El Rayo range

El Rayo’s ‘super-premium’ tequila is available in Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Selfridges and Daylesford, as well as on-trade venues

El Rayo has raised an additional £1.3m in its latest funding round as it aims to become the second-biggest super-premium tequila in the UK in 2024.

The round was led by Rianta Capital, the family office of New Look founder Tom Singh, which also invested in 2023’s £900k fundraising.

Co-founded by Jack Vereker and Tom Bishop in 2019, El Rayo is a “super-premium” tequila crafted with 100% slow-grown blue agave.

The London-based brand launched into 400 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide last year to expand its retail listings with John Lewis, Selfridges and Daylesford, as well as more than 500 on-trade venues. It is gearing up to announce further grocery launches this summer and is also planning to expand distribution overseas for the first time in the second half of the year.

As well as helping accelerate growth, the new funds will be targeted towards making new senior hires to lead the brand’s sales and marketing functions.

Other investors in the round included Beavertown founder Logan Plant, who also took part in the 2023 raise, and Anotherway Ventures.

“When we launched El Rayo, our mission was to turn tequila into the first drink of the night, not the last,” Vereker said. “A premium spirit designed to be relished in a long, slow serve.

“Surpassing our latest funding target means El Rayo can continue to redefine this rapidly expanding category and grow the brand not only in the UK but internationally.”

The business added that the super-premium tequila market had been the fastest-growing spirits category in the past five years and was forecast to continue to be so in the next five, while IWSR drinks market analysis predicted the super-premium tequila category would become twice the size of gin by 2027.

El Rayo makes two tequilas, working with ‘tequilero’ Oscar Garcia in Mexico to craft No1: Plata (rsp: £37.95/70cl) and No2: Reposado (rsp: £41.95/70cl).