10 celebrities who have launched Tequila brands
Everyone from The Rock to the Backstreet Boys is jumping on the Tequila bandwagon.
It’s an oddly specific trend. At the moment, there are an increasing number of famous people launching tequila or mezcal products. So much so that there’s currently an agave shortage.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is only the latest celeb to try his hand at Tequila. Diageo bought George Clooney’s Tequila brand Casamigos last year, which is thought to be worth $1 billion. Multiple celebrity-backed tequilas are gold medal winners. For most stars-turned-distillers, this is clearly something more than a vanity project.
We round up ten of the rappers, rockers and film stars who are trying their hand at Tequila.
1. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – Mana
In his downtime between battling giant flying wolves in Rampage and his jungle-based antics in Jumanji, The Rock has somehow found time to launch a Tequila brand.
Last week, his current manager and ex-wife Dany Garcia submitted a trademark application for a new Tequila company.
It’s called Mana, which in his native Polynesian culture means a supernatural, spiritual essence in human, animals and objects. Here’s hoping his Tequila is an equally potent spirit.
2. Backstreet Boys – Unknown
Stranger things have happened than a 90s boy band casually dropping into conversation that they’re looking to launch a new Tequila. Maybe.
The boys, who share a passion for Tequila, dropped the news in an interview with food and drink website Tasting Table last month. They’re still looking for a partner in Mexico, so there may be a wait before their Tequila arrives in our shot glasses.
3. E-40 – E. Cuarenta
With a name that sounds like a food additive, rapper E-40 (born Earl Stevens) has already launched a range of wines and a ready-made rum-based cocktail.
Yet, naturally, he has jumped on the Tequila bandwagon in time for Cinco del Mayo this year. Announcing the new product in February, E. Cuarenta means E-40 in Spanish.
4. Adam Levine and Sammy Hagar – Santo Mezquila
Price: From $55 (£39)
This Tequila offers two celebrity founders for the price of one. Hagar is the Van Halen singer hired to replace David Lee Roth. Levine is the Maroon 5 frontman with the moves like Jagger.
Together they have created mezquila – a cross between Tequila and mezcal. Mezcal, Tequila’s bold-flavoured cousin, is also made from agave, but unlike Tequila it’s not restricted to blue agave and can be made anywhere in Mexico, not just in Jalisco.
Hagar and Levine couldn’t agree whether to make Tequila or mezcal, so compromised by mixing the two together and discovered they actually liked the taste. Santo Mezquila is the first product to blend Tequila and mezcal in this way.
5) AC/DC – Thunderstruck Tequila
Price: From $30 (£21)
Ageing rockers AC DC are surprisingly big in the drinks industry, having released wine, beer, and a bourbon and cola RTD in the past.
In 2016 they released silver, reposado and Añejo variants of Thunderstruck Tequila, presumably named after their 1990 hit single.
6) George Clooney – Casamigos
Price: From £51
Clooney founded the Casamigos brand with his friend Rande Gerber, husband to supermodel Cindy Crawford, and property developer Mike Meldman. After buying adjacent houses in Mexico, the trio went on a Tequila odyssey to create a spirit that was smooth and hangover-free.
For two years, Casamigos was drunk exclusively by Clooney and Gerber’s friends and family. However, since they managed to get through 1,000s bottles of the stuff each year, they were forced to get a license for the product and sold it to the public in 2013.
Now Casamigos is sold by 20 countries and was recently bought for $1bn (£79m) by Diageo, and we weigh up the wisdom of that valuation here.
7) Toby Keith – Wild Shot Mezcal
Price: $40 (£28)
The American country singer opted for mezcal with his foray into the tequila craze. Each bottle comes complete with a small worm, which Keith insists must be ingested.
Keith has written about Mexico in his songs, and was keen to bring mezcal to a wider audience. He said at the time: “The history of mezcal is magical to me. It dates back to the 16th Century: warriors celebrating the defeat of their enemies. It is part of my life.”
8) Justin Timberlake – Sauza 901
Price: From £18
Timberlake has had a hit-or-miss relationship with acting, but his greatest role is surely Rick “Sour” Vane, a washed-up lime in a TV commercial for his Suaza 901 Tequila.
Launched in 2009, Timberlake worked with the Tequila Newton Brewery distillery and Beam Inc. to perfect his entry into the celeb Tequila industry.
Timberlake is an entrepreneurial jack-of-all-trades: he has his own clothing brand and is part owner of an audio tech company.
You can see the Timberlake-as-lime ad (which is highly recommended) here.
9) P Diddy – DeLeón
Price: From £49.99
The US rapper variously known as Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy and Sean Combs bought 50% of premium Tequila brand DeLeón in 2014. The other half remains with Diageo.
Before DeLeón, Combs was the face of Diageo’s Cîroc vodka and helped increase sales 40-fold. When he bought up half of the DeLeón brand, he told The Guardian: “With Cîroc, we dated. Now with DeLeón, we’re married”.
With Combs easily topping Forbes’ list of the highest paid musicians, it’s reasonable to believe that DeLeón is doing quite well. Combs’ Sean John clothing line and musical career may have helped a bit too though.
10) Carlos Santana – Casa Noble
Price: From £40
Santana, who hails from Jalesco, does have some sort of connection to Tequila, which is more than can be said for many of the celebrities producing it. Sanatana became part owner of the Case Noble brand in 2011.
Santana said when the partnership was announced: “When I visited the distillery, I immediately felt spiritually connected to the Hermosillo family [who founded and still run the distillery] and Casa Noble.”
The triple-distilled Tequila has won gold at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition in 2007 and 2008.