George Clooney sold his tequila for $1B. And Dwayne Johnson’s might be worth $2B.

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Nick Jonas, Eva Longoria and Kevin Hart are also shooting their shot. So why all the celebrity action around tequila? I did some digging and it actually makes a lot of sense

1/ The first big deal It started with the mega-sale of Casamigos to Diageo for a cool billion dollars. George created the brand with his buddies Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman in 2013. It was scooped up just 4 years later. While this wasn’t the first celebrity tequila brand, it was the first to sell for 3 commas. And Casamigos wasn’t even supposed to be a serious money maker. It was a passion project that grew into a cultural phenomenon. The word “Casamigos” has joined Hennesey and Cristal as a lyrical status symbol. So when Diageo dropped a pile of cash on Clooney, Hollywood took notice.

2/ Category growth The tequila market is hot. Red hot. Category sales exploded during the pandemic and hit $12.7B in 2023. That number is projected to double in a decade. California is also the largest US tequila market. One more advantage for Hollywood. But there’s another reason celebs are taken by tequila.

3/ It’s a brand business Alcohol is a brand heavy business. And there’s a long history of these brands being built around people. Think Johnnie Walker and Bacardi. The romantic origin story, the fine-tune distilling process, the old-world craftsmanship. This is a tried and true playbook. So if you’ve got a personal brand, you’ve got a head start.

4/ Speed and cost Clooney and friends were able to launch Casamigos on less than $2M. They operated on cash flow from then on. And honestly, it could be done for a lot less today. There are tons of tequila brands in Jalisco – the tequila capital, who would love to slap a star on the bottle. As for speed, some tequilas can be aged for less time compared to scotch or rum. And this means a shorter time to market. But you better move fast.

5/ My take Let’s be clear. Tequila is not the only drink in town. Ryan Reynolds sold Aviation Gin for $610M. And Conor McGregor unloaded Proper No. Twelve Whiskey for about the same. Lots of ways to win. Still tequila’s not going anywhere. It’s big and growing. Jose Cuervo still dominates the category with nearly 9M cases sold in 2023. Patron and Don Julio round out the top 3 biggest brands. And what’s the fourth best-selling tequila? Casamigos.

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