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Meet Jordan Dil and Mikel Noriega of Elenita Mezcal in Central LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Dil and Mikel Noriega.

Jordan and Mikel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My partner, Mikel, and I met in business school at UCLA Anderson. I moved to LA from Calgary, Canada and Mikel from Mexico City. We connected over our desire to break out of our traditional corporate job molds and love for mezcal. While in business school, we had the opportunity to start a business and decided to explore launching a mezcal brand with a few of our friends from business school. We spent a year researching the category, interviewing people in the industry in the US, and traveling to Mexico several times to immerse ourselves in the world of Mezcal. We realized that while mezcal is a booming category here in the US, there were already so many mezcal brands out there that were positioning the spirit as a cocktail ingredient. We decided to differentiate ourselves by offering it as a finished product through introducing the first sparkling mezcal cocktail in a can in the US market. We also set out to build a brand that very much resonated with our experience around mezcal and starting this business: one that inspires curiosity, authenticity and deep & genuine connections.

We worked hard to develop our own supply chain in Mexico with some key partners, developed flavors that are unique yet popular combinations in the US market and officially launched in December of 2019. We started off self-distributing to independent liquor stores in the LA market and selling online. Today we’re in over 180 retailers across the state, including BevMo and Total Wine, and will soon be expanding to additional retail chains and other states.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been far from a smooth road – so many times we’ve faced what seemed like impossible obstacles and have had to find ways to get through them. Some of the challenges have been around importing and regulatory approvals that have often been delayed, potentially jeopardizing large purchase orders and retail launches. We’ve also run into production challenges, which my rock star business partner has, Mikel, has had to find a way to solve from a distance during COVID since Elenita is produced in Mexico. Others have had to do with finding ways to get buy in from retailers and distributors, given that they’ve never seen a product like ours – on one hand it is unique, but on the other many of these buyers are just looking for copy-cat versions of what they know already sells (ie, another White Claw). We find ourselves constantly pitching, getting rejected, learning, adjusting, and going at it again until we manage to get through. Every week there seems to be something else that is stacked up against us, but as long as we never lose sight of our vision, persevere, and have a positive outlook, we’ve always been able to find a solution to whatever challenge is facing us.

Elenita Mezcal – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Elenita is a canned sparkling mezcal brand and is the first and only canned ready-to-drink mezcal beverage in the US market. We offer two unique flavors, cucumber lime basil and pineapple jalapeno. Both are a light and refreshing take on a mezcal cocktail, and perfect for mezcal drinkers and those curious to explore the category. We specialize in creating authentic beverages for those seeking authentic substance, and through our brand hope to inspire curiosity, adventure and authentic connection. In the alcoholic beverage landscape that’s flooded with malt-based spiked seltzers and the more common vodka/tequila canned cocktails, Elenita is the only mezcal based canned cocktail. This along with our unique flavors and fresh, authentic brand really sets us apart. We’re proud of the product we were able to develop given the complexity of the mezcal business in Mexico, the authentic brand we are building, and the absolutely delicious liquid we have achieved. We’re also very excited about the new flavors we are launching in the coming months.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I’ve always had a hard time defining success since for me, it’s always been one of those things where every time I reach a point of success or a milestone, I immediately start thinking about that next level of achievement. With that said, one thing I do try to hold myself accountable to is ending every day, week, etc. knowing that I did absolutely everything that I could, and put my best foot forward in being the best person, leader, and team member for Elenita that I could. Going to bed at night and being able to honestly tell myself that I did everything I could make me feel like I’ve been successful. The big wins like launching new states, securing new retailers, and hitting sales goals are a massive part of it, but one thing we’ve learned is there’s so much in this business that is out of our control and allowing ourselves to be swayed by those outcomes is both distracting and emotionally exhausting.

From a business standpoint, success to me is having Elenita (1) known across the US market as the go-to mezcal beverage to drink in casual social settings (2) recognized as a company that continuously develops high quality and unique ready-to-drink beverages (3) loved as a brand that connects with people on a deeper level.

Pricing:

  • Single Can: $3.99
  • 4-pack: $12.99

Contact Info:

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