How Tequila Avión Convinced Customers It's Real After 'Entourage' Fans Thought It Was Fiction

05/05/2015 05:47 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2015

You may recognize Tequila Avión as the spirit company that Turtle promoted as part of a major story arc on HBO's "Entourage," but don't call it "made-for-TV" tequila.

Ken Austin, chairman and founder of the company, joined HuffPost Live on Monday and explained that Tequila Avión had been in the works years before it ever made its television debut. In fact, the feature sprung from a conversation with his friend Doug Ellin, who created "Entourage."

"We were literally in a hot tub in Nantucket at [fitness expert] Jake Steinfeld's house ... and Doug said, 'I want a storyline for Turtle that he can win. I want an arc where he can win,'" Austin said. "I said to Doug, 'Why don't you just do the tequila?' And he goes, 'That's a great idea. ... I'll do like 50 Cent and Vitaminwater.' And that was it."

The "organic" partnership gave Ellin the storyline he wanted and provided great exposure for the budding spirit company, Austin told host Caroline Modaressy-Tehrani.

"Doug did us an amazing favor, but … it worked for his storyline. So for him it was about the creative and about the viewer. For us it was a home-run because we got exposure that money couldn't buy."

But interestingly enough, Tequila Avión sales didn't skyrocket immediately following the episode.

"We picked up, like maybe 2,000 new fans [on Facebook]," Austin said. "Because we were so new on the market, people thought it was made-for-TV tequila. They didn't go and search and say, 'This may be real.' The only people that really looked for it were people within the wine and spirits industry globally."

The Avión team quickly used that momentum to reevaluate their marketing campaign, changing their slogan from "Taste Elevated" to "Yes, It's Real."

"Whenever somebody would see [our product] they would say, 'Oh my God, it's real.' So we said let's answer the question ... and people would see it [and] get a chuckle out of it."

Watch the full HuffPost Live segment with Tequila Avión founder Ken Austin here.

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