Sipping Success

As co-founder of Blue Nectar Tequila, Nikhil Bahadur ’12 turned his passion for the Mexican spirit into an award-winning brand.

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Erica Lansner

On his birthday almost a decade ago, Nikhil Bahadur ’12 opened his door to find a bottle of high-quality tequila sent by his father, who had become interested in the legendary Mexican spirit. When Nikhil tasted it, he discovered he shared his father’s passion. Several trips to Mexico and countless tastings later, they launched Blue Nectar Tequila in 2011. Their blends have earned multiple awards, including several from the prestigious Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Here, he talks about the launch of Blue Nectar and his love for the tequila-making process.

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The Birthday Spirit

My father started a tradition where we’d gift each other bottles of tequila for our birthdays. This sparked our interest in exploring different tequilas, which led us to consider starting our own company. I fell in love with the tequila-making process — harvesting and steam-roasting agaves, extracting the juices and sugars, then fermenting and distilling the liquid.

Putting Together the Partnership

We met two brothers who own agave fields and a distillery in the state of Jalisco, where most of the world’s tequila is made. We formed a partnership soon after. My father was retired, and I worked in private equity. When we launched I was in business school, and I focused on taking classes that would help me build the company.

A New Take on Tequila

When people think of tequila, they remember being younger and perhaps drinking low-quality tequila. The cheaper product is typically only 51 percent agave. The rest contain other sugars and often have additives; 100 percent agave tequilas like ours offer a cleaner, more robust spirit. We have a distinct terroir — Blue Nectar tastes like where it comes from, since we use only estate-grown agave plants that surround the distillery. The soil is imbued with volcanic ash, so our tequila is more mineral forward, drier, and earthier.

A Perfect Blend

We worked with a master blender to develop agave-forward tequilas. Many other aged tequilas taste more like bourbons or whiskeys. We want ours to have the complexity that you get from aging in wood — the oak, the smoke, the vanilla notes — but still retain the character of the agave.

Planting the Seed, Growing the Company

In the last year we’ve gone from selling our products in nine states to selling them in 22. We partnered with a sales organization to expand distribution and build brand awareness. Our goal is to foster brand loyalty — we want people to ask for Blue Nectar when they’re ordering a drink. We focus on staying genuine to our passion and transparent in our methods, because ultimately whether people order Blue Nectar depends on what’s in the bottle.

For cocktail recipes, visit bluenectartequila.com/recipes.

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