Don Julio’s Grandson Bottles Three Generations Of Tequilero Wisdom In New Blanco
What began as a small, private batch tequila made for friends and family in Guadalajara has grown into a recognized, sought after brand in Mexico and the U.S.
LALO tequila, named after co-founder and maestro tequilero Eduardo “Lalo” González, the grandson of Don Julio González of the iconic Don Julio tequila brand, launched last year in the U.S. after several years of development and a tremendous reception at home in Guadalajara. Since its launch, the brand has seen a fast, increasing growth in just a few months.
González and LALO co-founder David R. Carballido have been friends since their early teens, and had worked separately in the tequila industry for more than a decade. They reconnected when the latter was working on a new tequila for Don Julio, and reached out to González to learn more about his family.
Upon sharing stories of his grandfather and the tequila-making process, they realized they shared similar ideas about how tequila should be made and decided to create their own brand.
From the start, the duo decided they would focus on making a blanco tequila only. “We did not set out to make blanco because it’s lower in calories, or is trendy or anything like that. We make it because that’s what we like to drink,” says Carballido. “We made something for us, by us. It’s the tequila we’ve been drinking for years with friends and family, and now we are sharing it with others.”
LALO is made with only three ingredients—100% blue agave, yeast, and well water, with no additives and no barrel aging. Hand-selected mature agaves from the Jalisco Highlands are cooked in stone ovens using a traditional process, and distilled twice to maintain the integrity of the plant and its flavors. During fermentation, a proprietary yeast used in Champagne is introduced.
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“Using a yeast strain adapted for Champagne is very unique for tequila,” says González. “It allows us to combine the richness of our agave with subtle fruity notes of wine. I love what it does with the juice.” The result is a platinum-colored spirit with aromas of cooked agave, sweet potato, cinnamon, and a hint of dulce de leche. On the palate, notes of citrus and tropical fruit develop.
González and Carballido partnered with their friend Jim McDermott, who would later become Carballido’s husband, to bring the tequila stateside. The trio decided the best place to introduce the brand was Austin, Texas. Now, LALO can be purchased online for shipping in 43 states (excluding Ohio, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Alaska, and Hawaii) and is widely available in retail stores, bars and restaurants throughout Texas. The average retail price is $46 per bottle.
“People can’t believe the price when they taste it,” said Carballido, who functions as creative director for LALO. “We want everything about this tequila to be honest – from ingredients to the packaging and the price — we don’t want LALO to be a special occasion spirit. Drinking it makes any occasion special. Tequila is the people’s spirit, after all.”
For González, the project took on an even deeper meaning when his father passed away during the development of the brand. “It was something that inspired me to keep working in this business, to honor the memory of my dad, and my grandfather. And that was enriched with David and Jim’s new ideas in the world of tequila which set the foundation for the creation of LALO.”
Because of their deep family roots and legacy in Jalisco’s Highlands, the makers of LALO are aware of their responsibility towards the community of Arandas. Every person involved in the manufacturing process is from the area and everyone earns fair wages. “When he started, my grandfather was a peasant. So, I see my grandfather in every single agave farmer. I see my grandfather in every single distillery worker,” says González.
“As the next generation of Mexican tequileros, we take very seriously our responsibility to the communities that we work with. Through our labor standards and community development initiatives we are proud to support the families of Los Altos de Jalisco.”
On Cinco de Mayo, various restaurants and bars across Texas will donate $1 from every LALO cocktail sold to local food banks.