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How George Clooney accidentally started a billion-dollar tequila company


The Casamigos co-founders (from left to right): Michael Meldman, George Clooney, and Rande Gerber.

Source: Casamigos Tequila

The Casamigos co-founders (from left to right): Michael Meldman, George Clooney, and Rande Gerber.

After months of back-and-forth with the distiller, and tasting and developing their tequila, the duo found the perfect product, Gerber recalls: “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.'”

Casamigos, which loosely translates to “house of friends,” was never meant for the public. For two years, it was served exclusively among Gerber and Clooney’s friends and family.

“It was just for us,” Gerber says. “We didn’t really want to be in the business. We figured, George is an actor and a director. I own restaurants and bars and wasn’t looking to get in another business.

“But then the distiller called and said, ‘Hey guys, we have a little problem: In the past two years, we’ve been sending you about a thousand bottles a year. Either you’re selling it or you’re drinking way too much — either way, we can’t keep calling it samples. You guys have to get licensed and do this right.'”

The celebrity entrepreneurs, who brought Casamigos to the public in 2013, figured they didn’t have a choice. “We wanted to keep drinking it,” Gerber says.

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