In an exclusive interview with Richard Betts, the visionary founder of Komos, a brand that is rapidly making waves in the hospitality sector, we delve into the origins of Komos, exploring Richard’s inspiration and the journey behind the brand’s creation. We will discuss how Komos stands out in a crowded market and its impact on the hospitality sector. 

What is the history and background of Komos?

After spending about 20 years building a successful Mezcal business, I decided to move on in late 2017. Reflecting on my journey, I felt grateful for the experiences and lessons I had gained. While enjoying a drink on my rooftop in Amsterdam with my good friend Joe, he asked me, “What do you want to do next?” I expressed my interest in focusing on tequila this time around. Joe, inspired by his recent trip to a wedding in Greece where good tequila was hard to find, was immediately on board with the idea. For us, tequila was our drink of choice, and we couldn’t understand why it hadn’t yet gained global popularity. We envisioned creating a generational tequila brand—one that would endure and appeal worldwide.

We aimed to craft an ultra-luxury tequila, driven by my passion for creating something I love. My background in winemaking had taught me the importance of complexity and elegance in a drink. The concept of ‘elevage,’ or the upbringing and aging process, fascinated me. I wanted our tequila to embody these qualities—engaging, complex, and elegant. This approach would require significant time and resources, but we were committed to making a high-quality product.

When considering how to market our tequila, we noticed that traditional messaging focused heavily on heritage and tradition, which didn’t resonate with us. We wanted to create something delicious and innovative that fit into the modern lifestyle. We envisioned Komos being enjoyed in luxurious settings—on yachts, at beach clubs, fine-dining restaurants, and upscale bars. We wanted to bring a Mediterranean-inspired aesthetic to our brand, emphasising a way of living that includes sun, sea, sand, and wine.

Our journey wasn’t easy initially, but once people understood our vision, Komos started to gain momentum. The unique branding and bottle design began to speak for themselves, and our product found its place in the market.

What sets Komos apart from other tequila brands?

Tequila production generally follows a standard trajectory: making blanco tequila, aging it, and selling it at different stages. We found this approach uninteresting and therefore chose a different path. Each Komos expression is ‘purpose-built,’ reflecting our creative vision. Our first creation, Añejo Cristalino, started with the idea of a rich, aged spirit that retained its complexity while being clear. We used gravity and charcoal filtration to remove the colour, creating a clear luxury spirit without the impurities that cause headaches.

Our next release was Reposado Rosa, a pink Reposado aged in red wine barrels chosen for their specific shade. This unique approach allows us to create a distinct product rather than just an older version of the same thing. Each expression of Komos is crafted with a unique purpose, setting us apart from other brands.

Can you describe the flavour profile of Komos?

Each Komos expression has a distinct flavour profile. We don’t sell blanco; instead, we age it to create a complex framework for our other expressions. Our blanco serves as a foundation, retaining a hint of green, spicy agave notes, even as it ages and develops more complex flavours. This balance ensures that drinkers always recognise they are enjoying tequila.

How does the brand fit into a hotel bar?

Komos thrives in upscale hotel bars, particularly in places like London. These bars have evolved into destinations in their own right, focusing on high-quality offerings. As tequila becomes a global phenomenon, people want to enjoy their favourite drinks, no matter where they are. Hotel bars, therefore, provide an ideal setting for Komos, catering to a discerning clientele that appreciates luxury spirits.

Do you provide marketing and promotional collateral to partner hotels?

We offer a detailed brand book for Komos that outlines our ethos and product offerings. However, we encourage our partners to be creative and make the brand their own. We find it exciting to see how different places interpret and serve Komos, often using local ingredients and unique presentations. This approach allows us to learn and grow, keeping the brand dynamic and innovative.

How does Komos stay innovative and relevant in the ever-changing hospitality industry?

Our primary focus is on delivering an exceptional product. We aim to create something truly great, comparable to the best tequilas, cognacs, and whiskeys. This dedication to quality drives our innovation. By staying true to our passion and constantly challenging ourselves, we ensure that Komos remains relevant and admired. Like non-vintage Champagne, which consistently achieves excellence year after year, we strive for the same dedication and practice in producing our tequila.