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Guest Column

Tequila Comisario, the hip way to taste around town

By J.J. Ballesteros, Chairman, Board of Directors, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber Spotlight is meant to highlight a unique business member of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce.

With 40+ years of experience in the wine and spirits industry, Luis Cota is now making his mark as Laguna’s first and finest Tequilero. Launched in April 2018, and in spite of COVID, over the past four years, Comisario has become the most awarded brand in the industry, with multiple Double Golds (14 and counting), Golds (98 Points), Best of Class, Best New Blanco, Best Blanco for Margaritas and more accolades.

Cota has made his extensive career in the wine and spirits industry his passion. His history in the industry includes his initial eight years spent with the Gallo Winery in various positions throughout the country (San Diego, Florida, Oregon, and Colorado); following that, he spent more than seven years with the Heublein/Inglenook Napa Valley Co. (now Diageo) managing distributorship and running the Central Pacific Region. Across this span, Cota was fortunate enough to experience the fine wine business from two unique perspectives: living in Northern California and working for companies such as Rutherford Hill Winery, Inglenook Napa Valley and Christian Brothers, and serving as vice president and general sales manager of the Henry Wine Group for nearly five years. These two distinct experiences as well as his role as national sales director at EOS Estate, a premium wine company, were invaluable to his professional development and decision to become a business owner.

Cota’s first company, The Wilkes Wine Group, involved in both wines and spirits, as well as importing. And, as a partner at Elite Beverage International, Inc., he has fully developed his passion for Tequila, the native Spirit of Mexico, now very much in vogue both nationally and globally.

I sat down with Cota to learn a little more: 

Guest Column Tequila Comisario 3 guys

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Courtesy of the LB Chamber of Commerce

(L-R) Steve Rice COO/CFO, Tequila Comisario; Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board J.J. Ballesteros and Luis Cota

 President/CEO, Tequila Comisario 

J.J. Ballesteros: With all the different brands of tequila out there, how does Tequila Comisario differentiate itself from the rest?

Luis Cota: Comisario Tequila has a unique production process, unlike most of our competition: We harvest agave that has been aged for six to eight years; discard 45% of heads and tails which produce negative gasses and undesirable solids in the distillation process; oxygenate for 36 hours for a softer creamier mouth feel without losing the essence of agave spice, pepper and earthiness; then, finally age in two- to three-year-old barrels, allowing for a much longer aging process and finish it off in French and American red wine barrels for complexity.

We use Jalisco Highlands grown agave, which has a unique freshness and fruit forward feel to match its innate spicy, peppery, earthy notes. It is from what is known as the “Golden Triangle” region of the Highlands of Jalisco, often considered the “Petite Cognac” area of the Jalisco Appellation.

All of these processes are at the heart of the success of Comisario and the recognition by the press. Ultimately, we have developed a brand profile that competes globally with the world’s best scotches, whiskeys and bourbons.

J.J.: What are some of the ways people or restaurants/hotels can find TC?

LC: We have relationships with dozens of retail locations and restaurants throughout Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego as well as, at select Total Wine Stores, Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa and Old Town and Country Wine & Spirits stores in San Diego. Nationally, we are now in 45+ states and have more than 3,000 accounts. For more specific information on where to find us, you can see all of our distribution partnerships on our website at

Guest Column Tequila Comisario entire line

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Courtesy of the LB Chamber of Commerce

Entire line of award-winning Tequila Comisario

J.J.: Tell us about some of your nonprofit and charity work your organization participates in.

LC: Giving back has always been an integral part of the DNA of Comisario Tequila and its parent company Elite Beverage. We are particularly involved in two sectors: Education and Scholarship support as well as supporting Victim Abuse and Women Trafficking. Rick Darnell, founding partner is on the board of Giving Children Hope, as well as supporting the Sherman School. Vera’s Sanctuary is one of the various charities we support and we currently have six students for whom we pay tuition.

J.J.: Why was it important to join the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and get involved in this community?

LC: Giving back to our local community is important, yet the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce brings us the opportunity of joining a progressive, caring, hip, affluent community that is highly involved, diversified and a perfect match for the direction, taste and appeal that is Comisario.

J.J.: Tequila Comisario is the tequila sponsor at this year’s Taste of Laguna Food and Music Festival. What are you looking forward to the most about this event?

LC: Long-term enjoyment and partnership. We want to be part of the community for a long time to come and be identified as supporting the many facets of Laguna Beach. We want Comisario consumers to truly enjoy it for its wonderful balanced flavors and the comfort of showing off that beautiful bottle at their dinner table.

Come try Tequila Comisario at the Taste of Laguna Food and Music Festival on Thursday, Oct.13. It will be served in all the bars at the event. All VIP attendees will be able to taste the entire line of their award-winning tequila.


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