There’s a new beer in town, and it’s causing quite a stir. Tequiza was launched by the Anheuser-Busch folks last year, and it definitely isn’t like any other beer on the market. So what exactly is Tequiza – a beer? A wine cooler? A mixed drink? To quote one of my good friends, “What is this stuff?”

Tequiza is a name that combines the word Tequila with the Mexican word for beer, Cerveza. Tequila + Cerveza = Tequiza. This was originally supposed to be a contender in the wine-cooler/hard liquor mixed drink market. Unfortunately, it turns out that advertising regulations prohibit certain types of advertisements for hard liquor, so the product mix was revisited – revamped, repackaged, and launched as a beer product. Tequiza is supposed to appeal to the same market that likes Corona with lime in it.

Who is that market, I wondered? Women, primarily, but a lot of men also like this flavoring. Tequiza was designed to appeal to those non-beer drinkers, since Anheuser-Busch already has a stronghold on the core beer market.

Tequiza is marketed as “beer with blue agave nectar and a natural flavor of imported lime and tequila” . What does that mean in non-marketing lingo? And what does it taste like?

Well, picture a beverage with a beer-like base, but you add agave juice (which is a sweet nectar that is distilled into Tequila). In this case, though, it’s not distilled yet, so it’s still sweet. Then add lime juice – the sweetened kind, like Rosa’s lime juice, not the tart juice of a fresh lime. The end result is a very sweet alcoholic beverage, completely unlike any beer currently on the market.

So who likes this? Lots of people do like Tequiza. The marketing plans were relatively accurate, in that Tequiza appeals to non-traditional beer drinkers and those who like sweetened hard-alcohol drinks.

In an informal poll, I found eight Tequiza drinkers – five women, three of those were over the age of forty. Only one of the women was a beer drinker. Of the three men, only one was over forty, and two of the three were beer drinkers. Four of the eight claimed that they didn’t normally like sweet drinks, but they liked Tequiza.

Tequiza Bold is being launched now, with “more pronounced Tequila taste” . Introduced in March 2000, this is evidently it’s intended to pull in those who were scared off by the strong sweet taste, and also appeal to more traditional beer drinkers as well.

My advice? If you like the taste of a cold Corona with a slice of lime, stick with that and skip the Tequiza. You won’t get the same cold satisfaction from a sticky-sweet drink, and Tequiza bears little resemblance to the original beer and lime combination. However, if you aren’t a beer-lover, and don’t mind sweet drinks, you might want to give Tequiza a whirl.

It’s a unique drink and appeals to a wide variety of folks. It’s price point is about the same as an upscale six-pack of beer, and you can try a single bottle at a bar or even pick up a single bottle at some supermarkets and liquor stores.

At the very least, the folks at Anheuser Busch deserve some credit for pushing the envelope on the beer market. Their newest product, Doc Otis’ Hard Lemonade is a cool refreshing addition to the market, and may fill in some of the gaps that Tequiza didn’t quite hit. I look forward to seeing what they’ll bring to the market next!

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