Tequila lover jumps into the agave game
Posted on October 23, 2018
Pay attention to different bar shelves these days and it’s clear: there’s a tequila boom in San Diego. Multiple bottles in the county — like The Bad Stuff, which Ranch & Coast covered in a previous issue — are presently being sourced and distilled in Jalisco, Mexico by company owners in San Diego. That means there are more options than ever to get as local as possible when it comes to the popular agave tipple.
The latest iteration is Cosa Salvaje, owned and operated by Elle France, a Rancho Santa Fe native who now calls Encinitas home.
“For me, the main thing was finding a name that really resonated well with me and a tequila. Cosa Salvaje translates to “Wild Thing,” which fits me perfectly but the tequila, too! Everyone says it’s the ‘wild drink,’” France explains.
It was a natural step for her to take, since she only drinks tequila. She came up with the idea to start her own label in 2015, when she decided to trademark before taking any additional steps, which included leaving her previous career as a high-end matchmaker. The rest of the process was haphazard but ended up paying off.
“I had zero clue how to start a tequila brand,” France admits. “So, I basically Googled it, read about six pages, and I came upon somebody — I took a leap of faith and wired money to this person and it was the best thing in life I’ve ever done!”
From there, France started making periodic trips to Jalisco to build a small inventory, test bottles, and sample a variety of tequilas, eventually choosing the distillery and exact tequila that would ultimately become Cosa Salvaje. Today, everything is made in Mexico, including the labels, and is shipped to the United States. At this point, Cosa Salvaje’s main destination is San Diego County, where France is building her brand and cache locally with an eye for expanding using primarily social media and influencer marketing.
Cosa Salvaje differs from other tequila labels primarily in its offerings — France makes silvers only, which are typically mixed in margaritas or other cocktails, rather than offering a full suite of silvers, reposados, añejo, and extra añejo. Because she focuses on un-aged silvers, she’s able to up the quality and make it a sipping tequila, rather than a shooting or mixing spirit.
Looking to the future, France says she wants to grow, change the tequila drinking experience, and get a bottle of Cosa Salvaje in as many hands as possible. At present, Cosa Salvaje can be found at Seaside Market, Samurai Japanese Restaurant, Holiday Wine Cellar, Old Town Liquor, Carmel Valley Liquor, and other area restaurants. 067 Eatery in Rancho Santa Fe also features a special pouring event with France on the third Wednesday of every month. cosasalvajetequila.com Jackie Bryant