Texas company Socorro combines tequila with charity

For every case sold, the young spirits brand donates clean water to orphanages, nursing homes and communities in Mexico.

Three bottles of Socorro tequila: blanco, reposado and anejo.

Socorro Tequila offers three varieties: blanco, reposado and añejo.

Browse the shelves at your local bar or liquor store and you’ll realize that every celebrity has a liquor brand. The trend is especially prevalent in the tequila space, which has labels associated with Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Michael Jordan and other megastars, including George Clooney, who famously sold his Casamigos brand for a killer price. So it’s refreshing and almost nostalgic to see a tequila brand launch without celebrity involvement, instead relying on the love for the category and its traditional home.

Socorro Tequila was founded by Pablo Antinori and Josh Irving. The duo met in Dallas while working at Southern Glazer’s, a large beverage distribution company. After years of selling other people’s spirits, they decided to branch out and create their own brand of tequila.

But first they needed to find the right spirits partner, so they began traveling to Jalisco, Mexico, to meet with distillers and sample products, visiting about two dozen facilities in the process.

Josh Irving (left) and Pablo Antinori

I love Tequila

On these trips they met people who worked at distilleries and lived in cities. They met children who needed food and did not have access to clean water. And more than once they were invited to someone’s house for dinner and even offered overnight accommodation.

Irving was amazed by the hospitality. He told InsideHook that he hadn’t been much of a philanthropist up until this point. But that experience in Mexico began the founders’ goal to impact the communities where tequila is made.

“We just looked at each other and thought: if we can’t help them, then who are we and what are we even doing?” says Irving.

Socorro means “help” or “assistance” in Spanish, which embodies the brand’s core mission of giving back. Through the Cause for Cause program, Socorro donates a case of clean water to orphanages and nursing homes in Jalisco for every case of tequila sold.

The company officially launched in 2020, and it hasn’t been the easiest year for anything, let alone launching an alcohol brand. But they’ve moved forward, winning over bar and liquor store owners over the past three years with their story—and what’s in the bottle. The more boxes sold, the more water was donated. To date, they have donated more than 36,000 cases of water to people in need, regularly traveling to Jalisco to donate it themselves.

“We put a lot of time, effort and energy into what you drink, but that’s the best part of what we do,” Antinori says of the Cause to Cause program.

You drink a set of three tequilas: blanco, reposado and anejo. Each starts with fully ripe agave, which is cooked in traditional brick ovens and then fermented for a minimum of 96 hours. Blanco has notes of cooked agave, sweet vanilla, citrus and tropical fruits. The reposado is aged for about four months and brings soft oak with notes of caramel and vanilla to the party. The year matures in about 14 months and contains more oak, as well as toffee, baking spices and cocoa.

Many aged tequilas are aged in used bourbon barrels or other American whiskey barrels. Socorro first tried this route, pouring tequila into bourbon barrels, but they didn’t like the result: they found the oak too spicy and noted that it overpowered the agave. Antinori explains that because used bourbon barrels are often shipped in bulk, Socorro’s team couldn’t control the level of char in the barrels, which affected stability. So they decided to age their rested and seasoned expressions in new American oak barrels, lightly toasted to their exact specifications.

“It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it,” Antinori says, noting that buying new barrels costs about twice as much as buying used ones. “We have to feel good about the product we’re selling.”

Want to try it yourself? You can find Socorro throughout Texas, in liquor stores from Amarillo to Corpus Christi, and in bars and restaurants from Dallas to Houston to San Antonio.

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