In a spirit category best-known for shots and margaritas, it’s fair to say Komos is not your average tequila.
Taking inspiration from European wine-making techniques, the brand’s ultra-luxurious tequilas are quite simply a standout among its competitors; aged in fine French oak barrels, held in mantelpiece-worthy bottles, and retailing for over $130 each.
All of which has helped the brand has become one of the fastest-growing luxury tequilas in the world.
Since launching in 2017, Komos has not only found success with consumers, but earned some of the highest accolades in the industry, including the first and only 100-point score for tequila with its Tequila Komos Extra Añejo.
No wonder its parent company, Casa Komos Brands Group (CKBG), secured $15 million in funding last year.
“I felt very gratified by the investors’ confidence in all of us,” says founder Richard Betts. “The funding round validated the hard work, dedication, and strategic vision of the entire CKBG team.
“The capital has allowed us to expand operations, hire new key members of the team, and further establish our presence in the global tequila market.”
Of course, Komos has not been an overnight success. In actuality, it’s the sum of Betts’ entrepreneurial parts.
The former sommelier began his entrepreneurial journey with his first wine company, Betts & Scholl, in 2001, which was quickly followed by Scarpetta Wines.
Soon after selling both brands in 2009, Betts turned his sights onto agave spirits, founding Sombra Mezcal and Astral tequila. Eight years on, he sold the companies to Davos Brands.
“I still make a little wine today in Australia with my wife, Carla Rza Betts, under the name An Approach to Relaxation,” he says. “It’s a tiny project but very dear to our hearts.”
After moving to Europe just over six years ago, Betts and his business partner Joe Marchese realized it was difficult to find high-quality tequila outside of the US, and made it their personal mission to make it easier.
“We recognized the huge potential and under-appreciated quality of tequila, and wanted to introduce a new perspective to the global tequila market,” he says.
Eventually, they’d cracked the perfect point of difference: a tequila created using superior blue agave from the highlands and lowlands of Tequila, roasted in a traditional volcanic stone oven (which makes for a clarified, crystal-clear liquid), then double-distilled.
A finely-crafted tequila. Something truly unique to the market.
“We only make things that we really want to drink, so each is special to me in its own way,” says Betts. “What sets us apart the most is that while we use the highest level of tequila making techniques, we also incorporate Mediterranean winemaking methods.
“Perhaps most importantly, we age our tequila in the finest French oak wine barrels which impart beautiful flavors, a unique depth and alluring softness.”
Today, the brand’s portfolio includes Komos Reposado Rosa (a rich pink tequila, reminiscent of a French rosé), Komos Añejo Cristalino (Komos’ flagship expression, aged in French white wine barrels), Komos Añejo Reserva (the newest expression, masterfully blended in French oak wine and bourbon barrels, plus sherry casks, and Komos Extra Añejo.
“If you made me pick, this might be my favorite, as it represents the epitome of what tequila can be,” says Betts. “It is aged for 3 years in French oak wine barrels and bourbon barrels, and drinks almost like a Japanese whisky.”
While an exciting new expression is due to be unveiled later this year, Betts is making big moves behind the scenes, as well.
The company appointed LVMH veteran Leslie Serrero as international managing director last September, bringing valuable expertise and clout to the brand.
“Her understanding of the global luxury market and her strategic vision align with our goals for growth and expansion across the globe, especially in Europe,” says Betts.
“Leslie’s appointment reflects the brand’s commitment to fostering strategic partnerships, accessing new markets, and solidifying its position as a leader.”
CKBG also added Superbird, a ready-to-drink cocktail made with real flocking tequila, and Dola Dira, a rhubard-infused aperitivo, to its venture portfolio in recent years.
“Our long term goals—for both CKBG as a whole and also for Komos—are in line with where we started: to create one-of-a-kind hospitality products that we want to drink, and share them with people around the world who appreciate nice things.”
While Komos continues to grow in the US, the company has now set its sights on the rest of the world. The brand has recently launched in the UK, UAE, Europe, Africa, and South America, with an Asian launch imminent.
And while changing consumers’ perception of tequila as an inferior spirit comes with its own challenges, Betts remains determined.
“We see this as an honor and a privilege to introduce this beautiful spirit to more people around the world,” he says.
“Our priority is getting trade and hospitality on board, people who respect craftsmanship and truly ‘get it’. They respond well to our story—and if we are able to have them taste it, they become our greatest advocates.”