Mexican tequila pioneer dead at 87

González Estrada
JALISCO, Mexico -- Julio González Estrada, 87, a prominent figure in the tequila industry, has died at his home in this western Mexican state.

In 1951, González Estrada created the Tres Magueyes brand, which later became Tequila Don Julio, one of Mexico's first premium tequila brands.

He eventually sold the brand to Diageo in a $150 million transaction. He then backed an enterprise run by two of his sons -- he and his wife Dorothea Garcia had nine children -- that made tequila under the label Reserva de los Gonzalez.

"We are deeply saddened to announce that Don Julio González Estrada, the industry legend and founder of Tequila Don Julio passed away on Tuesday, March 20," said Maggie Lapcewich, president of Diageo Global Tequila.

"González’s passion, devotion and innovative thinking changed the world’s perception of tequila. His namesake brand, Tequila Don Julio is the world’s first luxury tequila and helped create a new segment for the category. We are immensely proud to carry on his legacy and continue to craft a tequila that is worthy of his name. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family and those that were touched by his pioneering spirit. His main ingredient was passion and passion above all else defines excellence."

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