INTERVIEW: Piscologia pisco takes on U.S. west coast

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Piscología was launched earlier this year and has been promoted on the U.S.  west coast market. (Photo: Chad Pryor)


Nathan Paluck
LivinginPeru.com

Two entrepreneurs on the west coast are spreading the word about pisco with their recently launched Ica-made brand Piscología.

Now Meg McFarland and Krystle Hicks, owners of the brand Piscología, are throwing pisco parties in Lima and Cusco. We asked Meg more about her pisco, and the business of importing Peru’s spirit to the U.S. market.

You sell Piscología pisco on U.S. west coast. What are your goals for the upcoming events in Lima and Cusco?

Our upcoming pisco parties in Peru are celebrations. We are celebrating a successful product launch in the U.S. while celebrating with and thanking everyone in Peru who has participated in production and exportation. We are very thankful to have such a supportive team and we want to show our appreciation. These events will also be open to traveling tourists. Our product release campaign has been focused heavily on education just as the brand name suggests (study of and theory of pisco.) Since pisco is new to many consumers in the U.S. market, we have been educating about pisco and its excellent qualities. Over the past few months we have made a lot of progress lauching Piscología pisco and we want to celebrate in Piscología’s birthplace.

Where is the pisco made?

All the grapes for Piscología are grown in Ica, Peru where it is distilled.

What is your target audience when selling pisco in the U.S.?

One of the great things about pisco is that it is very universal since it can be enjoyed by many. Piscología is dedicated to the consumer who takes pride in what they drink and want to enjoy high quality product which is carefully crafted by a very humble master distiller. Piscología is currently available on the U.S. west coast and we have plans to expand to other areas soon.

What's a common remark when people try a pisco cocktail for the first time in the U.S.?

“Refreshing” is a common word that is used to describe many pisco cocktails for new consumers. Traditional drinks such as the Pisco Sour and Chilcano or pisco simply mixed fresh fruit, ARE truly refreshing. Also, it’s common to see consumers new to pisco cocktails exclaim “egg whites?!” when first introduced to the pisco sour. Some, although hesitant to try, once they do, they just can’t get enough!

What's the greatest challenge in bringing pisco to the U.S. and selling it?

One of the challenges of introducing pisco to the U.S. market is explaining that it is an entire category that should be enjoyed in a variety. The best bars will be noted not for just having pisco but for having a great selection of piscos. We look forward to more high quality pisco coming to the U.S. from Peru. We are enjoying doing our part in getting the U.S. ready for all the pisco flights!

From left, MegMcFarland and Krystle Hicks.

Your first Peru-U.S. business venture was an alpaca clothing line. When did you first come to Peru, and what was the catalyst for doing business?

I came to Peru for the first time almost a decade ago while traveling with a friend. There is so much beauty in Peru including the wonderful products in markets and boutiques. Wanting to share it with the U.S., we created Alpacifica. Immediately, we started working with and supporting small businesses in Peru to produce our alpaca line of sweaters and accessories.

I’ve known Krystle R. Hicks and Fernando Gonzales Lattini both for many years. Topa Spirits, LLC and the Piscología brand came about when my good friend Krystle (and now business partner) visited me in Peru. After doing several informal pisco tastings with Fernando, we decided that we wanted to share this experience with the U.S. So we formed a strong team in Peru and Piscología was born.

Piscología is an acholado, a blend of Quebranta, Italia and Torontel pisco varietals, similar to the newly launched Pisco Portón. Pisco-makers for the U.S.
market seem to be betting on the acholado — why is that?

Acholado pisco unites the best characteristics of pisco. Quebranta offers structure, flavor, and fruit aromas, while Torontel and Italia offer acidity and floral aromas. It is a wonderful blend of aromatic and non-aromatic piscos. Also, since acholado pisco is a blend, each master distiller tasks pride in his or her unique craft. Each creation brings different qualities to the table that can be enjoyed straight or mixed in a delicious cocktail which compliment the pisco’s uniquely accented notes.

What's your favorite cocktail with Piscología? (Do share the recipe…)

My ultimate favorite cocktail with Piscología is the Maracuyá Sour. I enjoy how the notes of Piscología compliment the sweet and sour. Since this is traditional drink for which there are many recipes, I’ll share with you another lovely concoction that I enjoy. It is a new creation we’ve introduced in the U.S. market called Verandah.

Verandah

• 2 oz. Piscología pisco
• 1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
• 1/2 oz. Black Pepper Syrup
• 3 Basil Leaves
• 1/2 Kiwi Muddle kiwi and basil in a mixing glass.

Add other ingredients. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a floated basil leaf.