Fort Worth spirit
New tequila with Fort Worth roots is here in time for ranch water season
What do a restaurateur, real estate developer, and nightclub owner all have in common?
In Fort Worth, it’s the launch of a new tequila brand.
CalledLa Pulga, the 100-percent agave tequila comes from Sarah Castillo, owner of Taco Heads, Tinies Mexican Cuisine, and Sidesaddle Saloon, and two of her industry pals, former bar owner Andrew De La Torre and real estate developer Stephen Slaughter. De La Torre is the operator of Pequeno Mexico market on University Drive and formerly owned Fort Worth’s La Perla Negra bar and restaurant and the Cuban-inspired nightclub, Embargo.
“We’ve been working to develop La Pulga Tequila for a couple of years,” says Castillo. “It was born from a mutual love of tequila – the first distilled spirit in North America – and our shared affection for the city we call home.”
While the brand was born in Fort Worth, it’s distilled and bottled in Jalisco, Mexico. (Like true Champagne is always made in the Champagne region of France, tequila is always made in Jalisco, as an industry rule.) But its name – which means “flea market” in Spanish – is a reminder of its Fort Worth roots and specifically refers to De La Torre’s Pequeno Mexico, one of the oldest open-air markets in the country.
“This was our way of marrying the two, honoring the culture and history of tequila and Mexico with the energy, vibrancy, and tradition of Fort Worth’s La Pulga market,” says Castillo.
But the trio of tequila lovers have more up their sleeves. Preliminary plans are in the works for a distillery to be located on the site of Pequeno Mexico, where other spirits under the La Pulga umbrella will be distilled locally. Ale Ochoa, former “whiskey scientist” and “master blender” for Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. (makers of TX Whiskey) has joined the La Pulga team as head of spirits. Castillo says sotol – distilled from the sotol plant which is a cousin of the agave plant – will be in the future lineup.
For now, the brand includes La Pulga’s un-aged silver Tequila Blanco ($44.99, 750 ml) and La Pulga Tequila Reposado ($54.99, 750 ml), which is aged seven months in bourbon barrels. Both are 80 proof, verified to be additive-free, are already available at select bars and restaurants and a growing list of liquor stores, like Goody Goody and King’s Liquors in Fort Worth.