George Clooney created a tequila company on a whim, and now it’s being sold to Diageo for up to $1 billion, CNBC reported Wednesday.
The idea behind Casamigos, the brainchild of Clooney and his two friends Rande Gerber, who is Cindy Crawford’s husband, and Michael Meldman, was born when Clooney and Gerber bought neighboring properties in Mexico and got into drinking tequila -so much so that they decided to create their own, Clooney told CNBC in 2016.
“Casamigos really started by accident as far as a company,” Gerber told Business Insider in an interview in March. “As you do in Mexico, we would drink a lot of tequila. We’d go out to bars and restaurants, and bartenders would recommend them. Some were good, some not so good, and some expensive. There came a point where George turned to me and said, ‘Why don’t we create one that’s perfect for us?'”
Gerber and Clooney spent two years meeting with distillers and tried 700 samples of tequila until they found the perfect recipe. They wanted to find one they could drink all day long that didn’t have a burning aftertaste or leave them feeling hungover.
Initially, the spirit was made only for their consumption, but when the duo started ordering about 1,000 bottles a year, the distillery told them that they would need to have the drink licensed.
Meldman then joined the team, and they found a distributor in the US. In 2013, they launched the company and made the drink available to the public. Gerber stressed that they wanted to keep it affordable.
“George doesn’t need the money. I didn’t need it. Mike didn’t need it,” he told Business Insider. “It wasn’t the reason behind launching a tequila. We wanted everyone to be able to drink it, and not be exclusive.”
A 750-milliliter bottle now costs between $45 and $55.
It became one of the fastest-growing tequila brands, doubling its volume between 2014 and 2015, according to Ad Age. It is now sold in 20 countries – including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica – but Gerber says he and Clooney still taste every batch.
Reviews on Distiller.com give the drink a high rating and praise for its smooth texture.