What do two best friends do when they share a profound love for tequila and Cabo San Lucas? They launch a sexy, sumptuous tequila named Casamigos. Rising up the cocktail charts as the fastest growing Tequila brand, Casamigos has quickly become Miami’s go to plush potion from downtown to the beaches. And with a trademarked advertising campaign coined “It Could Happen,” celebrities are joining in on the fun, showing fans how to please drink responsibly. So we sat down with Clooney and Gerber to hear the story behind the making, their adoration for Mexico and all things heated and spiced liquor, and their plans for future to take the world’s libation industry by storm.
Rande, tell me the story of how Casamigos all began! RANDE GERBER: It was never our intention to start a tequila company. It happened six or seven years ago. George and I were building homes in Mexico. As you do in Mexico, you drink a lot of tequila. Different bartenders said we should try this one and that one and some were pretty good, some were expensive, some not so expensive. George turned to me one day and said let’s just make our own, one that’s perfect for us, a really smooth tequila that you can drink all day and night and not be hungover in the morning. So I looked into some distilleries, we met the master distillers and told them the profiles we wanted. We wanted it to be really smooth, no burn at all, which isn’t typical. We wanted to be able to sip it neat or on the rocks and not have to mix it with juices or anything else.
It took two years for our master distiller to make it perfect. We went through 700 samples, which was also fun. We did blind taste tests with all of our friends, and we finally came up with the perfect tequila. It was made for us to drink and share with all of our friends at our homes in Mexico. Cut to two years later—we got a call from our distillery saying we had a problem. They said, “Either you guys are selling this, or you’re drinking way too much. We’re sending you 1,000 bottles a year, and we can’t keep doing that and calling them samples. So you need to get licensed to sell.” After that call I asked George what he wanted to do. He said, “Let’s get licensed; if we only sell one bottle it doesn’t matter, as long as we get to keep drinking our tequila, we’re happy.” So we started the company and it took off immediately. People knew that we had something special—not your typical tequila.
What components do you love most about it? RG: We grew it drink by drink. We are a small batch ultra-premium tequila and we use old-fashioned methods which take quite a while. Besides growing the agaves from 7-10 years, we slow roast our agave piñas for 72 hours, while most others steam theirs for 7 hours, plus we have an 80-hour fermentation process compared to the average 48. We take our time, there are tricks you can do to speed up the process, that other companies might do, that we don’t because the quality of Casamigos is of the utmost importance. George and I taste every batch before it goes into the bottle and we sign every batch that is made.
George, how did you land on the Reposado flavor profile? GEORGE CLOONEY: One day Rande was inspired while talking to the guys at the distillery and said, “Why don’t we age the tequila in these old whiskey barrels?” The minute we got those samples we knew it was perfect.
What shaped the “It Could Happen” advertising campaign? RG: One night we were discussing ideas on design, names, marketing, etc., over a bottle (which we finished) and we were a bit buzzed and got a ride back to my house where George stays when he comes out to the beach. We have a guest house directly on the beach which is where he usually stays but that night he didn’t feel like walking down the steps to it, so I put him in our guest room in the main house. At about 3 am my wife Cindy noticed I wasn’t in bed and decided to walk around to see if I fell asleep in the guest room, which is where I stay when I am out late. She sees who she thinks is me face down with my clothes on and gets into bed; a minute later she realized it was George. They were both confused as George thought he had wandered into the master bedroom and Cindy thought it was me in the guest room since George stays in the beach house. Needless to say, we all laughed about it and that ended up being our first commercial. Drink Casamigos and wake up with Cindy Crawford, or as Cindy likes to say, drink Casamigos and wake up with George Clooney!
A frequent Miami visitor, where are some of your favorite hot spots? RG: We enjoy nights at Casa Tua and eating at Joe’s Stone Crab, Makoto in Bal Harbour and Jean-Georges at The EDITION.
And your favorite cocktail bar? RG: Saxony Bar at Faena, Matador Bar at The EDITION.
For our tequila connoisseurs, what recipe do you suggest? RG: We made Casamigos the way we want to drink it. Straight up and on the rocks. No salt or lime needed. It also mixes well with everything. You can’t go wrong with a Casa Margarita.
Coined the fastest growing tequila and quickly taking the beaches by storm, what are your plans next? RG: We are always thinking ahead and have some ideas in the works, but we are really proud of what we have done and are focused on the continued growth of our Tequila and sharing Casamigos Mezcal.