Saturday, June 15, 2024

MSU alumnus combines music and tequila to create company, 'Music Spirits'

June 4, 2024
The Música Tequila bottle, inspired by the founders' love of music. Photo courtesy of Chris Andrews.
The Música Tequila bottle, inspired by the founders' love of music. Photo courtesy of Chris Andrews.

Chris Andrews is a 1984 MSU alumnus who graduated with a degree in engineering. Before, during and after college, he was heavily involved in the music world. Once a recording studio owner, a producer and a musician — he even had a band while at Michigan State, called The Chance.

Andrews said he's worked with a lot of amazing musicians and artists all over the world; for example, the original techno artists — more commonly referred to as electronic dance music, or EDM, artists — in Detroit.

His love for music propelled him into life's tasks, namely creating a spirits company, Music Spirits, LLC, five years ago with his wife Geri Andrews, Chris' co-founder. When initially meeting to figure out what the company should be about, Chris Andrews said they both wanted to "do business where (they) could give back and do something (they're) passionate about."

The couple recently debuted their drink, Musica Tequila. There are three tequila options: Anejo, Blanco and Reposado. The process of coming up with the exact tequila they wanted and their mission took a long time and was strenuous.

"We spent a lot of time, literally five years, on research," Chris Andrews said. "'How can we make a really high-quality tequila? What would it be? Why would it be different?' But also (we wanted) to give back to the next generation."

In his lifetime, Chris Andrews has visited many parts of the world and said his travel was his first glimpse at the outside world from his "small world growing up in Michigan." He met people from various cultures and of various ethnicities, but, often, one factor brought everyone together: music.

It was Jalisco, Mexico, where Chris Andrews and his team struck gold, or agave: This is where they would make the tequila. Of the five Mexican states tequila must be made in to be officially considered tequila, Jalisco is the most common, and the team ended up finalizing the production with a family that has been making tequila for over 30 years. Andrews said his company has a lot of "family heritage" and "authenticity," which he wanted.

Chris and Geri Andrews executed taste tests with friends and family to see which tequilas were the best. The company landed on tequila that is more "agave-forward" and simple: there is "no burn," and there are no additives.

"You're not tasting anything else except the pure heritage of what we feel," Chris Andrews said.

Figuring out what the bottle would look like was also a long process. Chris and Geri Andrews had a vision board for it — they spent a lot of time and iterations coming up with a unique design.

"We wanted something complex," Chris Andrews said. "All the sides are different . . . it looks very unique."

Most of the glass companies said the possible design couldn't be done, but Chris Andrews — the engineer he is — knew it could. He hired automotive engineers, did analyses and showed the glass companies that it could withstand what they needed in order to go through the molding and shipping processes. Chris Andrews won the glass companies over. The company even won an Innovation Award for the bottle.

Awards and unique bottle designs aside, Chris and Geri Andrews have been able to fulfill the vision they had years ago when they met: do business where the couple can sell tequila and give back to the community. 

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Music Spirits supports the Save the Music Foundation, an organization that helps students, schools and communities "reach their full potential through the power of making music." The company has a strategic agreement with Save the Music Foundation and supports them by supporting music in schools with instruments and teacher training. 

"We wanted to make sure that the arts, specifically music programs, don't get lost in the shuffle," Chris Andrews said. "For me, (music) really helped me get through all of my education. It was an outlet for me and it really helped me with my STEM learning."

Music Spirits also supports local artists in Michigan and Florida, the states where the co-founders grew up and currently live.

Chris Andrews said that the company chose Save the Music Foundation because he's met with people from the organization and was aware of what it's done for schools.

"They've got deep roots into helping teachers, doing education, getting instruments," Chris Andrews said. "Really, it was just easier for us to support their efforts because they’re really good at it."

In the future, Chris Andrews said although the company doesn't have a direct path, they’re going to launch the brand soon in other music-centric cities, such as Tennessee, Nashville, Memphis, Austin and New Orleans. 

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"We think people will appreciate the quality of the tequila, the lifestyle brand that we’re creating and the good that we're doing in the world," Chris Andrews said.

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