Which is why he's launched two distinct products on the opposite ends of the tequila spectrum.
His limited-run offering named Dos Almas 55 Plata translates as “two souls” in Spanish. Dos Almas 55 Plata is a super-premium, 110-proof brand made of 100 percent organic Blue Weber Agave.
The other brand is Dos Almas Cinnamon Tequila Liqueur, a 70-proof offering made of a young reposado infused with organic Indonesian Ceylon cinnamon sticks and organic pure agave nectar.
De Soto is on a mission to offer San Diegans his unique varieties of homegrown tequila.
The owner of a nearly 30-year-old triathlon sportswear and wetsuit company, De Soto Sport – The Triathlon Gear Company at 7584 Trade St., De Soto describes the business as “everything you would need to wear, train or race in a triathlon.”
He's equally passionate about his latest business venture.
Asked the connection between triathlons and tequila, De Soto answered, “At the end of triathlons or marathons, others would be drinking beer — but I would be drinking tequila.
“I started making it in the kitchen,” confided De Soto of his homespun tequilas.
First and foremost a healthy lifestyle advocate, De Soto's proud that his tequila products are 100 percent natural and gluten free, with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavorings.
“I would not make something if I did not believe it was great, innovative, unique, and that others would enjoy as well," he said. “Dos Almas products are made entirely of certified organic ingredients. We have created some very unique tastes by altering the typical process of tequila production. It is very high quality, we are meticulous about the process we use, and are particular about the ingredients we choose. We are doing things in a way that coincides with the soulful lifestyle we live here at the beach in San Diego.”
Before making his own tequilas, De Soto traveled repeatedly to Jalisco, Mexico to learn the intricacies of tequila making and the complexities of the amazing agave plant used in producing it. He returned with what he'd learned south of the border to do his own home brew.
He discussed the process.
“You're actually baking the agave plants pulled out of the ground during the harvest,” De Soto said noting the plant is actually not a cactus but in the lily family. “The core of the plant, like an artichoke heart, is quartered then baked in brick-and-stone ovens smelling sweet like sugar cane. The juices are then fermented and distilled with a filtration process. There's no waste in this at all.”
Producing samples of his new tequila line with his trademark two-faced labels, one-half conquistador, the other Aztec warrior, De Soto pours some into a brandy snifter for a smell and taste test. The subtly scented (cinnamon) rolls onto the palate bringing a welcoming response.
“We only made 1,300 of them,” De Soto said about his limited-run product. “There's only 1,300 of these in the world.”
His new home-brewed tequila lines are De Soto's answer to people asking him, “Why don't you make a 'real' tequila?”
“What I've created is basically pure, raw and artisanal-type of tequila, the type the conquistadors and Aztecs made,” he said.
Dos Almas is presently available locally in Pacific Beach at Crest Liquor at 3787 Ingraham St., and in La Jolla at Dick's Liquor at 737 Pearl St. #101.
Noting tequila has been the fastest-growing hard liquor in the marketplace the past five years, De Soto added, “Southern California is the largest tequila market in the world. It even exceeds all of Mexico.”
A successful entrepreneur, De Soto said his tequila line taking off would just be topping off.
“If the company fails, I'll have tequila to drink for the rest of my life,” he quipped. “If it succeeds, I'll have very expensive tequila to sell to collectors.”