There were moments several years ago when NLV Tequila Bottling co-owner Jose Gonzales thought about moving on from his family’s small business.
Deep in debt, Jose and his father, Francisco Flores-Gonsalez (who spells the family name differently), talked about cutting their losses.
“We put a lot of money into this place, and at first, we weren’t getting the results we wanted,” Jose said. “It took a long time before we got a little bit of momentum. We thought about cashing out a couple of times, but we had a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it.”
Nearly a decade after starting the bottling business in a small warehouse on West Cheyenne Avenue, Jose is happy they stuck it out.
So is his sister, Liliana Gonzales, who moved to Las Vegas from San Diego in 2012 to help run the company.
It was Liliana who injected some much-needed capital, her life savings, into the business to help it find solid footing.
“It was scary,” she said. “I was working in San Diego as a dietitian and personal trainer. It was good work, and I didn’t want to leave, but they asked me to come to Las Vegas. Family is family. When we say we put everything we had into [this business], we literally did that. I’m glad we did.”
Most of what NLV Tequila does is filter and mix liquors and bottle the finished product. It bottles for about 15 companies, Jose said, including some Nevada-based businesses such as Two Bitch Bourbon.
It has six full-time employees and plans to expand into a 25,000-square-foot nearby warehouseby sometime in March, Jose said. Part of the expansion will include the hiring of about 20 additional workers.
During a recent shift, staff placed lemon peels in bottles of Infuse Spirits vodka. The company also bottles for the Morales tequila brand, which is distributed to Texas.
“We do a lot of vodka and a lot of mixing of tequila,” Jose said. “We’ve been bottling for Infuse for about five years, but they’re pretty new to the Las Vegas market. Some of their products can be found in Lee’s Discount Liquor and Total Wine.”
Francisco started the business in 2010. Though he lives in Jalisco, Mexico, farming blue agave—the key ingredient in tequila—he keeps a watchful eye on the company.
In fact, when NLV Tequila works with tequila, it’s usually made from blue agave plants Francisco grows. He also distills his own tequila and ships it to the NLV Tequila headquarters when it’s needed.
“With agave, it takes six or seven years to grow, so it takes a while to get your money back,” Jose said. “[Francisco] wants to eventually have a distillery here. He’s also talking about us moving eventually into a 50,000-square-foot warehouse. He’ll visit about three times per year, and he’ll let us know if we’re doing something wrong.”
While Francisco was born in Mexico, Jose and Liliana were raised in California, and after making the move to the Las Vegas Valley, the siblings say they plan to stay put.
“This is a great community,” Jose said. “It took some getting used to, but we love it here now. My son and daughter were born here and we love it. You think it’s just casinos and there’s the whole Sin City thing, but there’s a lot more to Las Vegas.”