Henry, Forever a Tequila Man
A Story About Friends, Colleagues & Tequila Lovers
Since they met 19 years ago, Dré Masso and Henry Besant – Co-creators of Altos tequila – have shared the same attitude and passion for quality spirits and the hospitality industry in general. This story of fraternity deserves to be read and spread.
Tequila wasn’t the only thing that brought Dré and Henry together. They lived in the same city, London, were bartenders and advisers, and fell under the influence of the expertise and wisdom of the world ambassador and promoter of quality tequila: Julio Bermejo.
Discover another tequila legends here.
Spokespersons, promoters and managers of quality tequila consumption in Europe
Knowing and working alongside Julio over the course of several years made Dré and Henry the first spokesmen, promoters and managers of quality tequila consumption in Europe.
Thanks to their love for this Mexican spirit, they positioned themselves in the United Kingdom as leaders of a new movement in this category.
This is how these bartender pals in London began offering not only quality tequilas in their bars but also the legendary Tommy’s Margarita – created by Julio – from 100% agave tequilas and agave nectar, made naturally.
The movement has been joined by other great bartenders around the world, creating a community of tequila lovers, which continues to strengthen and expand around the world.
Tequila culture lovers
Traveling to the distilleries in Jalisco and getting to know first-hand the terroir, the producers, the tequila masters, the traditional families and the production methods made these friends of tequila fall even more in love with the distillate. After being steeped in this experience, they could now speak more authentically about the tequila culture that they love so much.
The next step was to open a space in London dedicated exclusively to the authentic Mexico that they had come to know – not the "Americanized" Mexico, much less Tex-Mex.
There they proudly exhibited the Europe largest collection of 100% agave tequilas, along with a menu featuring dishes from the state of Jalisco. They even wrote a book together about their experience and fascination with tequila: Margarita Rocks: Mix and Enjoy More Than 70 Fabulous Margaritas and Tequila-Based Cocktails.
It could easily be said that the superheroes of quality tequila are a masterly quartet made up of Julio Bermejo, Tomas Estes (the “father of tequila”), Henry Besant and Dré Masso.
It must be emphasized that both Dré and Henry came into the tequila world thanks to Julio. He was in charge of introducing them to this precious 100% quality agave liquid, in a world where previously only tequilas of dubious mixed quality were rotated.
Julio made Dré and Henry’s entry into this world wonderful. He shared his contacts and valuable insights. He connected them with the distilleries and producers in Jalisco. And he made them understand how the agave was part of Mexico’s history, with all the romance and stories that make you fall in love with it more than any other spirit. Most importantly, Julio taught them how to taste it, appreciate it and spread that enjoyment around the world.
Interestingly, before immersing himself in the world of tequila, Henry was passionate about American whiskeys, especially bourbon. “If he wasn't drinking tequila, he was drinking bourbon,” Dré says.
The industry would not have been the same without Henry
This is a shared success. Along with Julio, Tomas and Dré, Henry Besant was a great ambassador and activist for the 100% agave tequila category. Each one contributed to this highly respected category and to connecting bartenders around the world in their appreciation of it.
Henry was highly respected in the industry globally, and a very positive member of the community.
Passionate, cool, loving and generous, Henry was much loved as a mentor and inspirational figure for subsequent generations of bartenders, in the same way that Julio and Tomas were for him. “I still know young bartenders who continue to talk about Henry. He was a very powerful figure,” says Dré.
There may never be another Henry. His legacy is singular. The truth is that thousands of bartenders and consumers around the world fell in love with the category, thanks to the combined efforts by Tomas, Julio, Henry and Dré. And the category of quality tequilas continues to amaze them.
Thanks to this wonderful quartet, the 100% agave tequila that we serve and consume meets the highest quality standards. The category has also diversified. There are significantly more producers now compared to 20 years ago and the supply and demand has increased as well. Most importantly, there is an ever-increasing number of bartenders, personalities, activists, enthusiasts, collectors, ambassadors and lovers who are popularizing this category.
Henry was once one of them. He shared his passion with everyone. Hopefully this ‘contagious’ passion for quality tequila will never stop.