Tomas Estes, one of the drinks industry's most loved and respected figures, has passed away peacefully at his home in Oregan. 

The tequila ambassador and co-owner of Ocho Tequila was instrumental in building the reputation of agave spirits around the world, educating countless bartenders.

Alongside Phil Bayly, he was a trailblazer of Mexican hospitality, with a global empire of 18 restaurant-bars - principally Café Pacifico and La Perla - and pioneered much of the industry's understanding of terroir in tequila.

Last year Estes' career was celebrated as he was named the winner of the Lifetime Achievement award at the CLASS Bar Awards 2020.

A family statement on his Facebook page read: "It is with deep sorrow and a heavy heart that we share the news of Tomas Estes's passing. He died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday 25th April, surrounded by family in Southern Oregon.

"For those of you who knew Tomas, you’ll know that he lived a full and rich life. There will forever will be a ‘Tomas-sized hole' in the universe. His capacity for love and kindness was unbounded and deeper than any words could express. The world will be a less bright place for this loss."

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In the absence of a conventional funeral or memorial service, his family has asked that his industry friends post their favourite photos or stories of Estes using the hashtag #RememberingTomas.

To read more about the life of Tomas Estes, read Class editor Hamish Smith's profile of him here.

A tribute to Estes will be published in the May edition of CLASS.