There was a sense of excitement in the air as I approached the Mason Murer Fine Arts Center for the Tequila Herradura Barrel Art Collection 2014 event Thursday, October 23. This was a one-of-a-kind affair that I had no idea what was in store for me. Part of that excitement was the anticipation that I knew was a new experience. To tell the truth, I was not disappointed.
Once and a lifetime event
The event space was dedicated to the tequila brand, and was perfect in its décor to ingratiate and embrace those who know all about tequila and those who haven’t got a clue. I fall somewhere in the middle. To that end, there was a lot to do and an ample amount of time that evening to do it all.
The event Brand Ambassadors, sponsors and hosts were gracious, and knowledgeable about the product which ensured every guest had a good time. However, the main focal point of the evening was the art of the tequila barrel; hence the exhibit – more of a competition – with the participation of eight Atlanta artist of different art media.
Judged by talent
The eight artist involved really immersed themselves in the art, some weaving the Herradura history into their pieces. The art ranged from intricate and involved, to just simply visual. There was a barrel that had a geo-physical map of the area, another had a somewhat trinity with the devil, skeleton and tequila worker puppets sharing a glass of tequila – somewhat reminiscent of a Day of the Dead celebration. One of the most creative was made up of hand-blown glass intertwined with wood slits from the barrel.
I spoke to most of the contestants and a judge about the work. The general consensus was that it was an honor to be included and selected for this competition and it was evident in their work. It was fascinating that they also came from different backgrounds in art but as art goes, it was not hard to create a work of art which is what the competition was about. In fact, one artist stated he didn’t know until the day before if he was going to participate but was glad he did.
Michael Haverty, Sam Lasseter, DTM – dacreativegenius, Martha Whittington, Gregor Turk, C. Flux Sing, Mark Americo Wentz, and Fabian Williams were the artists fr the evening, chosen out of hundreds to participate. The stakes were high, with the winner receiving $10,000. So, of course they put their best foot forward. The winners were as follows:
Grand Prize $10,000: Martha Whittington
Second Prize $5,000: Sam Lasseter
Third Prize $1,000: Gregor Turk
However, the ultimate prize winner was Tequila Herradura and the guests because of this one-of-a kind event that celebrates their 3rd year of competition. It actually started in 2011 in Mexico.
But wait, there’s more
Competition aside, the rest of the evening was devoted to fun and information. There was a Tequila tasting exhibition that was more about the history and proper way of enjoying the drink. On par with Cognac, there is a way to enjoy the spirit other than mixing it with margarita mix or something else. You can just sit back with friends and enjoy the Reposado or Anejo version with your favorite cigar. Tequila Herradura advocates drinking responsibly.
Speaking of which, there is a needed mention of the signature drinks that evening called “The Yin” and “The Yan.” Two separate drinks described simply as a Manhattan [The Yin] and a Tequila Sunrise [The Yan]. Both were on point: smooth with no bite-back. The food was creative with a variety of skewers encompassing crab, beef and chicken.
Thrillist supplied onsite printing with their photo booth. As the main presenter of the Barrel Art Collection with Tequila Herradura, they set the tone because everyone loves a good – and free – photo of the festivities. Another highlight was the raffle for a Tequila Herradura swag bag, filled with branded items.
I will say this was a well-planned and well-organized event. After four years, there must be a science to the event but as far as the competition goes, there are no apparent limits: it’s all about creativity, something Tequila Herradura knows about. So the only thing that’s left to answer is what about next year? Who knows – stay tuned.
For more photos, click on Page 2