Campari Group announced the appointment of Jesus Susunaga Acosta as new Maestro Tequilero at Casa San Nicolás, effective immediately. The new Master Distiller will oversee the entire Casa San Nicolás product line, contributing in the maintenance of the highest quality standards of the present award-winning Mexican spirits, such as Espolón and Cabo Wabo, as well as future innovations in the Arandas plant in Jalisco, Mexico.
Jesus Susunaga Acosta, a longtime master distiller and passionate advocate for the category, has been selected to lead at the Casa San Nicolás tequila distillery, where he will uphold the legacy of Espolón's legendary, founder, Cirilo Oropeza. The new post comes at a time when premium-plus tequila is experiencing a growing demand globally for authentic Mexican agave products.
In addition to contributing to the brands' high standards of quality, Jesus will be responsible for shaping the future of tequila innovation for the group at the Arandas plant. He'll also work as a global tequila advocate as he continues to travel and teach about Casa San Nicolás tequilas.
"Shared values with Espolón's founder are among the many reasons Jesus is a natural fit for the ensemble of brands," remarks Julka Villa, Managing Director, Global Strategic Marketing of Spirits at Campari Group. "Jesus has a keen understanding of the tequila industry overall and has shown himself to be a thought-leader in innovation and premiumization, two major trends that only have the potential to grow."
Brand advocacy work comes naturally to Jesus, who has a proven knack for connecting with people inside and out of the industry. A native of Veracruz, with a deep passion for tequila, he acquired a wide knowledge on distillation throughout his extensive travels around the world. Over the years, he's spent time at distilleries in Scotland, France, Brazil, Italy, England, the Caribbean and elsewhere, learning from masters of local tradition.
His education, coupled with his respect for tequila's heritage and the regulations designed to maintain it, inform his creative approach to making agave spirits. "I want to use all my experience in tequila and all the other spirits—rum and vermouth and vodka—and see how we can apply those traditions on the tequila side. There's so much room for innovation—within the tequila regulations, of course," says Jesus, who, in addition to a past roles as Maestro Tequilero, master blender and production manager at a tequila distillery has also managed a rum plant and a facility specializing in vermouth and liqueurs. "Maybe it means doing something with finishing or exploring different casks. There's really just no end to the perspectives. To create something new, it has to be within the framework of tequila regulations, but it also, has to be new, it needs to be creative."
As the new Maestro Tequilero, Jesus invokes a fresh and innovative perspective along with formidable experience in understanding tradition and tequila creation. His vast experience has afforded him intimate knowledge and know-how across several spirits categories. In his previous roles, he traveled the globe continuously, studying different terroirs, blends and trends that earned him the expertise and mastery needed to drive innovation forward and write the next chapter in Tequila.
He is also a professor at Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, the university where he obtained his Masters in Tequila Processing, a job that allows him to fulfill another one of his passions: educating a new generation of agave enthusiasts and tequila producers.