desperadosAmid the recent love for hybrid tequila beverages – tequila cider, anyone? – Heineken is introducing a new tequila-flavored lager called Desperados.

From what we gather, there are only trace amounts of tequila in this drink; in fact, it’s classified as a malt beverage. It’s lager that is aged in a tequila-barrel, and then blended with beer that is mixed with tequila and lemon flavors. They say it’s “at the crossroads of beer and spirits techniques” and it’s going to launch soon in select retail and on-premise outlets in the Southeast portion of the U.S.

Want to know a secret about Desperados? Heineken is making it sound so shiny and new in their marketing pieces, but it was actually introduced in Europe in 1995. Yes, like 19 years ago. It was initially released in countries like France, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Brazil – but no U.S. until now. What took Desperados so long to take the trip to America? Our laws prohibited the sale of the drink because it mixes beer and spirits. The European version of Desperados does not do the barrel-aging process, so we are guessing the U.S. version made the cut because it relies primarily on tequila flavoring rather than actual tequila.

Heineken is aiming to target young adult consumers with the U.S. launch of Desperados. Or, more specifically, young adult consumers that are “spontaneous and adventurous.” They say it performs really well with that demographic and that people think it’s great for party occasions and nights out on the town with friends. We’ll be the judge of that.

This isn’t the first time, however, that Heineken has tested the tequila waters in the U.S. Remember last month when we wrote about a new drink from Dos Equis called the “Dos-A-Rita”? Well, Heineken owns Dos Equis, so they are responsible for that horrible play on words. The Dos-A-Rita is sort of the same idea as Desperados, but it’s a blend of beer and margarita flavors (whatever those may be).

What does all this mean? We don’t know. But there has to be something to all of this tequila business if Heineken is willing to invest so much money into these two endeavors. What do you think? Are tequila and beer a match made in heaven?