Star George Clooney is selling Casamigos, a tequila company he owns with partners Mike Meldman and Rande Gerber, in a deal that may be worth $1 billion.
Diageo, a spirits company based in Britain, has agreed to purchase the company for $700 million, “with the potential for another $300 million based on the tequila’s performance over 10 years,” CNBC reports.
The sale is expected to close this year.
“If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes,” Clooney said in an email to CNBC. “This reflects Diageo’s belief in our company and our believe 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.”
Casamigos began as a private label company for Clooney, Meldman and Gerber. Meldman is a real estate mogul who founded the Discovery Land Company, while Gerber is a veteran in the nightlife industry.
The three partners made Casamigo tequila available to the public in 2013. Three years later, the company was producing 120,000 cases. In 2017, Casamigos is on track to produce 170,000 cases.
Clooney and Gerber did not set out to make money with the launch of Casamigos. The long-time friends came up with the idea to make their own tequila while building their side-by-side vacation homes in Mexico.
“As you do when you’re in Mexico, you drink a lot of tequila,” said Gerber. “After a couple of months trying a lot of different tequilas, George turned to me and said, ‘Why don’t we just make our own? One that’s perfect for us to drink.'”
The duo brought Michael Meldman onto the project, and Casamigos was born.
The group found a distiller in Jalisco, Mexico, and explained what they wanted. After months of tastings and going back-and-forth with the distiller, they finally found the perfect tequila.
“George opened the sample, poured one for me, poured one for him, and we tasted it. We both looked at each other, had another taste of it, and we were like, ‘This is it. It’s perfect,'” said Gerber.