SaloonBox Behind The Scenes: Azunia Tequila's Kailee Asher
If we had to make a list of the qualities to look for in an outstanding tequila, Azuñia Tequila would check off every line item. In fact, we did make such a list. If you are a SaloonBox subscriber, you can see our list of top things to look out for in a high quality tequila in your kit this month. What's even more exciting than that? We are including Azuñia Tequila in our box this month.
We got a chance to talk to Kailee Asher recently and we asked her to shed some light on the "behind the scenes" life at Azuñia. Kailee holds the dual role of sales manager and mixologist for the company and comes up with many of their great cocktails. Here's what she had to say:
Can you tell us about your background? What inspired your career choice?
My background is in hospitality. I am from Las Vegas and am a “casino kid,” meaning both my parents worked in the casinos. I attended UNLV and received my Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies, but started working in nightlife and hospitality while going to college. I continued working behind the bar until I took my job with Azunia. That was 4 years ago. I wanted to be able to do something that mixed those two worlds, PR, Marketing, bartending and creating cocktails. I feel so blessed to have the job that I have, but it’s been a long process to get here.
Is there a most exciting moment in your career that stands out?
I think the most rewarding thing about my job is when someone tastes Azuñia for the first time, and their eyes light up and they say, “Wow! That’s really good tequila.” And I get to respond with “I know.”
How did you begin working with Azuñia?
So, long story boring, my dear friend Danielle was one of Azuñia’s first sales reps. She worked for them for a few years and her fiancé was getting relocated to Italy for his job. So she put my name in the hat for the job opportunity. I interviewed with a few different people and I got the job. Sometimes it’s all about timing.
Tell us about being a mixologist for the brand? What does that part of your role entail?
Brand mixologist sounds like a glorious job title, right? Well, let me be honest. It is! But it’s also quite a bit of work, and I can’t really clock out. In regards to the actual mixology part, I help come up with cocktail recipes for events or sales reps or national account presentations and we present those drinks to customers or serve them at events.
What are some challenges you face in your role or in working in the tequila industry in general?
Challenges hmmm… well there are long hours, late hours, working weekends. Definitely can be taxing on a personal relationship unless you have a lot of trust in one another. I also think that when you are trying to build a brand especially when you believe in it so much like we do with Azuñia, you treat the brand like it’s your child. It’s good and it’s bad - we take so much pride in who we are and what we do. I think anyone who is a brand ambassador for a brand can attest to that.
What excites you most about the brand? And what sets it apart from other tequilas on the market?
You know, I have loved the product since before I began working for Azuñia. It’s organic, estate grown and family produced tequila. Not too many people can say that honestly. I wouldn’t work for a liquor brand I didn’t believe in. And the bottom line is it’s just one of the best tequilas out there.
What’s next? Are there any upcoming or recent Azuñia projects or promotions you can tell us about?
We constantly have events going on all over the U.S. We are going to be at Bar Institute, San Antonio Cocktail Conference, Arizona Cocktail Week, Tales of the Cocktail, New Mexico Cocktails and Culture, Distilled San Diego. This doesn’t even include all the local tequila and margarita events we participate in all over the country. Come find us!
Have you seen any new cocktail ingredient trends or techniques springing?
As for trends, I’ve seen a lot over the past couple years that pertain to drink presentation. Large or unique shaped ice cubes, awesome garnished like edible flowers, dehydrated citrus, spices and fresh herbs and most of all interesting and unique glassware.
If you had to give a gold medal to the best Azuñia cocktail you’ve ever come across, what would it be?
Oh man, best Azuñia cocktail? I love stirred and boozy drinks and I love tequila paired with rum or cognac or sherry…. but for simplicity sake, I really love our Organica Margarita. 148 calories. Bright, citrusy, refreshing. It’s great anytime of year, especially when you can add some fresh seasonal fruit or ingredients.
And, finally, what’s your favorite way to drink Azuñia?
I really just love our Reposado served neat. Why mess with perfection?