One could argue that Kansas City needs a good local tequila. The only issue? To be called tequila, the spirit must be made with blue agave grown, produced and bottled in Mexico in the state of Jalisco.
Now, Mi Rancho Tequila hopes to claim that honor. This past October, the local family-owned business launched its own line of authentic premium tequila made from 100 percent blue agave.
Michael Dean Trego, the president and owner of Mi Rancho, is a native of Mexico who grew up “right around 10th and Central” in Kansas City, Kansas.
His Kansas City-based company not only produces and bottles Mi Rancho tequila in Jamay, Jalisco, but also serves as its own importer, bringing bottles of his blanco, reposado and añejo into the United States and beyond.
“It is unusual for a company like Mi Rancho to serve both roles, and we are proud to use another Kansas City-based company, Scarbrough International, to help us bring the inventory in,” says Trego. “For me, it is simply a matter of quality control.”
Trego had worked in the construction business for years while he and his wife, Guadalupe, raised six kids. Fatherhood got him thinking about his desire to create a family business tied to he and his wife’s shared Mexican heritage. In 2008, they began laying the groundwork for Mi Rancho tequila.
“It took us nearly 10 years to figure out the logistics, paperwork and recipes before we were ready to launch Mi Rancho in the fall of 2016,” he says. “We spent more time and money figuring out what the stuff in the bottle would taste like than we spent on what the bottle itself would look like.”
Skipping the fancy bottle, packaging and giant marketing campaigns employed by some of the bigger corporate tequila brands, Trego instead kept his focus on creating a quality spirit and selling it at an affordable price.
Kevin Hodge, owner of Cellar Rat Wine Merchants in the Crossroads, carries all three of the Mi Rancho tequilas. He says once people taste them, they buy them. “Michael likes to play it off, but he has made a quality tequila that has ties to Kansas City,” Hodge says. “If I can get people to sample it, they buy it, because it tastes great and it sells at an extremely affordable price.”
The Mi Rancho Blanco retails for $19.99 a bottle; the reposado, which has been aged in oak barrels for one year, for $24.99; and the añejo for $34.99.
Trego estimates he is currently bringing in 200 to 600 cases of tequila each month. His tequila is sold in over 56 restaurants, bars and liquor shops in both Kansas and Missouri. He says he is hoping to expand to 86 locations by Cinco de Mayo this year. “Our liquor reps are keeping busy right now, and we are proud of the fact that Mi Rancho Tequila won the Spirits International Prestige (SIP) Award taking Platinum, earning 96 points out of 100,” says Trego. “Every award we win continues to help us tell the story of our tequila.”
Trego mentions a few of the local Kansas City restaurants embracing Mi Rancho, including Teocali Mexican restaurant and the Bread and Butter Concepts restaurant group. Enrique Gutierrez, owner of Teocali restaurant, boasts 100 different brands of tequila behind the bar of his popular restaurant located in the Longfellow neighborhood. Once he tasted Mi Rancho tequila, though, he made it the restaurant's house tequila, which is used in its margaritas.
Scott Tipton, the beverage director for Bread & Butter Concepts, worked with Mi Rancho tequila for the first time in 2016 at Comida, a popular fundraiser that features food and drinks from Latin America, Brazil and Spain. Since then, he has decided to add Mi Rancho tequila behind the bar at half of the restaurants in the group, including Taco Republic.
Trego says he is looking forward to participating in this year’s Comida event, which will take place at Union Station on Thu., April 20, as a main sponsor. In addition to offering a signature drink, he will allow guests to sample his tequila straight so they can taste the difference for themselves. “Our tequila has the lowest methanol content of any tequila in the world, and this is important because methanol is what causes a hangover,” says Trego. “After drinking Mi Rancho Tequila, you won’t have a hangover.”
Trego says that the Mi Rancho blanco tequila is the best indicator of the quality of the spirit. “It is the most authentic,” he says. “If that product is good, you know the reposado and añejo, once aged, will be good as well.”
For more information about Mi Rancho tequila and where to find it, visit miranchotequila.com.