George Clooney sells his tequila company to Diageo for US$1 billion

A tequila company co-founded by George Clooney has been sold to UK drinks firm Diageo for up to $1bn (£790m). The company behind Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Baileys announced it would buy Casamigos, created four years ago by the American actor, together with Cindy Crawford’s husband Rande Gerber and property developer Mike Meldman. Diageo said it was the fastest-growing super-premium tequila brand in the US.

The founders will continue to promote Casamigos, which is Spanish for “house of friends”. The firm sold 120,000 9-litre cases last year, mainly in the US, and is expected to reach more than 170,000 this year. The tequila comes in three premium varieties, priced at $45-55 a bottle.

“If you asked us four years ago if we had a $1bn company, I don’t think we would have said yes,” Clooney said in a statement. “This reflects Diageo’s belief in our company and our belief in Diageo. But we’re not going anywhere. We’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two.”

George Clooney and Rande Gerber with Casamigos tequila producers