Jim ‘Mad Money’ Cramer Brings Fósforo Mezcal To Somerset

Jim Cramer signs of a bottle of his Fósforo mezcal at Bottle Republic on Easton Avenue on October 8.

Jim Cramer, of CNBC “Mad Money” fame, cringes when he’s called a celebrity.

That holds true whether the source of that celebrity is his financial program, or Fósforo mezcal, his latest venture with his wife, Lisa Detwiller.

“I’m not a celebrity mezcal guy, I’m a guy who likes mezcal, who owned a Mexican bar and saw it was selling well and was proud of that because I was stocking it and nobody else was stocking it,” he said during an October 8 visit to Bottle Republic on Easton Avenue.

“I ended up selling more mezcal than anybody in a 25-block area,” he said. “Then I said to Lisa, what would happen if we had a brand.”

Cramer and his wife hope that luck selling mezcal continues with their brand, which hit the market in April after a 5-year preparation period.

Cramer and his wife put that time to good use. There were a host of details to be taken care of, something Detwiller (and Cramer) says she’s the best at.

There was sourcing the mezcal, deciding on a bottle design, finding a distributor, and, of course, deciding on a name.

Cramer’s role?

“I tasted about 200 mezcals,” he said.

Cramer said he was a single-malt man until about 2012, when he was introduced to mezcal in Mexico.

“I realized I’d found it, that was what I was going to drink,” he said.

Then came the bar, the success with selling mezcal and the decision to start their own brand.

One of the first things they had to do was find a mezcalero, the person who creates the mezcal.

Cramer and Detwiller said they found the man they wanted in Aarón Alva Sánchez, outside of Puebla, Mexico.

“Aarón is an artist and a scientist who has spent his life mastering the end-to-end process of agave farming through mezcal production,” the company’s web site reads.

Then the name.

Fósforo is Spanish for “match,” and the name is a recognition of the roasting process used to create mezcal, Detwiller said.

Detwiller said she designed the bottle so that it could be easily grabbed by the neck.

Even before the mezcal was being produced, Cramer and Detwiller decided to create a foundation – the Fósforo Foundation – to assess and mitigate the impact that their business would have on the region.

The foundation helps create jobs and is involved in a tree-replanting program to replace trees used in the mezcal producing process.

Fósforo is a tabala mezcal, made from tabala agave plant. That’s not the only expression Cramer and Detwiller brought to this country.

“The night we were celebrating the finding of the tabala mezcal, Aarón brought out other expressions,” Detwiller said. “When I tasted the penka, I said hold on a second, this has to come back, too.”

In making teh penka, she said, they take the tabala and “mix it with roasted agave leaves in it so it absorbs some of the flavor and some of the color, and it just creates a little more rounded flavor.”

“In some ways, it’s like missionary work because nobody’s heard of a penka, but I find, for those people who are bourbon drinkers or scotch drinkers, if you want to get into the category, it’s a real nice transition,” she said.

There was a steady stream of Cramer and mezcal fans arriving at Bottle Republic, willing to pay the nearly $100 for a bottle of their mezcal and snap a picture with the owners.

Cramer said he was struck by FRanklin residents’ “kindness and their manners. I love it.”

“There were people I know who would want a picture, and I had to ask them,” he said. “I think they thought it would be rude to ask for a picture themselves. Usually, people practically throw a camera at me, which is fine, too.”

“I wanted to talk to all their mothers and say, good job,” he said.

Following are some scenes from the day:

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