George Clooney's tequila brand sold for $1 billion

"We'll still be very much a part of Casamigos," said the actor. "Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two."

George Clooney's tequila brand sold for $1 billion

Picture by: Jordan Strauss/AP/Press Association Images

A tequila company George Clooney "accidentally" started with a friend has been bought for up to $1 billion. 

Drinks giant Diageo confirmed that it had purchased Casamigos Tequila – which translates as "House of Friends – on Wednesday.

It will pay an initial $700m later this year, with a further $300m following based on its performance over a decade.

The actor and filmmaker initially got into the tequila game by creating private collections with Rande Gerber for their friends and family.

The label was forced to go public when they were required to get a licence in 2013, with real estate tycoon Michael Meldman coming onboard as a co-owner.

By last November, nightlife entrepreneur Gerber (pictured above right with Clooney) was telling CNBC that it was "the fastest-growing ultra-premium tequila in the country."

Clooney, however, admitted to the news channel this week that he never expected the "hobby" to take off in such a stratospheric way.

 

"If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don't think we would have said yes," Clooney told CNBC via email. "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."

While the two-time Academy award winner has admitted to drinking "too much" at times in the past, his craving for the perfect tequila seems to have served him well this time – Forbes reports that Clooney could earn up to $230m pretax from the initial purchase, with another $100m potentially coming down the tracks.

Diegeo said that Casamigos "has delivered impressive growth, reaching 120,000 cases in 2016, primarily in the US."

It is expecting the brand to top 170,000 cases by the end of 2017, with Diageo's sights set on international expansion.