Diego Osorio Plunges Into His Roots … and Finds Tequila
Reinventions profiles people who've made big pivots. Meet Diego Osorio, a former actor, designer and filmmaker who, by exploring his family history, found something new (and tasty) to make.
What were you before?
Before founding Lobos 1707, I worked in the entertainment industry as an actor and documentarian. I was cast in television and film projects such as HotSpot: A Guide to Finding Love, Bronx SIU, Drug Mule and Roshambo, to name a few. I have also produced and directed several films focused on environmental and immigration issues.
So, even before founding Lobos 1707, storytelling was my passion, and creating the brand and brand vision was another way to do that.
What triggered your reinvention(s)?
What triggered the Lobos 1707 brand was when I discovered the story of my great-great-grandfather, who used to transport Pedro Ximénez sherry barrels from Spain to Mexico. Tequila has always been the spirit I reached for. Knowing my family has been in the spirits business for a long time, I wanted to pay homage to my heritage and tell that story. It felt like a natural connection for me to explore another avenue of storytelling through this industry, especially as an actor and creative.
What did the first steps look like?
In between working on film projects in NYC and L.A., I decided to visit Mexico to learn more about tequila production. After visiting a number of different distilleries, I eventually brought on a local master distiller in Mexico, and a second master distiller from Spain, to craft a liquid that blended both cultures together as a nod to my family's history.
We tried over 300 different iterations of tequila. Once we were able to perfect the recipe, Lobos 1707 was born. At the time, we only had enough money to create one mold for the bottle—shaped in a humanesque form, with our family's coat of arms represented by two wolves ("lobos" means "wolves" in Spanish) featured on the front.
What was one hard obstacle to overcome?
Covid! The fact that we had to build a team without being able to meet them in person killed me. This company is all about sitting down at a table together, having a drink and breaking bread as a family, and that is harder to do on Zoom.
What was easier than you thought?
Nothing came easy, but we came up with the creative vision, got everyone on board with this crazy idea, and launched in the middle of a pandemic.
What's something you learned along the way that other people, hoping to do something similar, should know?
Our goal with creating Lobos 1707 was to build a spirits brand that is both purpose-driven and inextricably tied to its cultural origins, which is what consumers gravitate toward. Lobos 1707 is committed to encouraging unity, legacy and authenticity, and a huge part of that is ensuring authentic tequila culture and Mexican culture is woven into the heart and soul of our brand—from how our liquid is produced, to brand storytelling, and how we market and package our products.
Did anyone or anything inspire you along the way?
There are many things and people who inspire me, from the way my mother fights in this life, to some very successful people that never stop being hungry and always are the hardest workers in the room—like Paul Wachter or Arnold Schwarzenegger. But there are three people that specifically come to mind.
First is my great-great-grandfather, Diego Osorio. Discovering who he was and how we are connected, not only by name but also in our passion for extraordinary tequila, was the catalyst for starting Lobos 1707. Without him, I never would have started this journey.
The second person is my cousin Marco. I come from a background in film, and it was Marco who suggested I use my love for storytelling to create a visually compelling brand that encompasses the Lobos 1707 story and honors our family.
Lastly are my business partners and friends, Maverick Carter and LeBron James. When I first started Lobos 1707, it was intended to be a product for my friends and family to enjoy. Maverick and LeBron understand the value of a really great product and how to build a savvy business that stands for something, so when I showed them Lobos 1707, they believed it needed to be shared with the rest of the world. LeBron and Maverick have been with us on this journey since day one, believing in our central mission of bringing people together.
What has this fundamentally changed for you?
It's changed everything for me, not just in terms of what I do every day in my career, but it's allowed me to expand my creative "wings" from acting and filmmaking into entrepreneurship and branding. I love that I get to use my background to ensure that the inspiration and heartbeat behind our brand comes across in every place that Lobos 1707 shows up—from the bottles on the shelves to the brand films on our screens, and even at our headquarters, "The Den," where we have a massive community table that I built by hand. It symbolizes that there's a seat for everyone at our table, and that our pack is continuously growing.
Do you think you could go back/do you want to?
I never left the business of storytelling, nor did I change who I am. I'm just pivoting my skills from in front of or behind the camera to building the creative vision for Lobos 1707 and what the brand will be in the years to come. I still do filmmaking when I have time, though I don't have a lot of that these days—but I try!
Tell us your reinvention song.
Music is in everything, and there is a song for every moment, so it's hard to pick one. The last song played on my phone right now is "ELEMENT." by Kendrick Lamar.
How would you define yourself now?
I don't think that being the founder and chief creative officer of Lobos 1707 defines me as a person, but it is a big part of what I do. I launched Lobos 1707 in 2020 with a vision to disrupt the tequila industry with a brand that is inclusive and celebrates unity. We were the top-selling liquor overall for both February and March on Drizly.
We're still here and growing. Every member of our pack has played a critical role in the brand's success, and for that I will be forever grateful.