A North Yorkshire spirit company has been forced to rebrand one of its drink offerings after a battle with the Mexican Tequila Association.

In the summer of 2023, the Wensleydale Spirit Company based in Leyburn, North Yorkshire launched its newest offering at the Great Yorkshire Show; its take on tequila.

Having already created a range of London Dry Gins, its Wensleydale Spiced Rum, and Tusky Vodka, its launch of t’Quila looked to tackle the world-famous Mexican spirit and offer people something a little different.

The Northern Echo: The new spirit from The Wensleydale Spirit CompanyThe new spirit from The Wensleydale Spirit Company (Image: The Wensleydale Spirit Company)

Despite bringing out the spirit at the show, which owner of the Wensleydale Spirit Company, Chris Taplin, said "people loved" and with sales exceeding expectations - this success was short-lived after the North Yorkshire business received a letter from the Mexican Tequila Association via the British Embassy in Mexico.

In the letter, the Leyburn company were asked to remove all bottles from sale as they apparently breached the Mexican geographical indication of Tequila - which Mr Taplin says came as a surprise to himself and the spirit company. 

He added: “We were completely blind-sided by the demand from Mexico.

The Northern Echo: The company has been forced to rebrand its spirit The company has been forced to rebrand its spirit (Image: The Wensleydale Spirit Company)

"We are a small distillery in the Yorkshire Dales, and we made it clear that while our t’Quila was a flavoured vodka we were not trying to pass it off as a real tequila which has to be made within 60 miles of the town of Tequila in Mexico, not Leyburn in North Yorkshire.

"We argued our corner, but there was no compromise and we had to comply.”

While the company had to change its product for sale, they have now come back with a solution to the problem, by re-launching the spirit, now branded as TQ Vodka, which is the same spirit that everyone loved, but now any mention of Mexico or Tequila has been removed. 

Mr Taplin added: “We are delighted to have TQ back on the shelves, and that we are now once again able to sell and promote our full range of spirits.

"This time last year we had no idea that we would be in a fight against Mexican officials which had the potential to seriously damage our distillery.

Recommended reading:

Don't miss out on the latest news and stories. Subscribe to The Northern Echo for just £4 for 4 months.

"At times it seemed absurd that from the middle of the Yorkshire Dales, we had sufficiently ruffled the feathers of people on the other side of the world that they thought it worthwhile to confront us.

"Still, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and we are now confidently promoting TQ which I think it is fair to say has a back story like no other of our spirits.”

Wensleydale Spirit Company has TQ available to buy at the distillery shop in Leyburn.