A pancreatic and breast cancer survivor, Nayana Ferguson was looking for a healthier spirit option, those without additional mixers, syrups and sugars.
Rather than wait for something to come to the market, the Fergusons created their own, starting with, what they call, the world’s only coconut lime blanco tequila as well as a blanco reposado expression under the moniker Anteel Tequila.
“Our inspiration was the margarita,” said Ferguson, one of the only Black women to lead a tequila company in the nation.
“The margarita is one of the top drinks. We wanted to have a drink you can put in a glass and not add to anything to it and still have a cocktail. It’s cleaner than margaritas.”
The coconut lime blanco tequila is now available in Southern California, including 12 Total Wine stores.
Ferguson started the company with her husband, Don. Since launching, Anteel has been featured by Forbes, Black Enterprise and Cosmopolitan.
“I asked him, ‘If you could do anything, what would you do?’” she said. “He said he wanted a tequila company, but ‘we can’t do that.’”
She questioned him further and dismissed their lack of knowledge about the subject.
“Two days later, I came back to him with a plan,” she said with a laugh. “I found a distillery that works with small brands. He sent us samples. With the samples, they gave us the base of the tequila. When we were talking about flavor profiles, coconut was one we wanted to explore.
“We wanted to come up with something that’s not on the market. Ours is a natural extract of coconut and lime. A lot of people are surprised when they try it.”
Next up is a blood orange flavor.
“I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t like blood orange,” she said. “It’s an extract from Sicily. How it smells is how it tastes."