Bottle service is here to stay, but the bottle itself has increasingly become an afterthought. The VIP practice of purchasing the best seats in the house ahead of time with personalized service remains both convenient and a marker of status, but the whole affair could afford an infusion of dignity. One could hardly imagine Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack sipping the night away on hastily made vodka cranberries, after all. Enter Volcán X.A, a tequila so exclusive it’s currently only available in select night clubs and restaurants around the world.
Volcán, the first premium tequila brand from LVMH, has already established itself on the top shelf, but X.A enters the market as its crown jewel. A mix of reposado, añejo and extra-añejo tequilas, each bottle takes ten years to make and is aged in the brand’s exclusive Grace Casks, all-American oak barrels. It’s 100 percent blue Weber agave, and like all of Volcán’s tequilas, there are no additives. The bottle itself is a work of art—one might be tempted to take it home as a souvenir. An homage to Mexico’s Tequila volcano, it features an ornate gold cap, brown ombré glass, and hand-painted details. Some bottles even feature a light at the bottom—all the better to stand out in the dark of a club (and the photos you’re sure to post the next day).
So why launch it exclusively at nightclubs and select high-end restaurants first? Well, according to Volcán chief operating officer Santiago Cortina Gallardo, the liquor came first, and the initial distribution method made the most sense. “It takes 10 years to craft a single bottle of X.A, which is produced in extremely limited quantities in our dedicated distillery, so we had to be very intentional about where it would be available,” he says. “We ultimately decided the most logical strategy for us would be to focus on on-premise distribution at nightclubs and restaurants, where we’d be able to reach our target consumers and drive desirability among them.”
The quality of the tequila does lends itself to an optimal night-out experience. It’s best taken neat or on the rocks. “The expression has no bite or after taste, so consumers won’t feel the need to mix it with other ingredients or mask the flavor with a slice of lime,” says Gallardo.
The launch comes amid something of renaissance for tequila, with both established liquor companies and celebrity-backed brands looking to get a piece of the pie. The global tequila market has ballooned to a size of nearly $10 billion, and by some estimates, is expected to reach $15 billion by the end of the decade. In other words, its days of being relegated to spring break body shots are long gone. “More consumers than ever are embracing tequila as a sipping spirit, like whisky, opposed to one to simply pour into a shot glass or mix into a cocktail,” says Gallardo.
X.A is currently available only in a few select clubs and restaurants concentrated in America’s nightlife meccas: New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Miami (although it’s also carried in a few select global venues, from St. Tropez to Bodrum, Turkey). In NYC, you can currently find it in venues as varied as The Box, Catch, and Brooklyn’s House of X. Gallardo says its distribution will broaden, with a limited retail release expected by the end of the year.