When should you walk away from a job that you hate?
For Craig Shaw, the founder of premium Aguamiel Tequila, it all comes down to family. Though he had co-built a successful construction development company, he was miserable from working long hours that resulted in him missing out on critical time with his wife and children. “I was working 14 -15 hours a day 6 days a week pushing the limits of stress and how hard I could work. Along the way I lost my passion and excitement to build people’s homes. It was just a job.”
Though he was coping with feeling unfulfilled, it wasn’t until the his unhappiness caused a rift between he and his wife (ending in a 6-month separation) that he knew he needed to make a major change. “There was a breaking point – I decided my family was more important than my job.” That’s when he convinced her to take their children to Costa Rica. They spent 6 months reconnecting and focusing on family, which allowed Craig the clarity and time to discover what he was truly passionate about. “I always had an interest in the hospitality industry, but I wasn’t interested in opening a restaurant. I knew if I went that route I’d be back into the long working hours. I have two small children and had just upended our lives to be able to spend more time with them.”
It was then that he turned his sights on the tequila market and Mexico. He was initially drawn to the sunshine, beach, surf and large family style dinners but what held his attention upon arrival was the incredible quality of the tequila and how significant it was to Mexican culture. “I really resonated with the fact that it truly takes a community to produce it. Farmers fielding it have been in the same industry for generations. It’s different than vodka where someone can brew it in their garage, it’s much more family based”.
Upon meeting with Master Distiller Agustin Sanchez Rodriguez in Jalisco, Mexico, Craig knew he had to share the adventure he experienced in Mexico with the world. Founding a Tequila company allowed Craig to work alongside the hospitality industry while still enabling him to enjoy time with his family, “I’ve set up my own hours and can work from other places. My mentality has taken a 180 turn based on what it was. Feeling fulfilled in my work I’m also more involved with my wife and children. It was the best choice for me all around.”