There’s a new tequila brand that thoroughly believes it has what it takes to find itself on your top shelf. Interestingly enough, it’s the altitude where it’s created—at Mexico’s highest peak in the mountains of Mazamitla—that is one of the many factors that separate Religion Tequila from its competitors.
There are other reasons why Religion seems to have elevated themselves above their competition. Of these, the most “marketable” may in fact be that it is organic, a buzz word for those of the health-conscious mindset. To find out even more about this burgeoning brand—which was the title sponsor of EXPO 2018’s “Splash Bash” & $10,000 Bikini Contest—we spoke to Religion’s Managing Partner Jessey Lee about Religion’s inception and a brand name that will certainly raise some eyebrows.
Also, courtesy of Bob Chiappardi and StripJointsMusic.com, we got to know a bit more about Lee from a personal standpoint, including what songs he’d put on his on personalized Spotify playlist.
THE ED PUB: How long have you worked for Religion Tequila, and what is your specific job title? What brought you into the bar/liquor industry?
LEE: I am currently the Managing Partner for Religion Tequila. I always had a passion for tequila so it was an incredible opportunity being part of such a wonderful brand/product.
“Religion Tequila is not just another tequila brand. We don’t shy away from a little controversy. We are lovable with an attitude. We are the first all-accepting Religion and we embody both a saint and a sinner all in one. We feel a strong synergy between who we are as a brand and the gentlemen’s club industry.” – Jessey Lee of Religion Tequila
THE ED PUB: This year was Religion Tequila’s first Expo experience. What was it like meeting one-on-one with club owners and operators? What were some of their most frequent questions?
LEE: We had a great experience at the Expo with the opportunity in speaking with the club owners and operators directly that gave us some insight to our future business plan in expanding our brand within the industry. Most frequent question was why/how we came out with the name “Religion.”
As for the answer to that question, I’ll refer to the cover story written about Religion Tequila in the July issue of ED Magazine:
We noticed that the best tequilas often have terrible marketing, their brands were often second and third generation or more meaning they were traditional family names and not brands that were exciting for the target market. Millennials aren’t even able to remember or even pronounce correctly the names. I wanted Religion to use the same traditional methods of making the tequila to the highest standards but bring it into modern times by creating a brand that transcended language barriers (“religion” means the same thing in French, Spanish and English) and not be afraid to be different to stand out from the rest. Back when we were forecasting where the market would go, we saw the movement toward organic and were one of the first organic tequilas ever created.
Because of the controversial nature of the brand we had a hard time getting it to market. We were a big story in Mexico when our original labels came to the attention of the church and as a result our original shipment was banned from sale or export from Mexico and we had to go back to square one. It took a lot of faith to get Religion Tequila to market, at times it felt like God himself didn’t want Religion to hit the shelves!
THE ED PUB: Religion Tequila was also the ‘title’ sponsor of the bikini contest. Compared to other tradeshow and ‘business’ events that Religion Tequila has attended, how much fun was it to be part of an event like the Expo Bikini Contest?
LEE: It was definitely not a typical “business” event but we were very honored to be part of it!
Religion Tequila is not just another tequila brand. We don’t shy away from a little controversy. We are lovable with an attitude. We are the first all-accepting Religion and we embody both a saint and a sinner all in one. We feel a strong synergy between who we are as a brand and the gentlemen’s club industry. The motivation was for us to use this opportunity to show our commitment to the gentlemen’s club industry. We felt there isn’t another exciting spirit brand out there that can truly represent the gentlemen’s club industry as we can and want to establish ourselves as the tequila of choice in this industry—sinfully pure!
THE ED PUB: If you had the chance to sit down with an adult club owner to tell them about Religion Tequila in just a few sentences, what would you want them to know?
LEE: With a lot of choices to different tequila brands that’s available out in the market. We believe that our brand can be used creatively in collaborating with the establishments in creating a fun experience for their clients while offering a premium products which they would truly enjoy. I believe we can gain their support in building the Religion brand within the industry.
Religion is different in a number of ways; firstly it’s organic and has beaten out the world’s best tequilas in multiple blind tastings. We also have our own range of high-end organic cocktail mixers to provide bar and club owners with an instant “organic” cocktail menu with no need for qualified bar staff.
We have also developed a number of unique rituals when drinking religion including flavored wafers designed to enhance the tequila’s unique characteristics, the world’s first Manuka honey-infused tequila (made with real manuka honey all the way from New Zealand) and Religion’s epic new twist on the classic tequila flight—all of which are designed to assist our retailers to give the consumer a really unique “wow” drinking experience that will solidify the brands in their heads and keep them coming back for more.
THE ED PUB: What is your own personal background (born and raised, etc.). What are some of your hobbies outside of your average work day?
LEE: I was born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised here in the States. I really enjoy being active at the gym, boxing, read and spending time with my family outside of work.
THE ED PUB: Since this article is being done in conjunction with StripJointsMusic, what are your favorite bands or styles of music? If you could see any band or musician live, who would it be?
LEE: I like listening to the Top 40 music since I really appreciate each style of music depending on moods and etc. Recently I have been listening to a lot of K Pop. Wow. This is a tough one because if the question is for any artist dead or alive then I would like to have another opportunity in watching Michael Jackson perform again.