Earlier this year, Elon Musk filed a trademark application for Teslaquila branded tequila, because of course he did. Elon Musk is what happens when you combine Tony Stark with the Trollface meme, which explains the flamethrowers, the underground tunnels, and the willingness to call someone a ‘pedo’ when they don’t recognize the value of your contributions.
But when it comes to this Teslaquila thing, Musk might not be able to insult his way out of it. Or into it, as it were. According to Reuters, the Consejo Regulador del Tequila or Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) has politely told Musk that he’s not selling that shit as real tequila.
“If [Tesla] wants to make Teslaquila viable as a tequila it would have to associate itself with an authorized tequila producer, comply with certain standards and request authorization from Mexico’s Industrial Property Institute,” the CRT said in a statement. “Otherwise it would be making unauthorized use of the denomination of origin for tequila.”
That’s the thing: Tequila is a protected word that can only be used for spirits that are made in accordance with certain standards, including that Mexican designation of origin. To be called tequila, the spirit must be made with blue agave and it must be produced in one of five Mexican states: either in Jalisco, or in small designated municipalities in Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, or Tamaulipas.
Although Musk’s trademark application specifies that Teslaquila would be either a “distilled agave liquor” and “distilled blue agave liquor,” that doesn’t address the other, just-as-important requirement to use Musk’s proposed brand name. “The name ‘Teslaquila’ evokes the word Tequila [and] Tequila is a protected word,” the CRT wrote.
The idea for Teslaquila started as a joke. On April Fools Day, Musk posted a three-tweet faux press release about Tesla’s “bankruptcy.’ “Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by ‘Teslaquilla’ bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks,” he wrote, accompanying it with a photo of himself under a piece of corrugated cardboard.
In mid-October, he tweeted about it again, including a link to a CNBC report about his trademark filing, and a photo of its proposed label. “Teslaquila coming soon,” he wrote.
It didn’t take long for the CRT to respond with its own “Nah, we’re good.” But, as the organization said, he could partner with an existing tequila producer, purchase its liquor, and bottle and sell it under his own name. Still, something tells us that Musk isn’t going that route.
“We will fight Big Tequila!” he tweeted on Wednesday. Of course you will.