With each new spirit, our journey grows.
KOKORO Spirits was Born
Howard Cao, founder of KOKORO Spirits, stumbled upon an old dusty tequila bottle. He popped it open, poured a glass, and was absolutely transported from that very first sip. He thought of the people and hard work that went into making such a fine tequila, the beautiful regions it was sourced from, and the smell of the blue agave fields. The spirits we drink bring so many people together but with little appreciation for the spirits’ culture and heritage. At that moment, he became inspired to share this experience by gifting high-end spirits to his loved ones.
KOKORO Spirits soon flourished into a company that curates a collection of innovative premium spirits and a brand that celebrates communities and cultures worldwide.
Behind the Brand
Howard’s Midwest influence led us to the moonshine jug. It was iconic, catchy, but not indulgent or garish. It was perfect. We filled the void of our undefined name with handwritten "XXX XXX" on the bottle. To our surprise, the minimalist design complimented the jug so well that we decided to keep it.
We intend to use the same bottle design across our collection of spirits as a symbol and reminder that it’s not the vessel, but what’s inside that matters most. As we took a deeper dive into what that meant, we came across the Japanese expression KOKORO and embraced it as our name.
Made with Tradition
In honor of the spirit that inspired KOKORO, we made tequila our first endeavor. We took a trip down to the highlands of Jalisco and among the many distilleries, we found Destiladora Bonanza; a family-owned distillery with a history of tequila making that dates back to 1886 and focuses on social and environmental responsibility and gender equality. Enchanted by their expertise and initiative, they became our easiest choice as a partner.
During our visit, our master distiller crafted a tequila specific to her taste. Her insistence on using ancestral techniques to craft an innovative, traditionally-untraditional tequila was a drumbeat that we knew we could follow.
With the help of our esteemed partnership with Destiladora Bonanza, we tested a variety of formulas to perfect the aromas and flavors. We immersed ourselves in all things tequila and researched all traditional aspects from the growing and harvesting of the agave plant to the tahona method.
After tasting multiple profiles, our relationship with Bonanza solidified when we independently selected the same tasting notes for our final tequila. We knew then that this would be a tequila that both KOKORO Spirits and Bonanza would be proud to share with the world.
Once we established a polished expression, we submitted our tequila to the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in March 2019. Our work to achieve a unique and innovative taste did not go unnoticed as we were awarded a gold medal for our Tequila Plata.
Merely our first milestone, we didn’t stop there. As the year progressed, we continued to explore, experiment, and adventure into the unknown to achieve great quality through traditional methods.
The winning of our second gold medal at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirit Competition was quickly overshadowed by the Shelter-In-Place orders for San Francisco. We feared that the pandemic would slow down our launch.
As we turned to postponing our plans, a serendipitous discovery emerged. A mindfulness practitioner explained that the X on our iconic bottle is a rune symbol for *gebō or "gift,"ultimately fulfilling the meaning behind KOKORO Spirits.
As the X’s correlated with our founder’s original purpose of gifting, we decided on a model that would bring our spirits straight to your doorstep. Through eCommerce, our efforts to bring people closer and build a community of KOKORO enthusiasts would be fulfilled.
Sharing with the World
Deciding to push forward meant finding investors. As a company that celebrates communities & camaraderie, we opened our doors to regulation crowdfunding to democratize and diversify our pool of investors. For as little as $100, almost everyone has the opportunity to join our community and cause.