The path that led Alex Lacroix, his friend Chris Matte and his life partner Monica Sanita to found Siempre Tequila has been anything but straight.
Approximately 12 years ago, Alex Lacroix’s best friend got murdered, a bunch of the friends he grew up with were headed to prison for various offenses, and almost immediately after that, there was a raid on Lacroix’s recording studio, and an unregistered gun was found. Lacroix was charged.
At the time, Lacroix’s daughter was only 9-months-old so he knew he had to get his act together. “I was let out on bail, and I immediately got a job as a cable guy, and I applied to college, and ended up getting accepted,” he says. “I told myself, ‘Well, I’m going to go to school, and if I got to trial and have to go to jail, well, I’ll make it as far as I can. I’m doing this for my kid.”
Lacroix worked hard, majored in the creative advertising program at Seneca College in Toronto, and he ended up getting an internship that led to a job. “I won student awards, worked as a teacher’s assistant, all the while driving back to visit my kid every single weekend,” he says.
When his case finally went to trial, he ended up with only one year house arrest. “That made me work even harder,” he says. Along the way, he met Sanita, and he reconnected with Matte, whom he had also grown up with (and who had also worked along with him at the recording studio, too).
“Tequila’s in Monica’s blood – her grandmother and great grandmother had made mezcal, and her family sipped tequila after every meal,” Lacroix says. “We were sitting in Monica’s family’s house in Toronto, and we just said ‘Maybe we should find a brand, start importing it and call it a day.’”
That was back in 2014, and after tasting and testing many brands, they couldn’t find anything that they wanted to attach themselves to. “That led to us thinking maybe we should start making tequila because none of this is exactly what we want,” LaCroix says. “It kind of snowballed from there.”
Lacroix and Sanita visited with 100 different distilleries before they selected one master distiller to create their recipe, and in September 2015, they bottled their first batch. It was just 150 cases, and they only sold it in their home province of Ontario, Canada, which is a controlled market, meaning alcohol is sold to consumers only through government stores… The LCBO
“We could only sell to bars and restaurants, and they could only buy them in cases of six bottles,” Lacroix says. “They had to spend $600 to just try our stuff. Luckily, the tequila tasted good, and people wanted to buy more of it after they bought it the first time.”
By December 2015, they quit their jobs, and Matte joined them in their tequila enterprise. To keep costs down, they began living out of their suitcases to make and sell their tequila. Today, they’re sold in many different markets, including many states in the USA and many countries overseas.
It’s never too late to turn your life around. We’re definitely rooting for this Canadian brand.
Full disclosure. Toronto Latinos owns a small equity in Siempre Tequila
Written by Barrio Team