Becky Davies: “Tequila is the real deal and that’s why it’s so exciting"

Drinks International caught up with Becky Davies, head of commercial at Ten Locks, to learn more about the firm's plans to kickstart a defining era for tequila in the UK.

Tequila is a category in the ascension internationally, enjoying record levels of production and exports last year. What does 2021 look like for tequila?

Globally, demand for tequila over the past four or five years has shown a shift towards brands that epitomise craft and bring serious quality credentials to the market. The word ‘craft’ is banded around and used interchangeably with the likes of ‘small batch’ and it’s confusing. Tequila is the real deal and that’s why it’s so exciting; history, heritage and craft are intrinsic to tequila, which is why it’s so well placed to appeal to the premium drinks consumer on all fronts.

A few pioneer brands are doing a brilliant job of profiling higher-end tequila as a premium drink – more on a par with good brandy or whisky. Tequila has come an incredibly long way from student bars and late-night clubs, firstly on the back bars of exclusive on trade venues and shelves of specialist retailers, before taking its rightful place as part of any credible BWS offering in supermarkets.

The takeaway is that the days of late-night shots of low quality liquid are gone. Kaput. Tequila 2.0 is trickling into consumer consciousness because it is attractive on so many levels.


A number of high-profile celebrity figures have launched tequila brands in recent years. What impact do you see this having on the category?

The likes of George Clooney, Justin Timberlake and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson are creating a groundswell of interest could work to bring new consumers into the category. Once they are in, it’s everyone’s game.

In a similar vein, female ambassadors will help to feminise the category and drive inclusivity, which is critical at a time when the industry is shifting on its axis, elevating BAME voices and tackling an inherent male bias.

In recent months we’ve also seen celebrities use the popularity of agave spirits to drive further appeal in other categories. For example, the launch of Travis Scott’s ‘agave-spiked’ RTDs bring together the booming hard seltzer market and proven appetite for agave spirits, which can only make the sector more accessible.

There is a risk though; consumers buying into a category that overdelivers on style and underdelivers on substance can only create a bubble that will pop, which is unnecessary when tequila has so much to offer without the bells and whistles.

Towards the end of last year, Ten Locks announced that it would be bringing El Tequileño to the UK for the first time. How did you come to the decision to distribute the brand?