Wirtz Beverage Nevada (WBN) announced today the appointment of renowned tequila expert Kevin Vanegas as the company’s Master of Tequila. Recognized as an influential player in the industry’s tequila market, Vanegas joins the company after working with high-performing brands such as Don Julio and Jose Cuervo and most recently, Diageo, where he held the role of Senior Tequila Ambassador.
“Kevin is one of the nation’s premier tequila connoisseurs and his talents are far-reaching,” said Kevin Roberts, WBN Senior Vice President. “He will play a key role in supporting our customers by providing a heightened knowledge of tequila, one of our best-selling categories and a favorite amongst Nevada consumers. We are thrilled to have him on board as another asset to our beverage partners.”
In this position, Vanegas joins an established team of Wirtz Beverage experts in the fields of wine, sake, spirits, craft beer and beverage development.
As a preeminent tequila expert, Vanegas has earned accreditation by the Columbia University School of Mixology; Academy of Tequila Catadores and Mexican Academy of Tequila and has also been trained by the Council Regulatory of Tequila. Additionally, Vanegas holds the role of a licensed Catador or “Tequila Taster” certified by the Academy of Tequila Tasters and a distinction held by only a select number of individuals worldwide.
“Kevin has traveled the country sharing his extensive tequila knowledge,” said Drew Levinson, WBN Director of Beverage Development. “He understands and appreciates the subtle nuances of the spirit and each of its classifications; their flavors, aromas and finishes as well as their culture, history and craftsmanship. That’s important to our customers who, like Wirtz Beverage, put quality and excellence first.”
A native of Nicaragua, Vanegas began his career in the industry working in nightclubs and bars in New York City where he developed beverage programs for top establishments such as the Ritz Carlton, Tenjune Nightclub, Hudson Hotel and La Esquina. His refined palate also supports Vanegas’ talents for fine tequila and food pairings.
Vanegas plans to build upon the popularity of tequila to implement value-added programs that complement sales execution and inspire long-term brand growth. Currently, he is writing a book on the dynasty of the tequila industry and will soon appear on a major network TV food & beverage show.
“My hope is for consumers to see tequila in the eyes of a Catador. It’s a beautiful, clean and expressive spirit with much to offer,” said Vanegas. “For me, tequila is not only my passion and profession; it’s a way of life!”