Actor George Clooney may have just become a billionaire. The Oscar-winning actor and his business partners, Rande Gerber, and Michael Meldman, sold their Casamigos Tequila company for $1 billion.
The entrepreneurs publicly launched the company in 2013 but it had been brewing for years.
The friends first got the idea to launch a tequila while they were vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The friends sampled a variety of tequilas while they waited for their summer houses to be built (oh the joy).
According to Rande Gerber, Clooney got the idea for the friends to make their own brand of tequila. The two men included their pal Michael a real-estate developer and headed to Jalisco, Mexico to find a distillery.
The process was a bit time-consuming. The men went back and forth with the distillers to perfect the liquor. Once they believed they had the right recipe, Casamigos was born.
Casamigos is loosely translated to mean “house of friends”. At first, the tequila was only available to Clooney and his friends.
However, the distillery put the men on the spot. Apparently, they had been shipping over 1000 bottles of the tequila to Clooney and his friends. The distillery told them they needed to get a license and start selling the brand because too many “samples” were being shipped.
With Clooney’s name attached to the brand, Casamigos took off fast and became a valid contender in the Tequila market. The tequila sold 120,000 cases last year.
Now, in 2017 the Diageo Group took notice. Diageo is a London-based distillery with brands such as Smirnoff, Guinness, Johnny Walker, and Bailey’s.
Diageo has inked a deal with Clooney and his pals for $700 million upfront and $300 million more if the liquor beats sales predictions. The brand is projected to sell over 160,000 cases within the next year.