Published on July 23rd, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Holden Ching On Herradura Ultra, National Tequila Day 2018 & More
As one of Mexico’s most historic and renowned tequila producers, Herradura — translated to mean “Horseshoe” in Spanish — has been harvesting, crafting and estate-bottling 100% agave tequilas in the small town of Amatitian, Jalisco since 1870. Herradura’s deep heritage and dedication to the spirit provides a unique, credible perspective to tequila in today’s culture. For example, the brand invented the Reposado category, and now making oak-aged tequila is commonplace within that world.
Although Herradura is now sold in 77 countries, all of its tequila products are 100 percent agave. Just in time for National Tequila Day 2018, Herradura recently launched its Herradura Ultra line nationwide. To learn more about that, in addition to more about Herradura’s storied history as an industry leader, I had the pleasure of speaking with Herradura Brand Ambassador Holden Ching.
More on all things Herradura can be found online at www.herradura.com.
How did you far into the tequila world and wind up working with Herradura?
Holden Ching: In my early 20s, I was much more a fan of whiskeys and bourbons than tequila. In fact, I remember one specific memory where a friend asked me to go to a tequila event. I kept telling him, “that’s not something I’m interested in and really don’t want to go.” But after his extreme persistence, I agreed to go.
I remember being at the event and noticing a man dressed in all white robe with a red sash standing in the corner. No one was speaking to him — maybe it was because of his uncommon robe. It was his clothing that sparked my interest and so I went over and started up a conversation. I quickly came to find out he was a Jimador, the traditional name of the person whose job it is to field the agave from the blue agave fields. The more I talked to him, and we talked for some time, the more I realized tequila was much more interesting and complex than I could have ever imagined. From the history, heritage, and culture that surrounds the spirit, to the Agave plant, its harvest and the distilling process, I was hooked.
From there I became a sponge and learned as much as I could about the tequila industry. The tequila community is extremely inclusive, in fact some of the most important people in tequila were willing to share their knowledge with me. It’s an honor to represent Casa Herradura, its amazing history and all of the people who have built this amazing brand over nearly 150 years.
What is a day in the life as a brand ambassador like? How much travel is involved with your work?
Holden Ching: One thing I enjoy about my job is the amount of travel I get to do. In my role, I’m in a new city each week. This week alone I was in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. While each day brings a new challenge, my role as a storyteller and collaborator never changes. From training and educating both colleagues and the public about the tequila industry, to collaborating with other industry experts, both sharing information and at events, there’s never a dull moment. But my favorite part of my job is the new people I get to meet every day. Through trainings, courses and events, I’m able to connect with people in a meaningful way discussing something I love — tequila!
What is your favorite part about working with Herradura?
Holden Ching: Working with Herradura provides me the opportunity to work with one of the most storied tequila companies in the world. From the day the first agave was grown on the grounds of the Hacienda in Amatitián, to Aurelio López finding the horseshoe in the agave field giving Herradura its name — which means Horseshoe in Spanish — there’s pride in knowing I represent a company that was making and perfecting tequila long before many of the brands you see popular today. Herradura also quite literally invented categories of tequila, both Reposado and Extra Añejo. That inherent innovative spirit is part of what drives me to do what I love to do, educating people on Herradura and helping them fall in love with tequila.
Of all the Herradura varieties available, do you have a favorite?
Holden Ching: The beauty of tequila is that it’s versatile, and there is an expression for everyone. If you prefer a lighter, more fruit forward spirit, you may prefer a silver. If you prefer something a bit more complex, and something that lingers, an Añejo may be best for you. For me, my preference varies depending on the occasion. If I am out with friends at a bar, I want something that’s extrhemely smooth, so I would drink Herradura Ultra. If I am at home winding down for the evening, I may dive into the complexities of the Reposado or Añejo. It’s all about the occasion, and finding the tequila that best fits how you feel at that moment.
What else can you tell me about Herradura Ultra?
Holden Ching: I’m extremely excited that we’re currently launching Herradura Ultra nationally. For the past years we’ve been testing it in select markets and the feedback has been wonderful. Casa Herradura’s Añejo Tequila provides the base for our Herradura Ultra. The Añejo is first blended with our Extra Añejo that has been aged for up to 49 months in American White Oak barrels. A subtle hint of Agave nectar is added before the liquid is filtered, creating a rich, crystal-clear Tequila with a full-bodied flavor and smooth taste.
What does the brand have planned for National Tequila Day? And beyond that?
Holden Ching: In addition to launching our Herradura Ultra nationally, I’ll also be in New York for our Forbes 30 Under 30 event, kicking of an exciting partnership with Forbes 30 Under 30. Our brand ethos — “Luck is Earned” — celebrates makers who have forged their own path to success, similar to our own Herradura founders who recognized early on the potential in the Blue Agave fields outside Amatitián, Mexico, where Casa Herradura is located.
This ethos lead us to a partnership with Forbes 30 Under 30, now in its second year, celebrating some of our countries most innovative and driven young leaders as they forge their own paths to success.
When not busy with Herradura, how do you like to spend your free time?
Holden Ching: I’m a huge sports, both as a participant and as a spectator. Nothing beats being able to play beach volleyball on beautiful day! I’m really into food and checking out local food culture with my fiancée — it’s one of our favorite things to do. Food, sports & travel for the win!
What was the last concert you attended for fun?
Holden Ching: I’m a pretty big EDM fan, but my most recent concert was Gary Clark Jr. and Eric Clapton at the Forum in L.A. Epic, I’ll never forget that one!
Finally, Holden, any last words for the kids?
Holden Ching: Someone told me this recently and it immediately changed the way I think about things. “Be where your feet are,” which basically means to be in the moment. Enjoy the things you are doing and the people you are with, be present, focus on what’s in front of you… and why not do it with a glass of tequila in your hand!