Tito’s Handmade Vodka?from Austin, Texas is gluten-free and distils its corn mash six times to give it a soft, smooth and crisp flavour. In 1997, Bert “Tito” Beveridge, now a 50-something geo-physicist, obtained the first legal permit to distill in Texas and created Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
It was recognised as the Spirit Brand of the Year 2014 by Wine Enthusiast magazine and Spirit Brand of the Year 2016 by Market Watch Leaders.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka is available at all leading restaurants, bars and wine shops. The brand is priced at Rs 4,480 in Mumbai, Rs 3,350 in Delhi and Rs 4,398 in Bangalore. Tito’s is represented in India by Aspri Spirits.
Vikram Achanta, Consulting Editor of Brews & Spirits, in conversation with Mr John McDonnell, Managing Director (International) for Tito’s Vodka:
Why did you choose corn?
Tito chose to make his vodka from corn because he believes this grain?results in a smoother vodka with a crisper finish compared to others on the market.?An additional benefit of using corn is that Tito’s is naturally gluten-free.
What’s with the “hand-made” on the label??
Tito’s Handmade Vodka is the name of the brand and recipe of founder and master distiller, Bert “Tito” Beveridge. He took time to perfect his corn-based recipe himself and, rather than the modern column still method, he uses the traditional pot still methods applied to fine single malt Scotch whisky and quality cognac.
This artisanal approach sparked a craft revolution and he has stayed true to his roots ever since.?Consumers recognise the time and skill invested in creating Tito’s and appreciate it as a simple, honest product sold at a fair price.
Have you ever thought of making or made any variants? If not, why not?
There will only ever be one Tito’s Handmade Vodka. We try to do one thing and do it really well; so we put all our energy into making the very best vodka out there.
But, if you like flavours in your vodka, we encourage you to make them yourself at home or in your bar. There’s nothing better than infusing fresh local ingredients to make your own custom blend, and it’s really easy.
Your label says ‘Distilled and Bottled by Fifth Generation Inc.’ Could you tell me the origin of the company’s name?
As a fifth generation Texan, Tito decided to name his company as a nod to his roots. Tito named the distillery Mockingbird Distillery, after the state bird of Texas.
Soon after he purchased the property in south-eastern Austin, Tito stood in the shade of a large tree to survey the site. A flock of mockingbirds suddenly took flight from that tree and filled the sky. He took that as a good omen – he had found the right place to be, and this was the right time to start.
I seem to recollect in a talk at the Berlin Bar Convent in 2015 that Bert “Tito” Beveridge’s passion was to make a “vodka which a woman would not make a face at when she drank it”. Can you tell me a little bit more about this statement?
Tito’s mission was to create a very smooth vodka, a vodka that all people – vodka connoisseurs and everyday drinkers alike – would love to sip. The clarity and unmatched smoothness of Tito’s Handmade Vodka is the cleanest expression of the spirit, and one of very few that is suitable to be enjoyed neat.
Who/what do you think deserves more credit for popularizing vodka? The Moscow Mule or James Bond?
The Moscow Mule and James Bond are history. It’s now all about The American Mule and Tito’s. You should try one!
Bartenders, especially the cocktail sorts, have traditionally been snobbish about vodka cocktails. Do you think that trend has changed??
Tito’s is being embraced by the bartending fraternity who are keen to discover and work with honest and straight-talking brands like Tito’s. We already work with many well-known bartenders who have become loyal fans.
Earlier this summer we announced our collaboration with the European Bartender School, the leading global school. We are working with them at their 25 centres, introducing the next generation of bartenders to the vodka category and the qualities of Tito’s, right at the start of their bartending careers.
What makes you bullish about the prospects for Tito’s in the Indian market??
The signs are already favourable and indicate that Tito’s will be welcomed not only by visitors and tourists in India but also the local population. Indians who travel are discovering craft on their travels and bringing Tito’s home with them.
Word will spread quickly and I am confident that Tito’s will be instrumental in driving growth in the white spirits category and also at the heart of the vodka cocktail trend in India.
What’s your desert island drink?
I only drink Tito’s and my favourite serve is Tito’s on the rocks.