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Using Food Trucks and Chefs to Push Tequila

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An LA-based tequila brand partners with a local chef to launch its brand in Chicago. (Published Friday, Jul 22, 2011)

    Who says Chicago isn't a good spot for food trucks?

    Despite what some would consider archaic city rules regarding mobile munchies, national companies have found ways to use the power of local chefs and the popularity of food trucks to push their brands locally.

    Earlier this year, it was Macy's Chefs A-Go-Go program with Rick Bayless.

    And now Familia Camarena Tequila, based out of California, is using a food truck as part of its Chicago launch.

    The Camarena Taco Truck will appear all over Chicago at lifestyle events until August 7th, offering free food from a tequila-infused menu created by Mexique Chef Carlos Gaytan.

    "Most of the major markets have really realized that the food truck scene is something the cities love, something the culture of the cities really need, it's creative, people love food, so we thought it was the perfect pairing," says Mike Bugaoan of Rebel Industries, who is helping coordinate the nationwide launch.

    Chicago is the ninth city the truck has visited. Consider it a less than heavy-handed way to get the brand's message across in a market already saturated with competing brands.

    "More often than not you find spirit brands doing samplings inside of the bars, serving shots, so we wanted to do a creative means of promoting the brand," Bugaoan says.

    And while its difficult to gauge how successful the campaign has been, Bugaoan says the social media response has been tremendous, with the company's Facebook page increasing its fan base by 500 percent in less than a year.

    Camarena held a swanky invite-only Chicago launch party at the South Loop's Chicago Illuminating Company which not only gave select local taste-makers an introduction to the food truck, but also a chance to mix their own tequila cocktails.

    "That buys you the time to talk to consumers, do some education and maybe do some social media sign ups," Bugaoan says.