It doesn't happen often in life, but occasionally one tends to fall upwards — finding a twenty-dollar bill while doing the laundry; thinking you're late to an appointment only to realize you're an hour early because you wrote it down in your schedule wrong. Or, the worst case scenario — having some tequila with your friends and end up starting a company worth over a billion dollars.
That's what happened to George Clooney. The superstar, who just had twins, sold his Casamigos brand to rival Diageo for $700 million this year with a potential additional performance-based $300 million over the next decade. Clooney told CNBC:
If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don't think we would have said yes. This reflects Diageo's belief in our company and our belief in Diageo. But we're not going anywhere. We'll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two.
From Humble Beginnings
The brand started when Clooney bought property in Mexico next to Rande Gerber. The two became friends and, of course, being in Mexico, consumed quite a bit of tequila. The duo would go to bars and restaurants where bartenders would give their recommendations. Some hit the mark and others would fall flat. Finally, Clooney came up with the idea of creating something the fit the pair. So, the duo went to distilleries and after 700 samples (It had to be just right, after all) the duo came up with the right recipe.
Good Times Were Had By All
Distilleries initially told Clooney and Gerber that they would have to get a license after importing over a thousand bottles into the UK (Thirsty, George?). Enter Michael Meldman. He joined the team in 2013 and immediately found a US distributor. The trio had one goal in mind: Make it affordable. Gerber explained:
"George doesn't need the money. I didn't need it. Mike didn't need it. It wasn't the reason behind launching a tequila. We wanted everyone to be able to drink it, and not be exclusive."
The tequila is priced to move at $45–$55, garners favorable reviews and is now sold in over 20 countries. Clooney will next be seen in Suburbicon, a crime comedy that also stars his buddy Matt Damon. His name will also appear in the producing credits of 2018's Ocean's 8, which began filming last year.
Which celebrity would you most like to share a drink with?