Why Are There So Many Celebrity Tequila Brands Anyway?

Celebrity endorsements for alcoholic drinks are nothing new, but even casual observers can sense that the wave of celebrity tequila brands represents something original. For decades past, a celebrity alcohol usually meant the endorsement of an existing product. Whether it was a classic icon like Sean Connery sipping a Jim Beam, or a modern star like Snoop Dogg drinking a Corona on the beach. But recently there has been a clear shift. Stars aren't just making ads for alcohol anymore; there are now dozens of alcohol and spirits brands actually owned by celebrities. And while a few like Ryan Reynolds may hawk gin or vodka, the undisputed king of celebrity spirits is tequila. The list of celebs with tequila brands runs the gamut from LeBron James, George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, to Kendall Jenner, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Guy Fieri. This begs the questions: Why now? And why tequila?

The why now becomes clear when you look at the first big celebrity tequila success, George Clooney's Casamigos. Founded in 2013, it wasn't the first celebrity tequila, but only four years later it sold for $1 billion, split between Clooney and two other founders. Movie and TV paydays can be huge, but not that huge. And in an era when the personal brands of celebrities are more carefully curated — and when the stars themselves desire autonomy and stability in a career that can rise and fall on a whim — the appeal of owning a more traditional business with a more stable cash flow is high.

Tequila business is booming and easy to start up

So celebrities want stable businesses, and it turns out tequila is one of the best opportunities right now. The popularity of tequila has been soaring for years, with a 46% increase in sales in 2020 alone. This has put tequila on track to surpass vodka as the most popular liquor in the U.S. At the same time, a tequila business is relatively quick to get off the ground compared to other spirits. The agave drink is aged for a much shorter period than other liquors like whiskey and rum, making it attractive to investors who want to jump into a new industry. For some that investment really pays off; consider Dwayne Johnson's Teremana Tequila surpassing 1 million cases sold in 2023.

Furthermore, there's a clear cultural element. Tequila is considered a cool, young drink, something very attractive to youth-obsessed celebrities. California is the number one tequila market in the United States, and the food scene in the celeb capital of LA is deeply influenced by the region's large Mexican population. Tequila feels like the city's native spirit. And that would influence celebrities' personal drinking habits, with many like Clooney or Villa One Tequila owner Nick Jonas just being fans of the liquor and wanting to create something they personally like. While most of us will never own a tequila brand, in the end a lot of celebrities are motivated by the same things we are: making money and doing something we enjoy.