Distillery renames Tequila-inspired spirit after complaints from Mexico

A Dales distillery has renamed a spirit inspired by tequila after receiving complaints from Mexico.

The Wensleydale Spirit Company launched its latest premium spirit, t’Quila, at last year’s Great Yorkshire Show.

The drink was billed as the Leyburn-based distillery’s take on Tequila, the world-famous Mexican spirit.

However, the company has now been forced to change the name after receiving a complaint from the Mexican Tequila Association.

Owner Chris Taplin said: “We were delighted with our new spirit and even suggested that t’Quila was best served with a Yorkshire accent!

“Instead of using agave, which all Mexican tequilas do, this was a high-quality vodka, with added botanicals that we felt nodded towards the flavours of some famous tequila brands.

“Visitors at the Great Yorkshire Show loved it, and also enjoyed the light-hearted labelling which played on the fact that Yorkshire was probably the last place on Earth that anyone would expect to find a premium spirit made as an homage to the Mexican spirit.”

Sales were going very well until the company received a letter from the Mexican Tequila Association via the
British Embassy in Mexico.

It stated that all bottles should be removed from sale as it apparently breached the Mexican geographical indication for Tequila.

Chris added: “We were completely blind-sided by the demand from Mexico.

“We are a small distillery in the Yorkshire Dales, and we made it clear that while our t’Quila was a flavoured vodka we were not trying to pass it off as a real Tequila which has to be made within 60 miles of the town of Tequila in Mexico, not Leyburn in North Yorkshire.

“We argued our corner, but there was no compromise and we had to comply.”

The Wensleydale Spirit Company has now relaunched the spirit as TQ Vodka.

Chris said: “It’s the same drink exactly the same spirit that everyone loved, but now any mention of Mexico or Tequila has been removed. It is a premium, ultra-smooth top-quality spirit, double distilled in copper alembic stills, and is made by blending molasses, ginger, and lime with the finest and purest
potato-based vodka.

“Served neat, with mixers, or as the base for cocktails, the distillery has created a flavour sensation that the company says “marries hints of melon, citrus, pepper, vanilla, and smoke.

“This time last year we had no idea that we would be in a fight against Mexican officials which had the potential to seriously damage our distillery. At times it seemed absurd that from the middle of the Yorkshire Dales we had sufficiently ruffled the feathers of people on the other side of the world that they thought it worthwhile to confront us.

“Still, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and we are now confidently promoting TQ which I think it is fair to say has a back story like no other of our spirits.”

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