Strolling through the isles of a liquor store can be equated to going on somewhat of a global journey, with bottles of rosé extracted from vineyards in the South of France to whiskey produced in the distilleries of Scotland. While it may seem like there’s a vast selection in these spaces, there’s one thing missing from the shelves—representation. Entrepreneur Tiffany Capri Hainesworth—who made history as the first Black woman to solely own a tequila brand with her imprint TCapri Tequila—is on a mission to change the narrative regarding ownership in the wine and spirits industry.
The North American luxury liquor market is projected to reach $278.5 billion by 2028. But the space has historically been—and remains—white male-dominated. For Hainesworth, a D.C. native, the lack of diversity wasn’t a deterrent but an opportunity.
The values of entrepreneurship were instilled in Hainesworth at a young age. Her grandfather owned and operated vending machines at elementary schools throughout Washington, D.C. and Maryland. His hustle and grit showed Hainesworth that becoming a business owner was attainable with dedication.
“My grandfather was a big advocate for advancing yourself,” she told NewsOne. “He instilled the importance of hard work within me.”
In 2012, Hainesworth was involved in a harrowing car accident. The incident significantly changed her outlook on life. Putting things into perspective led her down a path of seeking purpose, prompting her to step into the realm of entrepreneurship.
“I had to think about what I wanted to do with my life,” she shared. “I wanted to be happy in the next part and the best part of my journey.”
The time away from work, while healing, allowed her to discover and explore different facets of her creativity. After coming across an article about alcohol-infused gummy bears, she decided to recreate the recipe for her family and friends.
What started off as a dessert for girls’ night evolved into her business dubbed TCapri Gourmet Treats, where she perfected the art of crafting gummy bears packed with pinot grigio and bourbon flavors. Hainesworth’s venture would unlock the door to the next chapter of her entrepreneurial journey.
With a quench for adventure and exploring the world, she took a trip from Maryland to the mountains of Guadalajara.
“It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been,” she shared while discussing her travels. “It was so serene. The agave fields were majestic. The scenery was phenomenal.”
It was in the Mexican countryside that she birthed TCapri Tequila. Founded in 2019, the tequila brand embodies the spirit of Jalisco, a place that brought her tranquility. It also serves as an ode to the legacy of Black entrepreneurship.
For Hainesworth, cultivating the brand was no easy feat. She endured learning curves when laying the foundation for her company. When she stepped into liquor stores in the U.S. to discuss distribution, she was confronted with difficulties and discrimination. Individuals assumed she was a salesperson rather than the founder because she was a Black woman.
The glass shortage significantly impacted her production during the pandemic. The culmination of her experiences, highs and lows, led to a triumphant pinnacle when she made history as the first Black woman to own a tequila brand exclusively.
Hainesworth says her mission is deeper than selling bottles of tequila. It’s rooted in building a legacy. She takes pride in the fact that her brand is 100 percent Black-owned and that she is the driving force behind every element of her business.
“I wanted my name on the front and back of that bottle,” she shared. “It was important to show ownership, to show that we can do it. To show that we can start in a small batch and grow. It’s about generational wealth. It’s about passing down a legacy for our kids and our grandkids. I feel like I’m making my ancestors proud.”
The TCapri Tequila founder recalled coming across a social media post in which a mother shared how she and her daughter saw Hainesworth delivering her own bottles of tequila and, with admiration, regarded her as a benchmark of excellence.
Standing on her grandfather’s shoulders, Hainesworth—who plans to expand her tequila offerings—hopes to open the door for other Black innovators. She says stepping into the industry starts with eliminating limiting beliefs.
“There will be many obstacles, trials and tribulations, but you have to keep pushing to accomplish your goals and be catapulted into your destiny.”