We caught up with Cristina Allen, Co-Founder of Volans Tequila to talk about how family and history came together to form this premium Tequila brand.
When did you first meet and did you ever think that you would be starting a Tequila brand together?
Cristina: We met in Los Angeles in 2004 where we went to the same school, and worked in the music industry. Back then, traditionally-made premium Tequila was starting to become more mainstream, but people were not sipping it yet. I can't say we ever thought we would start a Tequila brand together, but we were the biggest tequila advocates. It has always been my drink of choice. The problem was you couldn't always find good Tequila options in some regions of the U.S., that was the reason we decided to create a premium tequila brand. Changing people's perception is important because well made Tequila is delicious.
What have you learned about distributing Tequila in the U.S.?
Everyone at the Idaho State Liquor Division is very accommodating and critical to be able to import our Tequila and to warehouse it in Idaho. Nationwide major distributors do a great job and are very efficient, but that changes with the fact that we are a craft tequila company. Every batch of Volans Tequila is made with great attention to details, we want to focus our goals to that market where people are looking for quality and something distinctive; that doesn't mean hard to find.
Our first shipment of tequila was only a year ago. We were so happy to find such a great partner with Sip Tequila; the packaging is incredible and fast. We are also available in Idaho & Nevada. We are also in talks with a couple of distributors in several select states. You can look at our website VolansTequila.com to find where we are available.
You focus on ultra premium ingredients and production, what effect does this have on the final product?
Our goal as a company is to offer the best-tasting Tequila, with the best ingredients and zero additives. We are proud of every single detail that goes into production, from the selection of single estate agaves to the yeast that has been in the Camarena Family for many generations, to the best quality water in the Los Altos Region.
El Pandillo is located at a higher elevation in Jesus Maria where the water is pristine, they have a deep well with excellent minerality, and the distillery roof acts as a large rainwater collection system that goes into a 50k gallon cistern. Agaves are cooked in a traditional stone oven for over 36 hours; the steam comes out on top and bottom for a more even cooking. The juice is extracted with one of a kind mechanical Tahona nicknamed "the Felipestein." Next, the mosto is fermented in open-air tanks. The mosto is double distilled in beautiful copper-pot stills.
All along the way, there are innovative processes that Felipe has created to make the distillery more sustainable. Both Volans Blanco and Extra Añejo tequilas are made with all three sources of water deep well, spring and rainwater. The Extra Añejo is aged in used American white oak barrels in an underground cellar for over 3 and a half years. You can find notes of cooked Agave, vanilla, slightly oaky, and minerality. Difference between both is that the Blanco is oxygenated, with notes of cooked Agave, minerals, pepper, citrus, and anise, we just loved the character and flavor, with the surprising instant gratification. It's like a great first impression on every sip.
The Blanco is so delicious that as some well-respected tequila experts have described the Blanco as almost dangerous since you don't get tired of it, and it goes down easy.
Our next plan is to release a single barrel Reposado. We have to select our barrels, and hopefully, in the fall, we can have something ready. All these details make Volans Tequila one of the finest premium small-batch Tequila. If you're looking to taste the 'real Tequila' as my dad would say, we are your best option.
Both of your families are very involved in Volans. Tell me why family is so important in what you do?
We are fortunate to say that our parents are our biggest influence, Lonnie Allen is a long time flyfishing lodge owner and award-winning outfitter. She's our business partner, and we make a great team. Our goals and views are in sync, and it's important for us to be able to support each other.
My father, Miguel Angel Avila, is the reason we were able to achieve this venture. He is a successful agronomist with decades of experience in the agave business. He has a great pallet, and we look up to him very much.
How do you enjoy Volans at home in Eagle, Idaho?
Most of the time, we drink Volans neat, but we have fun mixing it sometimes; fresh squeezed grapefruit juice “Paloma" is delicious as are margaritas, or a Jalisco Mule. We also like to grill and cook different meals and salsas to pair with Volans. The most important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to enjoy Volans. Enjoy it in whatever glass you like or with whatever mixer you enjoy!