Agave Lux interview

Talking business with Agave Lux

The changing face of a tiny-but-global business

Agave Lux has had many changing faces in its development to its current form as a successful agave spirit import and sales business.

It’s been a journey of evolution for Agave Lux’s co-founder Justin Kosmina, as well as one from Mexico to Australia.

Justin had been living in London, working for a wine company, when he fell in love with agave spirits.

“I fell in love with the agricultural element,” he says. “I saw an opportunity to actually educate consumers about agave spirits.”

He realised quickly that he would need to create his own platform if he wanted to teach the world about the lesser known agave spirits.

“I actually never wanted to be a distributor or importer,” says Justin. “I wanted to be a brand owner, so we bought into a distillery in 2015 called Estancia Raicilla. The intention was to use that platform to educate consumers around the world: one, how to drink better tequila, and two, that there’s more to the space than just tequila.”

They found that was the hardest thing – introducing consumers to agave spirits beyond tequila: mezcal, raicilla, sotol and bacanora.

“If you look at the category of agave spirits, 99 out of 100 or probably 999 out of 1000 bottles is tequila,” he says. “The general consumer thinks tequila is the category. So the category that we bought into with Estancia Raicilla was about a quarter of a bottle of those thousand bottles sold around the world. A really small part of agave spirits, but it has a really beautiful and rich history behind it.”

They realised they would need to go further to truly teach people.

“We’ve always truly led with education, we’ve always been in the market educating on what the category of agave is. But to get to consumers around the world we needed to become an important distributor,” he says.

They set up a London-based company called Bebidas Global to import and sell agave spirits to London distributors.

But they were already thinking bigger and ready to take agave spirits further afield. Justin moved back to Australia, bringing with him everything he had learnt to date.

“We set up Agave Lux as a business to bring the product to Australia and sell directly to consumers,” says Justin. “Because the market dynamics of how you get to a consumer is different, it was better to be an important distributor than it was to align yourself to a distributor at that stage.”

Agave Lux grew slowly but surely, but COVID brought yet another change in direction.

“Pre-COVID, we were an on-premise business. Ninety-nine per cent of our revenue came from venues, and then it shut down. We then set up a direct to consumer platform with a learning management systems side to it, so learning modules and big education play,” he explains. “That was a big step for us in regards to just building our brand awareness in the market.”

These days, Agave Lux is as driven by its goal of education as it always was, but it also bears the marks of all the other forms its taken: brand ownership, importing and distribution.

“We’re still a small business, don’t get me wrong,” says Justin. “But we’re eight years in now and the category itself is catching up and as a result of that our business has seen the fruit of our labours. Agave spirits are on the radar now – not just tequila.” Cheers to that.

Check out Agave Lux here

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