Greek-American Chris Chelios Co-Founded El Bandido Yankee Tequila Company



CHICAGO – El Bandido Yankee Tequila Company, an ultra premium spirits brand, produces a Tequila Blanco and a Tequila Reposado. The company, founded by packaging mogul and former NFL player James Robert Morris and Greek-American restaurateur and NHL Hall of Fame Hockey Player Chris Chelios, was launched in 2021 after years of discussions around developing a spirit true to their values – to boldly pursue excellence without apologies and with the utmost integrity. The ultra premium tequila is crafted in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, using traditional methods – hand-harvested agave, stone ovens, and copper stills.


Handcrafted from start to finish under the direction of Master Distiller Karina Rojo at El Viejito Distillery in Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco, El Bandido Yankee tequila is made from 100% blue weber agave and further distinguishes itself as an all-natural, confirmed additive-free tequila as established by Tequila Matchmaker’s Confirmed Additive-Free program.


El Bandido Yankee tequila is crafted in a fully transparent process using centuries-old tequila making traditions. The hand-selected blue weber agave is slow-roasted for 40 hours in stone ovens and twice distilled in copper pots. For further refinement, the tequila is oxygenated to produce El Bandido Yankee’s signature finish.

El Bandido Yankee Tequila Company was founded by packaging mogul and former NFL player James Robert Morris and Greek-American restaurateur and NHL Hall of Fame Hockey Player Chris Chelios. Photo: El Bandido Yankee Tequila Company site.


The result is a criminally smooth profile that fully showcases the region’s blue weber agave with zero masking and zero additives. El Bandido Yankee’s Blanco expression features a refined crisp finish with citrus, pepper, and vanilla notes and a buttery profile. To create the Reposado expression, the tequila is aged in stripped and recharred American Oak bourbon barrels. The added step of recharring yields a warm agave presence with delicious hints of toasted oak, herbal, and vanilla notes.


“We knew we had the infrastructure to create a fantastic tasting, smooth tequila at an accessible price point,” said El Bandido Yankee’s Founder James Robert Morris, a former NFL player and a champion for multiculturalism, who operates 15+ certified Minority Business Enterprise companies and was the lead donor for Kansas State University’s new Morris Multicultural Center. “We didn’t cut corners and are fully transparent about how and where it’s crafted. Sustainable practices were also a top priority to us, and our tequila is only made using fully mature agave. We partnered with El Viejito because of their dedication to process, people and the land.”


El Bandido Yankee’s branding and label reflect its deep ties to the renowned Jalisco region, along with its playful depiction of a mysterious bandido who is always ready to chase down fun and raise a glass in celebration.


“El Bandido’s essence is a passion to live boldly and share generously. It’s this ethos that drives us personally and professionally,” said El Bandido Yankee Founder Chris Chelios, a three-time Stanley Cup Champion and hospitality industry entrepreneur. “El Bandido is about jumping right in to create memorable moments with family and friends with a delicious tasting drink that’s thoughtfully made.”


The company is dedicated to building long-term, impactful relationships that honor the people and land of the Jalisco region. El Bandido Yankee has committed a portion of net proceeds from the sale of its tequila, as well as 100% of net proceeds from the sale of its merchandise to those efforts. The company is collaborating with S.A.C.R.E.D, a not-for-profit focused on improving the lives of people in rural Mexican communities where agave spirits are made, to identify and support vital community needs.


Chelios told Wine & Whiskey Globe (WWG) that his favorite way to drink El Bandido Yankee Tequila is “on the rocks, straight. It’s so smooth, the taste is so good that I don’t feel the need to add anything to it.”


When asked what we can expect in 2022 from El Bandido Yankee, Chelios told WWG: “To be in more markets and really expand our brand… we hope to be in 30 states by the end of 2022. The goal for El Bandido Yankee has always been to create a bold and daring brand that comes into the market with its own unique take. We are bandidos with untamed spirit, and we look forward to building lots of excitement in 2022.”


Source: The National Herald