enter the tequila world in the early 19th century. They run a tequila distillery in Jalisco state, until Don Pedro Camarena watches it burn to the ground during the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
His son Don Felipe Camarena Hernández moves on to grow and sell agave to other big brands in Tequila Valley. During one of the harshest agave cycles, unable to sell his agave, he decides to follow in his grandfathers’ footsteps and build a distillery to use the crop that would otherwise spoil in the fields (from that point up until today, the family has been self-sufficient in agave).
On July 7th, 1937, La Alteña distillery opens in Arandas, 20 miles away from the previous family distillery.
Tapatio Tequila is created, everything made by hand in a very traditional way. Not much has changed since then (electricity got installed only in the 1990’s, and mainly for the lights!).
The business is then passed on to Don Felipe’s son, Felipe J. Camarena Orozco. His daughters and his son Carlos Camarena Curiel eventually join the distillery as well. In 1990, El Tesoro de Don Felipe tequila is created as a partnership between Felipe Camarena, known as the “Camarena Engineer”, and American tequila importers Robert Denton and Marilyn Smith. When the brand is bought over by Beam International in 2010, Carlos is already the Master Distiller. At that point, Dale Sklar suggests and begins the discussion with Don Carlos of the Villa Lobos project. The partnership is eventually sealed and the rest of the family, Carlos’ sisters, Liliana, Gabriela and Jenny, get also involved.
Villa Lobos Tequila pays tribute to the craft, passion, commitment and expertise of both dynasties’ founders and transmits a legacy for their future generations to carry on.
THE SKLAR FAMILY
distills vodka and slivovitz plum brandy in the 1850’s (and quite possibly earlier) in the town of Widze, then part of Imperial Russia (now Belarus), where the patriarch, known as ‘Rebbe Itzik’, runs a ‘Patwal’ (distillery/cellar).
As a result of the Pogroms, his son Louis Sklar leaves Russia in the early 1890’s and settles with his wife and 3 year old son, Max, in London. Max opens a wine and spirit store in London’s East End until it is destroyed in the London Blitz during World War 2. Undeterred, he then moves from the daily bombing of the London Blitz to Leicester, where he carries on his Wine & Spirit Business in Evington Lane, Leicester until his death in 1966.
After the WW II, Max’s son, Stanley Sklar, on the advice of his father, establishes a fledgling liquor importer ‘Sklar of London’, then ‘Capital Wine Agencies’ which joins forces with a 17th century wine shipper, Joseph Travers Ltd, to become Capital Wine & Travers Ltd. Over the years, Stanley Sklar imports and distributes world famous brands such as Stolichnaya Vodka, Ouzo 12, Wyborowa Wodka, Bols Liqueurs, Pimm’s… Stanley is probably the first to ship José Cuervo Tequila into the UK in the 1960’s. His long standing love for tequila continues for around 30 years as he closely works with Alfredo Gonzalez of ‘Eucario Gonzalez’ distillery in Tequila town.
Circa 1962, the company secures the exclusive distribution rights for all wines and spirits from the Soviet Union into the UK and the exclusive supply rights of all Scotch Whisky and London Gin to the USSR.
Stan’s son, Dale – who earns his first wage bottling sherry during the Christmas rush when he is just 4 years old!- eventually joins the company and moves up to Sales & Marketing Director. He travels to Mexico for the first time in 1969 (when he meets Señorita Lupita Villalobos…). In 1984, with very little money, Dale sets up his own company, Wine & Spirit International. He primarily focuses on selling French and Italian wines as a broker, but is soon appointed as UK importer for Wray & Nephew Overproof Jamaica rums. The Sklars always been known for dealing in ‘unusual spirits’, Dale is approached by a UK trader in 1988 to source El Tesoro de Don Felipe and Tapatio Tequilas. After a meeting in Arandas with the Camarena family, Dale becomes importer of both tequilas. As from 1999, the company takes an additional direction with the creation of its own products. In 2011, Tanya, one of Dale’s four daughters joins the family firm to become the 6th generation Sklar in the Liquor Business.