Jesus’ story begins quite conventionally. Raised in a South San Diego, California Hispanic household
where tequila played a large role in his cultural and familial experiences, he sampled the silky goodness
of Tequila on his tongue at the young age of 12. While this may sound shocking, tasting tequila at such
a young age is a rite of passage and a time-honored family tradition of many Mexican families. Jesus’
parents, as first generation immigrants, wanted their children to embrace the possibilities of life in
America, but never lose their cultural identity. Little did Jesus or his parents, Maria T. Santoyo and Jose
de Jesus Santoyo, realize that this traditional rite of passage would eventually lead to the creation of the
first Ultra-Premium Organic Tequila. But, wait – we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s travel back to the beginning; before Jesus left his home in search of authentic Mexican recipes and Tequila.
Growing up Jesus and his family did not have much money. His father worked long, physically taxing
hours in the construction industry. Although the work was grueling and unforgiving, Jesus’ father
would not relent. He was determined to work as hard as necessary to provide for his children so they
could acquire a college education and use their minds, not their hands, to achieve a better life. He
accomplished this mission. After college, Jesus applied his education and his father’s tireless work ethic to create a unique style of restaurant, Just Tacos Mexican Grill which opened in 2005. Just Tacos began as nothing more than a simple take-out restaurant. However, Jesus, like his father, had bigger dreams. He longed to create a fast food franchise specializing in selling just tacos similar to what “In-N-Out” did for burgers.
The success of the first Just Tacos Mexican Grill location in the business district of downtown Honolulu
only fueled his expansion dreams. However, there were some obstacles that made this difficult. Hawaii
is a beautiful island, yet due to its small size it proved difficult for Jesus to find the prime real estate
property between 500- 800 square feet. These properties were already being leased to national chains
like Subway, Starbucks or Jamba Juice. Jesus knew it was senseless to try to compete against these
national chains and it was illogical to consider a larger space for a take-out restaurant. In order to keep
his expansion dream alive, Jesus combine the two things he passion for in order to justify a larger space:
authentic Mexican food and Tequila.
Once Jesus realized what he must do he went forth with his plans, creating a full-service, sit-down Mexican Cantina that not only served authentic Mexican food, but offered over 350 types of Tequilas.
Jesus Santoyo now operates the largest Mexican Restaurant chain in the State of Hawaii.
Some may wonder why Jesus could not simply be satisfied with his restaurant chain’s success. Why not
revel in success? Why create the Santoyo Grand Leyenda Ultra-Premium Organic Tequila brand? In a
way, you can actually blame relaxation. Let us explain.
On a family trip to Mexico in 2012, Jesus was reunited with his cousin, Attorney Enrique Hurtado de
Mendoza which he had not seen in nearly 10 years. During this family reunion, he and his cousin shared
and reflected about their professional careers; their goals and their obstacles. It was then that Enrique
asked, “Why don’t you make your own tequila?” He mentioned to Jesus that one of his clients which
owned a distillery was producing Organic Tequila and recently experienced some financial hardships.
The choice was obvious. Jesus immediately said, “Get me a meeting with the owners. I want to buy it.”
The rest is history . . .
In Spanish, Grand Leyenda means “grand, legend.” These two words describe the man who instilled the
values and work ethics that have driven Jesus to be the man he is today. Jesus describes his father as
something bigger than life… a grand man, a family man, a man of all men. The Santoyo Grand Leyenda
Tequila not only is unique and tastes exceptional, but its flavors reflect the true family tradition and
labor of love that Tequila should represent. For this reason, Jesus has honored his father with this brand,
dedicating it to the man who worked effortlessly while encouraging and inspiring not only him but
his twin brother Jose Santoyo and older sister Aleyda Santoyo to follow their dreams and fulfill their
ambitions no matter the obstacles. Santoyo Grand Leyenda Ultra-Premium Organic Tequila brand is unique and authentic like Jesus’ father. Through this tequila, Jesus dreams of leaving a footprint while paying tribute to a legendary man, his father Jose De Jesus Santoyo and their shared proud heritage. Salud!