Casamigos - George Clooney & Rande Gerber
Brought to you by those who drink it. Casamigos was founded by longtime friends George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Michael Meldman. Tequila-filled nights with friends is how Casamigos was born. Their idea was to make the best-tasting, smoothest tequila whose taste didn’t have to be covered up with salt or lime. So they did.
Launched in 2013, Casamigos is the most successful and fastest growing ultra-premium tequila in the country. Available in Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and Mezcal, Casamigos was acquired by Diageo in 2017 for $1 Billion. It has picked up numerous gold medal awards at spirits competitions and has garnered the highest accolades from the spirit industry’s most well-respected authority figures. The brand was also recently named the Tequila Brand Champion of 2021 by The Spirits Business.
We caught up with co-founder Rande Gerber to discuss the brand’s success, blazing the trail for other tequila brands and what leadership means to him.
What is your trick to selling 2 million cases in 2021 alone?
We really haven’t changed our philosophy, number one it’s about the product. We have a great tequila and people understand the differences in that. And when you start with that, your job becomes a bit easier. So many people are drinking it, more and more every day and they spread the word. A lot of those customers who were drinking vodka, whiskey, gin and other liquors are now drinking Casamigos. You can’t have a product that’s only a little bit better than others, because then people will go back to what they know. That’s why you have to create a product that’s much better than others, that really stands out. That’s the true secret to success.
Can you explain the term DEPLETION and why it’s so important in the spirits industry?
The success of Casamigos was due to people ordering it once, loving it and people ordering it again. Depletions are all about that. The fact is, if it’s not a great product then they’re not going to order it again, so the product just sits on the shelf and does not get depleted. Our depletions are 100% and we have trouble keeping up with the demand. We are constantly playing catch up.
What made Casamigos the fastest growing tequila company?
Success isn’t always defined by profit. I believe the success that we’ve created for Casamigos has been changing the perception of tequila. When we created it, we wanted something that was very different from every other tequila, something with no burn. The perfect tasting, smoothest tequila that we made for us to drink and share with friends.
The fact is that if you don’t have a good product, it’s not going to work. Some brands attempt to fool the customer with big marketing campaigns, made up stories and fancy bottles. For Casamigos, it has always been about what’s inside the bottle.
Does the success of Casamigos today surprise you or was it exactly what you had envisioned?
I knew we had something really special and different. I’m just happy people love it as much as we do.
What is your greatest accomplishment with Casamigos?
For the past few years, my team has not been able to get together in person in the office or for those really fun outings we usually do a few times a year. I’m most proud of keeping everyone as enthusiastic and involved as they were from the beginning throughout this whole pandemic. Even though we aren’t in the office together, the growth of the company has never been greater. Every year we increase at least 100%, and it’s nice to see the that my team remains as excited now as since the day I hired them.
What is your leadership style?
To create harmony between each team member which in turn reveals the group maximum and full potential. And success unshared is failure in my eyes. Without a great team we would never be in the position we are today. I like to train people well enough so they can leave but treat them well enough, so they don’t want to leave. Most of the people I hire have no experience in the spirits industry and have been with me since day one.
Some say that you are the secret sauce behind the creative of Casamigos, explain your strategy?
I don’t follow any rules. I have this innate sense of what feels right and looks right. I’m not sure where it comes from but it just comes to me. I’m also always open to hearing others’ opinions and collaborate on ideas. I am a creative person that gets bored easily and can’t just sit and watch things happen. I love to make it happen.
What are your thoughts on other celebrities trying to get into the spirits industry?
We launched Casamigos back in 2013. It was not a celebrity tequila. My friend George just happened to be an actor but it was born out of our desire to drink the best tasting, smoothest tequila with our friends. I’m proud that we helped grow the tequila category to what it is today, and I wish everyone a lot of luck. Many will learn that it takes time, dedication, and authenticity and most of all a great product such as Casamigos to succeed.