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Category-Defining Sotol Brand Hacienda de Chihuahua Announces National Communications Campaign


Naming OVERTON & ASSOCIATES as U.S. Agency of Record, Pioneering Spirits Producer Aims to Accelerate Sotol’s Surge

CHIHUAHUA CITY, MX — As a crowded agave category overheats with celebrity tequilas and overhyped mezcals, craft spirits consumers are heading for the desert in search of Mexico’s final frontier. Is America ready for its sotol boom?

Hacienda de Chihuahua, the world’s predominant sotol brand and the category’s long-standing leader by market share, announced today the launch of a national communications campaign to support the growth of the sotol category in the United States.

Led by OVERTON & ASSOCIATES—a spirits-specialized strategic communications agency with offices in New York and Chicago and a singular focus on category-building—Hacienda de Chihuahua’s first-ever U.S. campaign will aim to accelerate the suddenly-on-trend spirit’s surge in consumer discovery, industry adoption, and media recognition.

Sotol is a distilled spirit made from the Dasylirion wheeleri plant. More commonly known as “desert spoon,” this ancient flowering shrub is endemic to the arid and evocative terroir of northern Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, where sotol can only be wildcrafted from plants growing uncultivated. Unlike agave—the industrially cultivated base of tequila and mezcal, and a completely different plant altogether—the laborious and highly-regulated wild harvest of 'desert spoon' is a permanently sustainable practice. And so while sotol’s production volume will inevitably remain low relative to its more commodified cousins, its craftsmanship will always be high.

As a distillate of its own unique plant distinct from agave, sotol’s flavor profile tends to be brighter, grassier, earthier, and considerably more complex than that of comparable tequilas or mezcals. If tequila is Mexico’s Cognac, sotol is its Armagnac—an overlooked and inherently craft spirit sought out by a widening demographic of conscious consumers who value discovery, diversity, aroma, richness, and texture.

Arguably among Mexico’s oldest and most historic craft beverages, sotol traces its origins to the indigenous peoples of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Anasazi and Tarahumaras tribes first fermented sotol for medicinal purposes and use in sacred religious ceremonies more than 800 years ago. The practice of sotol distillation, however—in which the plant’s traditional base fermentation is elevated into a spirit—originated in the 16th to 18th centuries, as European conquest introduced distilling technology and culture to South America. This historic period became the genesis of Mexico’s three iconic distilling traditions: tequila, mezcal, and sotol.

Hacienda de Chihuahua was founded as a brand in 1996 by the Elias Madero family. Through its earliest iteration as Hacienda Tabalaopa—a 90,000 acre farm founded by the great-great grandfather of Hacienda de Chihuahua’s current owner—the property has seen sotol production since 1881. Both Hacienda de Chihuahua and Hacienda Tabalaopa remain family-owned.

As the pioneering producer of the modern sotol category, Hacienda de Chihuahua was the first brand to export the spirit globally and present it on the world stage. Even as sotol has until now largely stayed under the radar of mass consumer adoption, the brand has translated its trailblazer status into a dominant position as the category’s owner, leading the American sotol segment by dollars, distribution, availability, pedigree, and consumer preference.

Master Distiller Dr. José Daumas is credited as the modern-day creator of Hacienda de Chihuahua and its distinctive house style. Despite his reputation as an unassuming artisan who has hardly left the desert in decades, many spirits critics consider him to be the unsung architect of sotol’s slowburn rise—praise he largely ignores as a distraction from the distiller’s craft.

Daumas began his career in Paris in the 1950s creating base scents for famed parfumeries Dior and Bulgari. He studied enology in Montpellier, France, and was the first foreigner to graduate from the École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Montpellier (ENSAM). After receiving a Doctorate in Enology in 1962, he learned distilling in Cognac, where he worked for noted houses Martell and Larsen; following a stint with Moët & Chandon Champagne in Epernay, he returned to Mexico to oversee brandy production in Chihuahua—but due to a twist of fate ended up the progenitor of craft sotol instead.

“Sotol’s aromas and flavors differ substantially from tequila and mezcal, and these differences must be respected,” says Master Distiller José Daumas. “My main goal with sotol has always been to make a genuinely world-class spirit from it, expressing every element it offers, magnifying its scents and textures, and guiding its evolution with great care from wildharvest to final appreciation. Sotol stands alone in the world of spirits. ‘Una bebida fina es aquella que saca lo mejor de la planta’—a fine drink is one that brings out the best in the plant.”

As red-hot demand for tequila and mezcal has inspired American consumers to seek the final frontier of Mexican spirits, surging interest in agave has spilled over into sotol—and a once-lonely niche has become crowded with new entrants offering agave alternatives of varying quality. Powered by its pedigree, Hacienda de Chihuahua remains the incumbent in America’s nascent “sotol wars,” and the producer most likely to capitalize on the category boom caused by rising discovery and adoption.

“When you talk about sotol, you’re talking about Hacienda de Chihuahua,” says OVERTON & ASSOCIATES Founder Andrew Lohse. “This category-defining brand’s commanding position atop the spirits segment it pioneered is an insurmountable obstacle to any Big Alcohol-backed, celebrity-driven sotol upstarts seeking to compete with it. OVERTON & ASSOCIATES is confident that Hacienda de Chihuahua will remain the category leader for generations to come—let the sotol boom begin.”

Once overlooked, the sotol category is primed for takeoff in the American market. Its journey out of the Mexican desert has just begun.

For more information about Hacienda de Chihuahua and the rise of the sotol category in the United States, please contact Andrew Lohse at

Hacienda de Chihuahua Product Line

  • ●  Sotol Plata

  • ●  Sotol Rústico

  • ●  Sotol Platinum

  • ●  Sotol Reposado

  • ●  Sotol Añejo

  • ●  Sotol Oro Puro

  • ●  Sotol H5

  • ●  Crema De Sotol Nuez

  • ●  Crema De Sotol Chocolate About Hacienda de Chihuahua Hacienda de Chihuahua is the world’s predominant sotol producer, the first brand to export the spirit globally, and the category’s long-standing leader by market share. Founded in 1881 as Hacienda Tabalaopa, Hacienda de Chihuahua’s pioneering work to popularize Mexico’s mythical desert spirit on the world stage has been led by Master Distiller Dr. José Daumas, who is widely credited as “Sotol’s Founding Father.” About OVERTON & ASSOCIATES OVERTON & ASSOCIATES is a strategic communications and mythbuilding agency based in Manhattan and Chicago. Category-building on behalf of both established brands and ambitious startups across all sides of the beverage alcohol industry—and animated by a mission to “Move the Window” of perception in an increasingly surreal media landscape—OVERTON champions concepts whose time has come.



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