George Clooney is coming for your mezcal
In this interview with Gotham Magazine, Rande Berber, George Clooney’s business partner in Casamigos Tequila, mentions that they’re launching a mezcal label. He doesn’t offer many specifics, just this exchange:
You recently sold your company for around $1 billion. Kudos. But you are actively still a participant. What does that look like?
RG: It’s business as usual. All of us are 100 percent committed. I’m in the office every day and participate in each creative decision for the company. I’m incredibly detail-oriented, and everything we do comes from our Malibu, Calif., office to develop innovative marketing. Mike’s properties have great levels of detail in everything they do too, and Casamigos is an extension of that lifestyle.
Are the three of you equally as passionate about this new mezcal as you are about the tequila?
RG: [Yes.] Our mezcal was brought to us by a family that has made it for five generations. It’s extremely smooth, small-batch, with the perfect smokiness and easy to drink.
Gerber and Clooney sold Casamigos to Diageo for up to $1 billion dollars just last June, an incredible investment return for a four year old tequila. Earlier in the year Diageo signed a distribution agreement with Mezcal Union which was the start of an incredible year of mergers, acquisitions, and expansion agreements in the agave space. Per my count there was Bacardi and Ilegal Mezcal, Pernot-Ricard and Del Maguey, Sombra and Davos, Pernot-Ricard and Avion, and the monster of them all, Bacardi and Patron. Billions of dollars in the agave spirits space in just a single calendar year. If anyone needed a better demonstration of the gold rush in mezcal country last year was it. What’s next?
Perhaps coincidentally the New York Times had a Style profile of Gerber’s in demand model daughter yesterday that also mentions how he and Clooney built the Casamigos brand
But their real talent lay not so much in tequila making as it did in viral marketing and not-so-subtle celebrity branding. The tequila was unveiled in 2013 with a funny online video featuring Ms. Crawford sharing a bed with Mr. Clooney that got lots of free airtime. Somehow, Casamigos’s agave-shaped logo also found its way into countless paparazzi shots of Mr. Clooney and Ms. Crawford going to the chiropractor or running errands, as if by serendipity.
That may be a preview of what they bring to mezcal.