The global tequila category has enjoyed ongoing growth – after volume increases of 17% in 2021, the category is expected to grow at a volume CAGR of 7%, 2021-2026. As brand owners look to differentiate in a crowded marketplace, some are tapping into the enduring popularity of the colour pink, both in drinks and beyond.
Known as both millennial pink and Tumblr pink, the colour – particularly prevalent in gin – has enjoyed growing popularity over the years. Pink gin volumes, for example, grew 16% in 2021, and is expected to grow at a volume CAGR of 4% 2021-2026. The hue has also shifted its cultural associations, to become gender-neutral, and indeed gender-inclusive. E&J Gallo’s Pink Whitney, for example, targets a male audience. Launched in 2019, Pink Whitney is a pink lemonade-flavoured vodka inspired by the preferred New Amsterdam serve of Ryan Whitney, former NHL player and co-host of the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast.
Before the colour’s rise in fashion and culture, rosé wine was already growing in popularity. Like the colour in general, rosé’s increasing popularity was associated with millennials as well as the perceived approachability of the style. This approachable image led to drinks trends such as frosé. Part of the appeal of such drinks is, of course, their inherent suitability for social media.
Experimentation in Pink Tequila
A number of different methods are being used to achieve a pink colour. Whereas for many categories, such as gin, the hue has come from the addition of berry flavours, tequila largely seems to be treading a slightly different path.
Some pink tequila producers are making use of a technique already used by distillers to differentiate their products, one that’s also increasingly being used in the tequila industry: barrel-aging and finishing. In addition to giving these spirits a point of difference, and allowing for a wider range of flavours, they also offer a way of adding colour – through the use of a former red wine barrel, for example.
The additional benefit of aging or finishing tequila in former wine casks is the bridging of two drinks categories, allowing for collaborations between producers of different drinks and creating cross-category appeal too.
A number of producers have made use of specific red wine barrels, such as the ones sourced from Napa for Código’s 1530 Rosa-Reposado, or the Mexican cabernet sauvignon barrels for Ana María Tequila Rosa. The first in the industry to make use of former rosé barrels is Inspiro Tequila, to produce its Rosa Reposado. Inspiro founder, Mara Smith, worked with maestra tequilera Ana Maria Romero Mena to create Inspiro Tequila, aiming to help women feel more seen and relevant in the spirits industry by having them involved in every step of the process.
Barrel-aging isn’t the only way tequila producers are adding colour: Casa Rica, for example, makes use of the the red colour of mature agave plants, using them to create a dye to add it to its Tequila Rosado. The Butterfly Cannon, meanwhile, uses carmine to colour its Rosa Tequila, also infusing it with pink grapefruit.
Innovation in distillation and aging techniques is likely to continue as tequila continues to grow and attract new consumers. For more examples of pink tequila brand launches and innovation, IWSR clients can log into IWSR’s Radius Innovation Tracker.
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