Camp Barney Buddies Launch Tequila Brand

Camp Barney Buddies Launch Tequila Brand

Two friends who met at Camp Barney Medintz in 2001, have built a tequila brand.

David R. Cohen

David R. Cohen is the former Associate Editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times. He is originally from Marietta, GA and studied Journalism at the University of Tennessee.

Goza Tequila founders Jacob Gluck, Lauren Kaufman and Adam Hirsch.
Goza Tequila founders Jacob Gluck, Lauren Kaufman and Adam Hirsch.

Adam Hirsch and Jacob Gluck haven’t always been tequila tycoons. When the business partners met, neither one was even legal to drink.

Now the two, who met at Camp Barney Medintz in 2001, have built a tequila brand and are working to make it nationally recognizable.

Goza tequila, which officially launched in April, is available at more than 40 Atlanta-area bars and restaurants and at package stores across the metro area, including Green’s on Buford Highway. In June, the Goza team of Hirsch, Gluck and head of sales Lauren Kaufman will push into Tennessee with launches in Chattanooga and Nashville.

“One of the things that is attractive about Goza for our distributors is that we’re on the streets going bar to bar, restaurant to restaurant, getting the word out about our product,” Hirsch said. “We’re doing that ourselves.”

Hirsch and Gluck are aiming for a chunk of an American tequila market that more than doubled in sales from $962 million in 2003 to over $2 billion in 2013. They have deployed a grassroots marketing strategy and a gender-neutral, “be yourself” brand message that can be seen from the tequila’s slogan, “A little Goza long way,” to the bottle artwork created by American pop artist Burton Morris.

Goza for Atlanta Jewish Times
The Goza team is made up of (clockwise from top left) RJ McNeil, Jacob Gluck, Adam Hirsch and Lauren Kaufman.

“We’re really about this grassroots approach to getting our name out there and building brand loyalty,” Goza founder Jacob Gluck said. “We’ve always talked about building from the bottom up instead of throwing money around because it is a word-of-mouth thing. We really want to take the intimidation out of tequila.”

Biz_Goza Hirsch and Gluck
Hirsch (left) and Gluck (right) at their DeskHub headquarters.

Goza (Spanish for enjoy) is distilled and bottled in Jalisco, Mexico, and is available in three varieties: Blanco; Reposado; and the top-shelf Añejo, which is aged for a year in white-oak barrels.

Gluck is a graduate of Riverwood International Charter School and member of Congregation Beth Tefillah in Sandy Springs. Nashville native Hirsch grew up attending The Temple. The two met when Hirsch was Gluck’s counselor at Camp Barney in 2001, and they stayed in touch, working on various projects together.

When Gluck made a connection with Mexican-based tequilera operator Armando Esparza in 2012, Goza was born. Esparza was looking to sell his tequila in the United States, and Gluck started working to bring it to the Georgia market. A year later, Hirsch joined the project and along the way, they added another Jewish member to the crew, Kaufman.

“Lauren basically runs sales for us,” Hirsch said. “She was the top salesperson for six years at United, which is Georgia’s largest distributor, so when she came on board, it gave us tremendous credibility with the distributors because she’s that good.”

Now Goza, with its headquarters at the DeskHub co-working offices in Buckhead, is focused on getting the word out in unconventional ways.

Biz_Goza ATV Mexico
Gluck, Kaufman and McNeil tour the tequilera in Jalisco Mexico where Goza is made on an ATV.

In December, the company and the Marcus Jewish Community Center co-hosted GozaPalooza, which brought hundreds of young Jews together on Christmas Eve. This summer, Goza plans to operate a nightlife shuttle in Buckhead called the Goza Round Town.

It’s all part of Hirsch and Gluck’s mission to make Goza into one of the leading tequila brands in the South.

“Every day when we get up, we have one goal,” Gluck said, “and that’s to sell Goza.”

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