When it first appeared, Tesla’s tequila was an April Fool’s joke on Elon Musk’s Twitter account. It is also called “Teslaquila”. But that name would not end up in the end product – which was very, very real.
See, “Teslaquila” is not possible due to the regulations of the tequila industry. The word “tequila” is a designation of origin; this means that the rights to use this word belong only to the tequila agribusiness. This also means that no one can register the word as their property.
The problem with branding is ‘Teslaquila’ is very similar to the word tequila, according to the Tequila Regulatory Board (CRT), the entity responsible for regulating and authorizing all processes related to the production, consumption and trade of tequila. Martin Munoz, head of the certification body at CRT, said Teslaquila could cause confusion or misunderstanding as to the origin of the product, and Mexican industrial property law denied the trademark. In principle, as ‘Teslaquila’ gives rise to the word tequila, it cannot be registered as a trade mark.
In May 2018, a legal representative tried to register the Teslaquila brand in Mexico, the only country where tequila is produced. In February 2019, CRT filed an objection against the trademark; in March 2019, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property stated that Teslaquila could not be registered because it was too close to the appellation of origin tequila. In response, on July 16, Musk’s team disputed this, saying Teslaquila was a natural variant of Tesla and the suffix -quilla. On January 16, the final decision was revoked: the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property announced that it could not register the trademark.
Although CRT rejected Teslaquila, it was not the end of the line – just the end of that name. After all, the product is called “Tesla Tesla”. Asked how this affected the company’s plans and deadlines, Javier Verdura, Tesla’s director of product design, declined to comment.
Registration is the first step a company must take to establish a brand. The same process was followed by 164 companies selling more than 1,800 brands of tequila.
Last February, according to Munoz, Tesla abandoned Teslaquila and moved forward with Tesla Tequila instead. Tesla Tequila is registered in both Mexico and the United States. In Mexico, it is associated with the Distilladora del Valle de Tequila, in Tequila, Jalisco, one of the few countries where tequila can be made.
Then there was one obstacle that was not regulatory: comes the glass bottle in the shape of lightning Tesla Tequila. The design is inspired by the Tesla GPS map icon, which shows the location of the charging stations. “Several suppliers have told us that glass bottles are impossible for mass production,” Verdura said.
Verdura also said that the public release of tequila at this time has nothing to do with external factors such as the pandemic (and the fact that tequila consumption is rising this year), but with the unique design of the bottle.
On November 5, the lightning-shaped bottle was released for $ 250; it sold out the same day. “There was no doubt that this would be the result,” Verdura said. The product is manufactured by Nosotros Tequila, a California-based brand. Tesla decided to go with him because he “tried a few tequilas and their tequila was the best.”
And in case you’re wondering, CRT is also quite happy. “There is as important a person in the tequila industry today as Elon Musk, who represents it,” Munoz said. “This is definitely beneficial for all tequila producers, because he presents himself as an important businessman and shows that he wants to comply with the rules of this industry. Welcome to Elon Musk and the Tesla tequila brand. “