El Refugio

Saving a beloved family business by crafting a new DTC brand

El Refugio started as a family restaurant,

and over time, the owner started working with the community to harvest local agave and produce small batches for their patrons. The mezcal’s raw authenticity won over many palettes, and quickly the restaurant became as well-known for its quality craft mezcal as for its food within the region. However, people could only access this experience inside this restaurant. Given the lack of a true brand that has the power to attract fans outside of the establishment’s physical walls, the pandemic put the entire family operation in serious danger.

In early 2020 El Refugio reached out to Dragon Rouge with an urgent collaboration opportunity.

The team needed a brand that would help them offset the disruptive implications of Covid-19 by making their renowned mezcal directly available for people to enjoy at home. For this to be a success, they needed more than an exemplary mezcal in a great-looking bottle; they needed a brand that told their unique story. One that implicitly communicated their authenticity, craft, and quality to a new audience that had never stepped foot into the restaurant. And they needed it quickly.

We built a brand with a fresh spirit

– daring and authentic –  that then came to life in a distinctive label.
On the design the brand strategy paired nicely with curiosity-inspiring décor elements from the restaurant, local heritage & ‘find-a-way’ craft techniques to encapsulate the El Refugio spirit in a unique way to the world.
With our help, the team of master mezcaleros surpassed the fund-raising objective by 128% with plenty of time to enjoy a glass of El Refugio.