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There are spirits and then there’s spirit, and El Guapo embodies both—in no small part because the leader at the helm of this burgeoning brand, Christa Cotton, came of age in a craft cocktail culture ripe with creativity. A native of Leesburg, Georgia, Christa is passionate about all things Southern... from cocktails and entertaining to the strong traditions of farming and community essential to Southern culture.

Christa's grandparents and great-grandparents were farmers. She was raised in the red clay fields of rural Southwest Georgia and helped her parents open Georgia's first legal distillery since prohibition, 13th Colony, while in college at Auburn. Her instinctive connection to nature and real-life experience, mixed with a business degree and a stint in advertising, landed Christa at the helm of El Guapo. Since founding New Orleans Beverage Group and acquiring the El Guapo trademark in 2017, Christa has focused on quality of product and scale, expanding into adjacent categories like syrups and mixers and dramatically increasing production capacity to meet distribution demands.

Living in the capital of cocktails since 2011, she has built a thriving business anchored in a larger narrative of family, female entrepreneurship, and a commitment to good things done right.

She’s an enthusiastic member of the Krewe of Iris, the oldest women’s parading organization in the State of Louisiana, and sits on the boards of the New Orleans chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier and Glass Half Full, a local glass recycling business and non-profit. She also volunteers her time to mentor women looking to break into the consumer packaged goods industry through organizations like The Lee Initiative and Women In Hospitality United.

She’s a passionate advocate for New Orleans culture, history and architecture, regularly leading disaster relief efforts following natural disasters and other local emergencies. In her spare time, Christa enjoys traveling, cooking and exploring New Orleans with her life partner, Brian, daughter, Flora, and Bernese Mountain Dog, Archie Manning.