“So, what makes your tequila different?”

That is the question we get asked the most by restaurant owners, liquor store retailers and consumers alike.

For many consumers, tequila can be an intimidating proposition. If chosen correctly, tequila can be an expensive choice; if chosen poorly, the experience can make you never want tequila again.

Goza has been in the tequila business only three years, but in both startups and the fiercely competitive spirits industry, that’s enough time to earn your stripes. We decided early on that we wanted to change the perception of tequila from a novelty spirit to one you can pull out any time of year for any occasion.

Goza Tequila CEO Jacob Gluck

For that reason, we made sure that quality was paired with affordability — because nothing says intimidating like a $60 bottle of tequila.

We cannot out-Patrón Patrón. We knew that if we were going to succeed, we would have to find our own path. We’d have to do a lot more with a lot less, and we’d have to find creative solutions to the complex market challenges inherent in an industry as dynamic as the spirits business.

So instead of focusing on all the ways in which our competitors had the edge, we chose to focus on the advantages that come along with being a startup. That meant aggressive, calculated risk-taking.

Perhaps most compelling is the idea of creating a brand that preaches inclusivity, as opposed to the exclusivity so often espoused by our competitors. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be a “boss,” and you definitely don’t have to wear a $5,000 Armani suit while riding a personal watercraft in Ibiza.

With big branding dollars behind the spirits industry, our message sometimes feels too simple to be true; however, we’ve found that the complicated messages of those premium brands are the ones that are ignored by a large market of consumers.

Like the Golden State Warriors (and the 2018 under-15 Maccabi basketball team I coach), we have been unafraid to jack the three. If we have a good idea, we can act on it immediately and are free from the restraints of a large bureaucracy, something that can hamper our rivals. We’ve even branded toilet paper (“Goza Tequila … it’s the” — well, you can guess the rest).

We pivot quickly and are unafraid to fail. We learn from our mistakes and improve. So far, our approach is working.

This past year Goza Tequila was honored with the Spirits of Mexico award, a blind taste test of more than 50 tequilas, including some of the premium brands that are well known. Staying true to the brand and taste, Goza’s Anejo won best in the category, and our other two expressions also were recognized for their excellence: Reposado taking a silver award and Blanco receiving a bronze.

Achieving this accolade gave Goza the stamp of approval and validation to move the brand forward and get further notice. In the past year, Goza has grown more than 200 percent and has expanded from Atlanta to New York to Texas, maintaining positive growth and rave reviews throughout.

So, what makes our tequila different?

The long answer touches on everything from the authenticity of product to smoothness of taste, the unique bottle design, and the relative affordability of a superpremium spirit. But at the end of the day, Goza Tequila is a story of what happens when you bring a startup mentality — usually reserved for tech companies — to a business and brand striving to make it in an industry that’s as old as time itself.

At its core, Goza’s mission is to take the intimidation out of tequila. We focus on connecting today’s consumer to the smooth taste made from 100 percent blue agave grown to peak maturity.

The truth is, Goza is not your sabba’s tequila. It has the superpremium taste you want and can be sipped alongside the highest-quality spirits from any category. Couple that with the rise of the burgeoning cocktail culture, and you have yourself a perfect recipe for a craft spirit made for the masses. At least we think so.

Jacob Gluck is the CEO and co-founder of Goza Tequila.