He is a Virtuoso and Grand Duke of spirits. Arguably one of the most photographed liquor entrepreneurs in the world, Brent Hocking has not only become a leading figure in the spirits manufacturing world – consistently creating award-winning luxury standard liquors – he has also garnered a staunch and devoted celebrity following, attending and being photographed with just about every major player in the entertainment industry.
Having created and launched multiple award-winning spirits including the ever-popular DeLeón Tequila (which he launched in 2009) and Virginia Black Whiskey, which he co-founded with Drake – yes, the “Hotline Bling” Drake – in 2016, Hocking has become perhaps become one of the most successful and integral voices in the art of making spirits, and perhaps the only spirits entrepreneur whose life is indeed a party (with drinks, aplenty).
Not one to slow down, Hocking has once again teamed up with his superstar partner; this time giving the French a run for their money with the creation of an exclusive luxury bubbly. Distinguished in packaging, which luxury its direct imprint, Hocking new Cuvée, elaborately named Mod Sélection Champagne, is every bit as elevated in taste as it is in presentation. Not one to do anything whimsically, Hocking created Mod Selection from start to finish directly in Champagne, France, with extreme and delicate care taken at every step of its harvesting, cultivation, and vinification.
Resident Magazine spoke with founder and CEO Brent Hocking about his decision to tackle champagne for the people:
Have you always been in the spirits industry? if not, tell us a bit about your background.
My professional career began in finance, but I have always had a passion for luxury spirits, which is what lead me to create DeLeon Tequila as my first spirits venture in 2009.
What made you decide to enter the spirits industry?
I’ve long been a spirits connoisseur myself, and was always excited by the idea of creating luxury spirits where I saw holes in the market.
In an industry where there are always so many new spirit brands being created, what keeps your work ahead of the mark and constantly evolving?
I try not to compare my spirits to others on the market, and solely focus on exquisite craftsmanship. For example, when I created DeLeon, I forever changed the landscape of barrel aging in tequila by experimenting and finally utilizing French Sauternes Barrels instead of caramel coloring or flavoring. By selecting only the purest first quality agave, DeLeon became a revolutionary tequila at the time when competitors were pushing quantity over quality.
For Mod Sélection, luxury artisan techniques and attention to detail at every stage of the production process are what set this champagne apart.
Once your formulas and ingredients have been established for a spirit, are you also always experimenting with and testing that formula, or does it cease once created?
For new varietals and offerings, we are always experimenting with new blends, grapes, and aging. Mod Sélection is a modern interpretation of the tradition, heritage, and elegance that is Champagne, so we never fully rely on what has worked in the past but continue to modernize and experiment.
Why the decision to develop a new brand of luxury champagne?
I had always wanted to create luxury champagne, even before launching Virginia Black. But given the nature of the wine and the precision I wanted to take in creating the superior drinking cuvée, I took my time to find the right house to partner with and perfect the liquid. I believe it was worth the wait.
What do you feel marks Mod Sélection as a distinguished bottle of champagne compared to other luxury champagne brands?
The attention to detail and selection in every aspect of our production process is what sets Mod Sélection apart from every other champagne on the market.
Why the name Mod Sélection?
It was a name I chose that has ties to the family I partnered with and my rigorous Selection process that comes with everything I do.
Describe the ideal Mod Sélection Champagne drinker? Who is that person?
Mod Sélection Champagne is not only a celebratory drink but something you can also drink throughout a meal paired with a wide variety of dishes. It is designed to be enjoyed like a fine wine. The ideal Mod Sélection drinker appreciates the inherent balance of this exquisite Cuvée and enjoys the versatility it provides to experiment with different pairings and cuisines.
Aside from the spirits industry, are you involved in any other ventures?
The spirits industry is my passion and where I enjoy spending my time.
As someone constantly evolving in your industry, describe your ideal perfect peaceful moment.
The ideal peaceful moment would be a great meal paired with Mod Sélection or Original DeLeon Tequila.
One significant lesson you have learned from working in the spirits industry.
I’ve learned that there is always an opportunity to modernize. Champagne is a product that has been dominated by tradition, but with Mod Sélection, I was able to honor that heritage while still creating a product that shines and stands out for the modern beauty and elegance that is inside. I view every bottle of our Champagne as a modern work of art.