Home Australia Two Minutes with Patrón’s Lee Applbaum

Two Minutes with Patrón’s Lee Applbaum

Lee Applbaum

Drinks World sat down with Patrón Ambassador and Global Chief Marketing Officer, Lee Applbaum, to bring you up to speed with the brand’s progress in the Australian market.

Here’s two minutes with Lee Applbaum…


Just some perspective: Patrón is a 27-year-old brand that essentially launched with three tequilas: Silver, Reposado and Añejo. In the following 26 years, with the exception of things like XO Cafe, we’ve only added six tequilas.

We’re very thoughtful in terms of product development. We don’t flavour du jour and we’re very, very thoughtful about ensuring that whatever we launch is something that has been carefully considered and meets our extraordinarily high standards. We’re not launching something new and crazy all the time. We do some limited expressions here and there, but we’re not a marketing-led enterprise. When our master distiller tells us he found something that’s ready for consumers or for the trade, we’ll figure out how to market it. And usually it markets itself pretty well.

So from a product standpoint, in Australia, it’s really been about some of the marks in our portfolio and bringing them here. As palates have been evolving with Australians and with tequila, we can introduce a broader portion of our range, like the Grán line, the Burdeos, which is a Bordeaux finish, and the Piedra, which is an Extra Añejo, more like a scotch or whisky. We’re trying to be very thoughtful in markets like Australia, and in fact globally, about how quickly we push to evolve the palates.

We want to make sure that the foundational understanding of Silver, Reposado, and Añejo are understood, and that we don’t get ahead of ourselves. And right now, it’s a thoughtful evolution. We want to make sure that Australians are moving from the thought that tequila is the thing with the worm in the bottle, to understanding the versatility; to understanding what it means to make artisanal handcrafted tequila and the wide range of options.

We realize there is a consumer in Australia today, a very curious consumer, looking for a very high-end mark. This is $550 per bottle for Patrón Gran Piedra, and $800 per bottle forPatrón Gran Burdeos; very expensive, but there are going to be consumers with the interest and the means to do that. But we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.

Our brand has a tremendous amount of swagger to it. We are a luxury premium brand, so we want to convey that in everything we do. But we also want to be sure that there’s a real purpose to what we do as well. We want to ensure that people not only see us as an aspirational luxury brand, but an authentic brand that has the credibility and substance to back up the style. So what you’ll see in all of our activations is not only a cool party, but also an event that is intended to educate.

We hope that people walk away learning something about our brand, but then more broadly, learning something about ultra premium tequila. If all you do is walk away and say, “Cool Patrón party”, that’s okay. But I’d rather you walk away and say “Cool Patrón party—I had no idea that tequila could be that versatile” or “I’ve never tasted it this way or that way.” That’s the most important thing because that’s the long-term growth of the brand.

For more information on Patrón, visit www.patrontequila.com.