Status: 01/15/2022 2:55 p.m
The tequila business is booming, Mexico is exporting more than ever, especially to the USA. Celebrities like George Clooney cash in with their own brands – which some spirits connoisseurs see critically.
“Everyone wants to make their own tequila now,” says bartender Daniella, pulling three bottles of tequila off the shelf in the small, dark bar “The North End” in Hollywood. “This is 818 – from a small farm in Calisto, Mexico. Supermodel Kendall Jenner was there and said, ‘I want to work with you guys’. And every one of her followers knows that, she has millions of them. The business is growing, it is gigantic.”
ARD-Studio Los Angeles
Clooney has been in the tequila business since 2013
Tequilas from superstars such as Kendall Jenner from the Kardashian clan, the ex-basketball player Michael Jordan or actor George Clooney are currently in great demand, many guests specifically asked for these tequilas, says Daniella while pouring an agave schnapps into the glass.
George Clooney founded his own tequila label “Casamigos” in 2013. It was a crazy idea in the truest sense of the word, he told TMZ in an interview: “We made our own tequila, it started as a gift for friends. Then my friend said, ‘we can sell it’. I thought: ‘That’s crazy’.”
Billion proceeds for “Casamigos”
Probably not that crazy after all: In 2017 Clooney sold “Casamigos” to a British beverage company for one billion US dollars.
The tequila market is booming. Last year, Mexico, where the agave schnapps can only be produced, exported more tequila than ever before. The largest buyers are the USA with 288 million liters.
Dozens of Hollywood stars jumped into the high-proof agave drink business. Not to the delight of non-celebrities like John Chappell: he is the CEO of the tequila brand “PaQui”. He doesn’t think most celebrities know how really good tequila is made.
No respect for Mexico’s culture?
“Why would you think Kendall Jenner knows anything about tequila?” asks Chappell. “Brands are about the star, not the product. I really think these are celebrity vanity projects. Like, ‘I’m famous, I make tequila, and people will drink it’.”
Chappell says many stars also don’t respect Mexican culture, they don’t bother to create something new. He thinks many celebs just stick their brand on existing products. That’s why he offers tequila training exclusively for celebrities, which he calls “re-education”.
More than $500 for some bottles
“I don’t know if anyone will call, we’re ready,” said the manager. “We don’t mean to be spiteful, but it doesn’t make sense to us: if you’re looking for an authentic product, why go to a celebrity?”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dwayne Johnson and Adam Levine are probably also about money – all celebrities who now have their own tequila brands. Their bottles cost around $30 to $40 upwards. The most expensive Anejo-quality tequilas, which have been aged for several years, cost more than US$500 per bottle.
These tequilas should not be shot down with salt and lemon, explains bartender Daniella. You have to sip it slowly, like good whiskey or cognac. She hopes that at least many Mexican farmers will benefit from the boom – and not just the celebrities.
Tequila is booming – in Mexico and the USA
Katharina Wilhelm, ARD Los Angeles, Marc Dugge ARD Mexico, 13.1.2022 12:49 p.m