Is Clooney Selling at the Top?
George Clooney and a couple friends, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman just sold their Casamigos tequila brand for $1 billion to booze giant Diageo. The New York Times reports,
Per company lore, the two friends [Clooney and Gerber] spent many a night conducting tequila “research” at their Casamigos vacation compound on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico.
What began as their house spirit went commercial in January 2013 when the two were told that, given how much tequila they were having produced, they would need a commercial license.
Diageo is paying $700 million right away, and if sales goals are met, $300 million later. The company moved 120,000 cases last year so the purchase price is an astronomical $694.44 per bottle. It’s thought 170,000 cases will be sold this year.
Tequila sales jumped 7.4% last year and high-end brands did especially well, “rising 292 percent from 2002 to 2016 and ‘super-premium’ brands climbing 706 percent during that period,” writes Michael J. de la Merced.
It’s assumed Clooney and Gerber will stay on for marketing purposes. “We’re not going anywhere,” Clooney said, no doubt with a smile. “We’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two.”
While Clooney and Co. cash in, Salon reports, “The legal weed market appears to be impacting booze’s bottom line.” Significant numbers of Millennials, Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers are switching from liquor to weed as it becomes legal.
“In Denver, arguably the epicenter for the marijuana retail sales market, beer sales have fallen nearly seven percent, analysts concluded.” Not to mention Coors is brewed right up the road.
According to Cannabiz Consumer Group research, “Twenty-seven percent (27%) of beer drinkers state that they already have substituted cannabis for beer, or would substitute their beer retail purchases with cannabis in the future if legal. Other segments of the alcohol industry including wine and spirits and on-premise sales are also being impacted as are other CPG categories, brands, and retailers.”
Vivien Azer, Cowen and Company’s managing director, told Brewbound. “This is perhaps not surprising, given that U.S. government data for the states of CO, WA and OR all show consistent growth in cannabis incidence among 18-25 year olds, coupled with declines in alcohol incidence.”
Today’s young drinkers and tokers are the next generation with serious money to escape with substances. There’s a reason George wanted most of his money up front. He's betting the plant of the future is marijuana, not agave.