If you’ve watched the seventh season of the HBO TV show “Entourage,” you’ve probably noticed a tequila called Avion. The story line of the show involves a character going into business with a tequila producer and the tequila is – you guessed it – Avion. What most people don’t realize is that the tequila wasn’t made up for the show – It’s real!
The surprising thing about this interesting bit of product placement for Avion is that HBO productions technically do not allow brands to purchase product placement. How did Avion get around this fact? They got their product placed on the show for free.
The creator of “Entourage,” Doug Ellin, happened to grow up with Kenny Dichtor, one of the founders of Avion. Ellin agreed to let his characters chug the spirit on the show as long as he retained total creative control over how the brand is shown during the TV show. It seems to be a relationship that benefited the show and the tequila maker. Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.
What is the Story Behind Avion Tequila?
The Avion website states “Tequila Avion is love.” Pretentious, no? Still, when they describe the process by which the tequila is made, it does indeed sound like a labor of love, bordering on unhealthy obsession. Supposedly, the makers of Avion pick Blue Weber agave by hand from the hills of Jalisco, about 7,000 feet above sea level, and then slow roast the agave in a brick oven. Then they “love it a little longer,” running it through a filtration process that takes up to 10 times longer than other tequilas.
A relatively new company, Avion was formed by people with experience in the beverage industry working for businesses like Seagrams and E&J Gallo. Their stated goal was to create a new tequila that defined a new standard of quality and taste. They must have forgotten to include the part about using personal relationships to define a new paradigm for cheap product placement and marketing.
How much did “Entourage” help Avion Tequila?
The appearance of Avion on Entourage had a strange effect on the brand. Since the tequila brand was so new, it was only available in limited distribution in New York and California when it appeared on the show. This created a unique situation for the company, since they instantly achieved brand awareness with millions of customers, but had the unique problem of convincing those customers that the product was real, even though they might not see it on the shelves of their liquor store.
Avion rushed to get distribution in place, eventually partnering with Pernod Ricard to get their very real bottles of tequila on very real liquor store shelves around the world. They adjusted their marketing campaign to try to convince people that the brand they saw on TV was, in fact, a real brand, and just as delicious as the actors claimed. The end result is that the company managed to complete about 10 to 15 years of brand development, marketing, and distribution in about a year, all thanks to a TV show.
How good is Avion Tequila on the “Entourage” TV show?
Avion is apparently pretty darn good on the “Entourage” TV show. The big star of the show, Vince, drinks it fairly frequently. In fact, he almost loses a movie role on the show by taking a few too many shots of Avion before an audition.
Vince’s buddy, Turtle, is the one who goes into the tequila business. He partners up with the fictional producer of Avion on the show. With him peddling the stuff, he seems to manage to keep a glass in his buddies’ hands pretty consistently throughout the show.
How good is Avion Tequila in real life?
Here’s the really surprising part – Avion tequila is not bad at all in real life. While it has no editor reviews on Tequila.net, Avion silver does have four user reviews with an average score of 88. Most of the comments spoke favorably of the initial taste and the noticeable true agave flavor. A few reviewers mentioned that the finish was not very strong.
Avion tequila has performed very well in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. In 2012, Avion’s drinks won a silver medal, a gold medal for Best Un-aged White Spirit, and a gold medal for Best Tequila. In 2011, they won a gold medal as well.
It is surprising to hear a success story like Avion’s just because of how they came to be so popular. It tastes good, but there are better-tasting tequilas out there (108 of them) according to tequila.net users. Still, this brand has established itself as a legitimate player, thanks to the publicity that came their way basically through pure dumb luck.