Margarita Mega Merger

On November 9th, Texas-based Pura Vida Spirits Company and Milestone Brands officially teamed up to take the original Mexican Orange Liqueur, NARANJA, “nationwide” as ZZ Top front man and Pura Vida Spirits investor, Billy Gibbons, likes to say. Bolstered by the significant resources and successes of the Milestone Brands team, NARANJA will launch nationwide in January 2018. Milestone Brands formed in February 2016 by former Deep Eddy Vodka CEO, Eric Dopkins and Deep Eddy Vodka co-founder, Chad Auler.

NARANJA is produced by La Madrileña, brand owner of Controy, the original creator of the Mexican orange liqueur. NARANJA is the secret ingredient necessary for any authentic Mexican margarita, and for nearly a century this premium orange liqueur was available only in Mexico. Now that the secret is out, thanks to Milestone brands and Pura Vida Spirits Company, margarita lovers everywhere will soon be able to make margaritas taste like they do in Mexico with NARANJA.

To understand the significance of the NARANJA and its rich Mexican history, we must first look back to the creation of the first Margarita in October of 1941 at Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico. One particularly slow afternoon, while Don Carlos Orozco was experimenting with mixing new drinks, a prestigious visitor arrived, Margarita Henkel, daughter of the German ambassador. Don Carlos offered his newest creation to Miss. Margarita to taste and she loved it so much that he decided to name it “La Margarita” in her honor, as she was the first person ever to drink one. Legend has it, that inaugural margarita was little more than a mixture of equal parts tequila, NARANJA, and lime; shaken and served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass.

Tradition is—and always will be—the cornerstone of NARANJA, and its continued success and growth into a bigger market will rely heavily on its recipe and packaging, both of which speak to the unique heritage of Mexico. A truly authentic margarita can only happen with Mexican ingredients, and Naranja was one of the two base spirits in the invention of the now-iconic Mexican cocktail. As Pura Vida Chairman, Stewart Skloss, likes to say, “Margaritas come from Mexico, so should the ingredients.”

Moreover, “As the Tequila category continues to grow, we feel NARANJA will play a significant role using a recipe and package that speak to the heritage of Mexico,” said Eric Dopkins, founder and CEO of Milestone Brands.

Skloss added, “I’m thrilled about the acquisition for this truly authentic brand and look forward to supporting the Milestone team on NARANJA’S projected growth.”

In such a competitive vertical, NARANJA has an important edge. Being the original spirit in the original margarita, it will always stand as the emblem of authenticity in orange liqueurs.