I wanted to be my own boss and not be stuck in a 9-5. I also grew up drinking sotol as my dad was a passionate connoisseur of the spirit.

Valerie Bussey


What were the key driving forces to bring yourself into the AlcoBev industry?

The key driving forces for me starting Sotol Raramuri was that on a personal note I wanted to be my own boss and not be stuck in a 9-5. I also grew up drinking sotol as my dad was a passionate connoissure of the spirit.

How did you come up with the name for your brand?

The name of the brand comes from the indigenous people from the state of Chihuahua. They are known for their superhuman strength in running tens of miles in order to hunt deer. They outlast the deer in strength. I see them as a portrayal of what the sotol plant is. A super plant that grows in the desert and in the cold winter of the Sierra Madre Tarahumara.

What are your secrets to success?

My perseverance and my connection to nature and the spirit world. I also have been very blessed with amazing people that have always helped me in innumerable ways throughout this journey.

How did you raise funds for your venture?

I literally sold one box and with that revenue started buying and selling more. I also owe it to my amazing accountant that never charged me for very expensive permits he filled out.

What are your biggest successes and failures? My biggest successes have been three gold medals in 2020 and 2021 in one of the most important spirits competitions, Concours Mondial Brussels, Mexico Selection. One of my biggest wins was finally exporting to the US and soon to Europe. My failures have had to do with my sometimes poor organization skills.

How did you persevere through tough times?

I persevered remembering who I am. In this business that is dominated by men you are sometimes seen as dumb and weak so you brush it off and keep on going. I like to see my failures as lessons and everything in my as a challenge.

What do you want to achieve next? I would like to see my sotol in European markets and soon add a new variety. I am also working on my own gin to include in my brand.

What are some of the challenges you faced or are facing regarding catalyzing innovation?

The main challenge when it comes to this spirit is changing the way some maestro sotoleros think. Many are not used to working with women so they see the role that we play as a challenge and sometimes it’s hard to help them innovate in their process.

What are your tips for a growing company?

As a woman my main tip is to persevere and brush off the tough times. Sometimes when I don’t feel so tough I “act as though”. A fake it till you make it kind of stance. That has worked for me.

What do you have to say to future aspiring women entrepreneurs? Give it all without thinking about it too much. Learn to work with other women. Some of my biggest mentors are two other ladies that also produce sotol. If it’s in the spirits business, enter it with the love and heart of the culture and not for the profit. When you have your heart in it, the money part will work organically. Brush off the chauvinism that might exist and you do what you have to do to keep forward.