If you saw the Apple TV+ show “We Crashed” about the founder of WeWork, they did a good job of making one object and representative of being rich a tall bottle of Don Julio 1492, held by the neck, swung carelessly and swigged from emphatically. The founders’ staff are staying at the founders’ apartment and after some convincing, taste Don Julio like it’s the apple from the tree of knowledge, and later are all seen to be seeking out and carrying such bottles as they proliferate throughout the party culture.
In my opinion, these ‘well-known brands’ understand that if they can follow where Clase Azul has led (progressively more expensive bottles which then take over all shelves in liquor stores and online liquor sites everywhere) they can make a lot of money. I am no expert on the business of tequila, but logic suggests that if great brands (Ocho, Pasote) can make a great XA to sell for about $200, then they are likely making a profit on it. So if El Tesoro and G4 can sell a bottle for $500 they must be making even more profit (minus the new bottle cost). Diablito is even in the same type of bottle and is outrageously priced, even for high-end bottles.
But I think if people who have $3-6K to spend on a bottle of booze they want the bottle to look good in a lighted case and show off. So they are buying the expensive bottle because it is ornate; because is it is rare; because it looks good on their bar, their ‘high-end’ shelf or lighted case. They assume it is a sign of strength (and possibly good taste) and for a long time, people with money could have rightly assumed that a higher price tag meant a better product.
I know from being a tequila fan, drinker and reader of community discussions that that can be true (because the El Tesoro 85th is outrageously expensive but a truly fantastic tequila that I will enjoy until I am holding the bottle above my mouth to get the last drops) but it is definitely most often not true at all. Most experienced tequila drinkers can tell you that the Tapatio line is better than nearly all of the high-end bottles I have tried (Clase Azul, Don Julio, Patron) for a small fraction of the price. As long as that’s true, I am staying in that part of the tequila shelf.*
*Although the Siembra Azul and Valles special bottles will make me spend irresponsibly.