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Thin Air

Lawrence Elizabeth Knox | June 28, 2017 | Feature

A entrepreneur and former pilot launches his own tequila label.

Airplanes and tequila are usually thought of together only when you need a stiff drink on a long flight. As 49-year-old Houston entrepreneur and former pilot Robert Tijerina prepares to expand his locally based premium tequila label into new markets, however, agave and aviation couldn’t be more connected.

In 1991, Tijerina launched a jet brokerage firm, Priority 1 Aviation, and over the years, he grew accustomed to sipping tequila over lunches with biz execs and clients down in Mexico. “Without asking, [waiters] put your tequila and your little Clamato in front of you,” he said. So it wasn’t long before Tijerina, always a dreamer, and Sergio Maccise, a former jet customer-turned-friend, decided to launch their own label.

Made with 100 percent blue agave produced in Jalisco, Mexico, Titanium—named for the lightweight metal used in aircraft—has a powerful yet smooth finish. It’s already stocked on shelves locally, and this summer, it’s entering markets outside the Lone Star State.

The tequila has been quick to score critical praise, and it may be the next Tito’s, which began as a small-batch production in Austin in the ’90s and can now be found behind bars across the country. So what makes his so special? Smell, Tijerina says. He takes a sniff, laughs, then sighs. “Heaven.”


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