George Clooney and co-owners Rande Gerber and Michael (Mike) Meldman are selling their tequila company Casamigos to Diageo for as much as $1 billion, the company said Wednesday.
“If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes,” Clooney told media.
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“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.”
Diageo said it will initially pay $700 million, with the potential for another $300 million based on the tequila’s performance over 10 years reflecting the brand’s exceptional growth trajectory and upside potential,” reads the release. The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2017.
The idea was born in 2013, by accident, when Clooney and Gerber bought vacation properties in Mexico. They would drink a lot of tequila but not the one they really loved. At one point George turned to Gerber and said, ‘Why don’t we create one that’s perfect for us?'”
The BFF spent two years meeting with distillers and tried 700 samples of tequila until they found the one they could say: this spirit is super smooth, we could drink all day long, we didn’t have a burning aftertaste or leave us feeling hungover. Perfect.
Since they produced the best tequila only for their consumption, the company started when they ordered about 1,000 bottles a year. The distillery told them that they would need to have the drink licensed. At this point, Meldman joined the team. The rest is short history.
Within four years Casamigos is sold in 20 countries including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.
“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.” Gerber says he and Clooney still taste every batch.
Rande Gerber is a Jewish-American businessman. He founded nightlife companies Midnight Oil and the Gerber Group with restaurants, bars, and lounges worldwide. In 2014, he founded Gerber Spirits.
Gerber married to model Cindy Crawford. They have two children, son, and a daughter both are professional models.
Michael (Mike) Meldman is a Jewish Real Estate tycoon and is a fun guy and considers as a Party Boy.
He founded Discovery Land Co., based in Scottsdale, Ariz., with 18 private resorts in exclusive vacation destinations including The Yellowstone Club, a 13,600 acres (55 km) private residential community in Big Sky, Montana. According to the company, sales in 2015 exceeded $1 billion.