iSociety: Rochelle Rose

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On the lush grassy fields of Elings Park, several hundred tequila lovers experienced a premier tequila and mescal tasting event at the fifth annual Santa Barbara Tequila Harvest Festival.

Presented by major sponsors The Berry Man Inc. and Number Juan Tequila, the sunny outdoor fete benefited the Elings Park Foundation, the Legal Aid Foundation and the Pacific Pride Foundation. More than 30 premium hand-selected tequilas and mezcales were available at colorful booths, as well as gourmet food samples from top local chefs and purveyors.

Agave Avenue is the event organizing company that started the flagship Santa Barbara event. The company specializes in the exhibition of agave-based distilled spirits and products and was established in Santa Barbara in 2010 by co-founders Albert Martinez and Ernesto Rodriguez.

“We graduated from UCSB and wanted to stay in Santa Barbara while we continued our studies and worked,” Rodriguez told Noozhawk. “This is the city of festivals, but we noticed that there wasn’t festival of this kind. This is our biggest year yet with the most attendees and the addition of the fashion show.

“At Agave Avenue, there is a saying we like to live by, and that is, ‘Harvest Your Agave Knowledge!’ It’s not only about imbibing but knowing the who, the where and the how of these agave-based distilled spirits and products.”

As background, tequila is a regional specific name for a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara, Mexico. Although tequila is a kind of mescal, modern tequila differs somewhat in the method of its production in the use of only blue agave plants. The red volcanic soil in this region of Mexico is particularly suited to the growing of the blue agave, and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year. Tequila is most often made at a 38 to 40 percent alcohol content (76 to 80 proof) but can be produced between 31 and 55 percent alcohol content (62 and 110 proof).

Tequila Harvest Festival guests enjoyed live music by Pepe Marquez & The Groove Line, as well as a runway fashion show by prominent Mexican fashion designer Ximena Valero.

Some of the participating tequila and mescal purveyors included Number Juan, 2&2 Liquor de Agave, Alquimia Organic, Casta Negra, Don Elias, Don Nacho, Don Pilar, Donkey Piss, El Cachanilla, Fortaleza, Joya, Karma, Los Tres Tonos, Mala Noche, Malinalli, Mestizo, Mezcaloteca, Real Minero, Revolucion, TeQava, and Trueque. Food booths were represented by Marmalade Café, Mony’s Taqueria, Cielto Restaurant, Santa Barbara Tamales to Go, World Cuisine, The Berry Man and others.

For more information, contact Agave Avenue at P.O. Box 8204, Goleta, CA 93118, by phone at 805.617.3998, by email at or click here.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.