Is Kendall Jenner's tequila the next billion-dollar Casamigos?

Patrón Tequila sees sales bump amid coronavirus

Patrón Tequila Vice President of Global Marketing Adrian Parker says liquor store sales have been up 25 percent over the past two weeks amid the coronavirus.

Kendall Jenner is keeping up with the many other Hollywood celebs vying to cash in on spirits.

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The model and reality star has launched her own 818 Tequila brand, joining a slew of stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Ryan Reynolds in looking to build the next billion-dollar spirits empire after George Clooney’s Casamigos label sold for up to $1 billion in 2017.

Kendall Jenner announced the launch of 818 Tequila, the spirits brand she’s been quietly working on for nearly four years, she said. (Edward Berthelot/Getty Images; iStock)

The 25-year-old “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star said 818 Tequila, named after the Calabasas area code, has been years in the making, and has already won global competitions, including the World Tequila Awards.

"For almost 4 years I've been on a journey to create the best-tasting tequila," Jenner wrote in an Instagram post. "[A]fter dozens of blind taste tests, trips to our distillery, entering into world tasting competitions anonymously and WINNING… 3.5 years later i think we've done it!"

She further claimed that 818 Tequila is "all we've been drinking for the last year" before revealing that her brand will be "coming soon."

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Jenner quietly entered her tequila in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge competition, one of the most acclaimed in the world, and posted a scorecard calling it “the greatest tasting tequila of 2020,” receiving a near-perfect score of 96 points in the “best Anejo tequila category," according to her Instagram post.

A judge described its tasting notes as having earthy aromas of pine and yellow fruits mixed with vanilla with sweet aromas of brown sugar, spicy cinnamon and finished with hints of roasted agave.

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More stars have set their sights on building powerhouse liquor labels after George Clooney and business partner Rande Gerber famously made headlines for selling their tequila brand Casamigos to international spirits company Diageo, the alcohol giant which owns Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, in 2017. The duo got $700 million up front and $300 million for future sales performance, putting the value of the deal at a potential $1 billion. More recently, Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin was acquired by Diageo last year for an estimated $610 million. 

Others competing in the spirits space include: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who launched Teremana Tequila in 2020 and ultimately sold 300,000 cases in the first year, according to The Spirits Business; Justin Timberlake, who launched his Sauza 901 Tequila line back in 2009; and Guy Fieri, who teamed up with rocker Sammy Hagar in 2019 for their Santo Fino Blanco tequila offering with Hagar’s Los Santo tequila portfolio. (Hagar sold a majority stake in his first tequila label, Cabo Wabo, to the Campari group for $80 million in 2012.)

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Michael Bartiromo contributed to this report.

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