cash flow for the brand in a relatively short window by generating traction in the on-premise. He also offers his best practices for hiring, how to pick a distribution partnership, and what they would have done differently if he could do it over again.
Join us as the Park Street Insider Podcast explores what it took for Tequila Fortaleza to become a driving force in the hottest spirits category in beverage alcohol.
0:00 – Introduction
5:26 – Erickson’s background
6:40 – Erickson’s key skillset for industry members
8:10 – Learning about the industry as a newcomer
10:40 – History of Fortaleza
14:40 – Key decisions when building Fortaleza
17:30 – The importance of trade shows
19:25- How the Tequila category landscape has evolved
22:00 – Fortaleza’s current footprint
23:30 – Erickson’s strategy for winning retail accounts
26:00 – Hiring and training practices
29:00 – Running industry engagement programs
33:15 – Best approach for picking out a distribution partner
35:10 – Advice for establishing a trademark
37:00 – Best tips for brands first getting started in beverage-alcohol
40:45 – Fortaleza’s expansion plans
44:09 – Navigating acquisition conversations
In this episode you’ll hear from:
Billy Erickson, Sales and Marketing Manager, Tequila Fortaleza
Mentioned in this episode:
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