In the world of spirits, big conglomerates dominate the market. Because of that, it takes something truly special to stand out. McCauley Williams, the mastermind behind Blue Note Bourbon and the eco-conscious tequila brand Alma del Jaguar, knows this all too well. His journey from mergers and acquisitions to founding his own spirits company is a testament to the power of passion, purpose, and quality.
Williams, a corporate attorney by training, always had an entrepreneurial spirit. After working in mergers and acquisitions and securities law, he found himself drawn to the craft spirits industry. He bought a failed vodka distillery and transformed it into a successful whiskey distillery, Blue Note Bourbon. However, his desire to do more as an entrepreneur led him to found Morningside Brands and launch Alma del Jaguar, a tequila brand with a higher purpose.
What sets Alma del Jaguar apart from other tequila brands is its commitment to authenticity, integrity, and sustainability. Williams recognized the growing consumer trend towards transparency and quality in products. He discovered that most tequilas on the market contain chemical additives and manipulants, which are not disclosed on the label. This led him to create an additive-free tequila, made only from agave, water, and yeast. The result is a tequila that not only tastes exceptional but also aligns with the demand for authentic and high-quality products.
But Alma del Jaguar goes beyond just producing a great tequila. Williams wanted to create a brand with a higher purpose. Inspired by his uncle’s work in wildlife conservation, specifically the protection of jaguars, Williams decided to tie his tequila brand to this cause. The brand’s name, Alma del Jaguar, translates to “Soul of the Jaguar,” reflecting its commitment to supporting jaguar conservation efforts.
The tequila industry itself is a binational endeavor, with most tequila being produced in Mexico and consumed in the United States. Williams saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between these two countries and raise awareness for borderland conservation. By creating a tequila brand that champions the cause of jaguar conservation, Williams aims to make the conversation more approachable and engaging for everyday people.
But it doesn’t stop there. Williams wanted to ensure that Alma del Jaguar’s commitment to sustainability extended to every aspect of the brand. The tequila is produced in a family-owned distillery and ranch in Jalisco, Mexico, where they practice sustainable processes and grow their own agave. The packaging is made from 100% recycled materials, including recycled glass, labels made from leftover agave fiber, and biodegradable seals. The brand’s dedication to sustainability is a testament to its mission of doing things the right way, without compromising the environment.
But building a brand like Alma del Jaguar is no easy feat. Williams had to navigate the complexities of the spirits industry, from sourcing materials and negotiating distribution partnerships to obtaining licenses and building a marketing campaign. But his passion has allowed him to build a brand that not only stands for exceptional quality but also makes a positive impact on the environment and wildlife conservation.
Williams believes that for-profit companies can have a higher purpose and make a difference in the world. By combining profitability with a commitment to sustainability and conservation, he has created a brand that resonates with consumers who value authenticity and integrity.
So, the next time you raise a glass of Alma del Jaguar tequila, remember the journey behind it. It’s a journey of passion, purpose, and quality. It’s a journey that challenges the status quo and proves that profitability and sustainability can go hand in hand. And most importantly, it’s a journey that reminds us of the power of capitalism when it is driven by a higher calling.