If we weren’t known for our borderline pathetic stick figure drawing skills we probably would have entered Herradura Tequila’s latest contest. The concept behind the contest is definitely creative and you don’t even have to be a tequila-lover to appreciate it (though it certainly helps).


The Herradura Barrel Art Program is simply the company’s way of showcasing artists’ creativity, one tequila barrel at a time. Every artist chosen was sent one of Herradura’s tequila barrels and were instructed to create absolutely anything they wanted from it – there were no rules, other than that they had to use the barrel. Herradura divided the competition into 8 separate regional competitions, with 10 artists competing in each region. The winner of each region takes home $10,000 and the chance to compete in the finals in Miami, where the grand prize is $100,000. That’s a big check for tequila barrel art.


New York, Atlanta, Austin, and Chicago have all chosen their winners already, while Santa Fe, San Francisco, Miami and Los Angeles still have their events scheduled throughout November. The last regional competition will take place in Los Angeles on November 16.


At the Austin event on October 16, the winner was University of Texas junior, Raul de Lara. While most of the artists chose to keep their barrels fairly intact, de Lara decided to rip his apart completely. The result? A life-size representation of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of intelligence and self-reflection. He is associated with the legend of how agave and tequila came to be, so de Lara was given credit for tying in his piece to tequila’s rich history.


In Atlanta on October 9, the winners were Micah and Whitney Stansell, a husband and wife team. They chose to leave the outside of the barrel completely unchanged, except for a large marquee sign that said “LOOK INSIDE.” Inside, they created an early cinema device of a running horse, paying homage to Muybridge, a pioneer of the moving image. They wanted people to look inside the barrel because when it comes to tequila, it’s what’s inside the barrel that is really important. That’s artistic genius in our eyes.


We can’t wait to see what the artists in the other cities create and which one comes out the ultimate winner at the Barrel Art Finale.