I almost never write about booze I get for free, but I'm going to make an exception for Tres Generaciones, because I need to make a point. Last month, Businessweek published a blistering report on the modern-day tequila industry, exposing it as a house of cards built on increasingly fragile agave plants, bred to be virtually clones to ensure maximum output, all for the benefit of an insatiable American market. The primary target of the story? Sauza, the dynasty whose name the descendants of founder Cenobio Sauza can't use to sell their own boutique brands due to trademark laws. Regular Sauza is crap, and I said that as such to the Charleston City Paper, when they interviewed me about great tequilas to try.
Soon after, a Sauza PR person reached out and asked me to give them another try. Shortly after, two bottles of Sauza appeared at my office. I gave those away, but kept Tres Generaciones, Sauza's boutique label to cash in on the premium tequila boom.
The bottle is pretty enough: tiny, with a gold leaf design and individual numbering. Being a reposado, it's sweet, slightly peppery, and smooth. Don't get me wrong: Tres Generaciones is a good tequila–not great, nowhere near the caliber of ON Tequila or Fortaleza, but also not the rotgut that is Sauza. If I saw it at the bar, and there was no Corralejo around, I'd take the plunge. And that's the lesson, Sauza: don't pay attention to quantity, like what you're doing with your namesake brand. Care about quality–Tres Generaciones leans toward that. And, most importantly, don't take your cues from gabachos regarding your business model; pay attention to those of us Mexicans who care for the drink and don't like what you, Cuervo, and others have done to the gift of Mayahuel.