“The world is a much sadder place right now as we say goodbye to an extraordinary gentleman. A kind, humble, thoughtful, passionate, family man who always made me smile whenever I saw him.”
Amanda Blanch, Hidden House
On Sunday 25 April 2021, exactly one week ago today we lost a very bright light. R.I.P Tomas Estes. Ask anyone who ever met him and they’ll tell you that Tomas was one of the most beautiful souls. Kind, generous, humble, gracious – all of those adjectives that describe someone truly special and you could attribute them to Tomas. To us and all who had the honour to know him, he was always ready with the warmest smile, the twinkliest of eyes and a welcome that made you feel like the most special person in the world.
“Heartbroken to hear of the passing of my dear friend Tomas Estes. He really was a true legend. Scott, my partner and I were very fortunate to have the happiest day of our lives made even more special when Tom agreed to officiate at our civil ceremony back in 2007. He was so kind and thoughtful, it was an incredible day and I will never forget the important part he played in making it the best day ever – those memories will stay with me always. He has this incredible aura – infectious, always super positive and so much passion – people loved being around him. They would do anything for him. He will be missed so, so much. A brighter star shines in the sky tonight. R.I.P. my friend. My thoughts are with his family who are so adored and to his many friend across the globe.”
Robbie Bargh, Gorgeous Group
Little wonder why he was drawn to Mexico and sharing the Tequila love. Like Tomas, the good stuff, the real Tequila, is a true spirit: earthy, honest and warm, a product of passion, care and integrity. It’s a spirit of togetherness, created to be shared.
“I’ve met a lot of people working in hospitality but I’d struggle to think of a kinder soul than Tomas Estes. Not just a living legend who championed the category of tequila, but a generous and genuinely humble man who always made time for others. Like all who met him, I am absolutely gutted by the news of his passing. Mr Estes, your legacy is secure and your example very much appreciated.”
Sly Augustin, Trailer Happiness
Having started as a school teacher in the 1960s in California during the free love movement, he then emigrated to Amsterdam on the unchartered adventure of bringing Mexican cuisine, culture, and of course drink, to Europe. Jesse his son once told us, “I’ve seen photos and heard stories of my dad partying with the likes of Cheech Marin (Cheech & Chong), Brian Wilson, the Jackson family (minus Michael I’m told), Queen, etc. during this era.” He went on to become the founder of Cafe Pacifico and La Perla restaurant-bars, official Tequila Ambassador to Europe and a partner in Ocho Tequila.
“What an amazing innovator and enthusiast, he gave so much to the agave world and wider industry, so gracious and giving of his time. I’m sure like most people, I feel very lucky to have met him and shared some stories. A toast to Tomas tonight, in celebration of his life, sending condolences to his family and thoughts with his friends all around the world who will miss him dearly.”
Hazel Glen, Speciality Drinks
In an interview with Tomas, son Jesse and nephew James for The Cocktail Lovers magazine we asked, what was the best thing about being an Estes in the drinks industry?
Jesse told us that “Being my father’s son can have its perks in this industry. I know that doors were likely opened to me in some cases because of my last name. I also know that my father has helped a lot of people out and done a lot of favours over the years, and that has come back to me in that so many have been willing to help me out along the way. I feel I am just coming around full-circle to the place where I am now in the position to be able to give out favours of my own, which is a great feeling.”
“For me, having an instant connection to a network of like-minded individuals is a good thing,” James told us. “When I moved back to London and began working in bars I was very amazed at how many people knew my uncle. And I think having ‘Estes’ on my CV helped a lot when I began applying for jobs outside of the Pacifico Group.”
As for Tomas, his answer was short, heartfelt and simple: “Perhaps, singly and together we make a difference or an impact in the industry.”
Never a truer word spoken. For proof, just follow the hashtag #RememberingTomas across all social media channels to see just how much of an impact Tomas and his family made on the industry. As Simon Ford from the 86Co says: “Simply put he was one of the nicest and most inspiring people in our industry. R.I.P Tomas, you will be missed but you will always be with us in spirit. Quite literally.”
Amen to that.
Our thoughts and sincerest condolences go out to Jesse and the rest of the Estes family. Tomas will be truly missed.