Whether you thank George Clooney for his major role in helping launch the A-list tequila trend, or curse him with its creation, the fact of the matter is that celebrity-backed tequila is here to stay. Casamigos, which Clooney and his business partner, Rande Gerber, debuted in 2013, opened the door to a new luxury market, and over the years, tons of other celebs have found their own niche brands, eager to diversify their portfolios and capitalize on the lucrative success of celebrity-backed tequila brands.
Gerber and Clooney further proved that the booze business could be hugely profitable; in 2017, the duo sold Casamigos to Diageo for a staggering $1 billion, solidifying the standing of celebrity-backed tequila. That celeb pool has only broadened over the years, and it’s not just A-list actors eager to get involved in the tequila sector. Everyone from musicians like Nick Jonas and Metallica to former NBA star LeBron James, and even a famously spiky-haired chef, are getting in on the action.
All of these famous faces jumping into the rapidly expanding (and financially rewarding) tequila industry have continued to raise the profile of the humble agave spirit. It seems like more high-end, super-premium, celeb-endorsed bottles are released every single year, and the trend is only growing. By 2022, more than 60 percent of spirits revenue came from super-premium spirits, with total sales from tequila and American whiskey leading in that category, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. That growth means that some bottles will, undoubtedly, be better than others. See below for a guide on which ones to try.
While George Clooney and Rande Gerber may not be quite as involved with Casamigos now as they were when they first launched the brand, they certainly left their mark. Casamigos is still one of the highest-quality celebrity tequilas out there, and the line has since expanded to include not just blanco and reposado, but also añejo, cristalino and even a mezcal. While all of these expressions can be sipped, the blanco and reposado make for a great top-shelf margarita or tequila-based cocktail.
Rosé wine is as popular as ever, but what about rosé tequila? Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo founded Calirosa tequila in 2021, after falling in love with the pink spirit on trips to Mexico. It’s produced by the Real family, a third-generation tequila producer who have been making the spirit in Amatitán, Jalisco since 1942. The rosé tequila, also called “rosa” or “rosado,” gets its signature color from a brief resting period of just a few weeks in California wine casks that formerly held cabernet sauvignon. The lingering tannins from the oak and wine mellow the spirit, and offer gentle notes of strawberry and honey with a light finish. The reposado, añejo and extra añejo iterations receive more resting time in those barrels, and those smooth versions are just as easy to drink as the original pink expression.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s tequila brand is just like the actor himself: clean, lean and consciously made to be exceptional. Leftover agave fibers are repurposed into compost while the waste
Kendall Jenner named this tequila after the area code of her Los Angeles hometown, Calabasas. The brand launched in 2021 to massive sales, going viral almost immediately. 818 Tequila is made in Jalisco, Mexico, using agave from family-owned farms, with a focus on sustainability and transparency. Jenner features heavily on the branding (what else would you expect of the Kardashian-Jenner family?), which has surely contributed to 818 Tequila’s success and popularity.
Actress Eva Longoria’s Casa Del Sol is a love letter to her Mexican roots. The company is entirely Mexican-owned, and puts quality first. It’s made from 100 percent blue weber agave, harvested from a particularly rich and fertile part of the highlands of Jalisco. Even the label is a sign of respect, with an image that represents Mayahuel, the Aztec goddess of agave and fertility. The tequila is aged in French oak barrels, and the result is a rich yet complex spirit, with tons of toasted oak, raisin and notes of apricot and vanilla.
Tequila has never been more rock and roll, thanks to the pairing of two legends: singer and guitarist Sammy Hagar and chef Guy Fieri. The tequila is produced at Tequila El Viejito Tototlan, Jalisco, by Juan Eduardo Nuñez, a third-generation master distiller who is renowned for his quality spirits. The blanco tequila is made from 100 percent blue weber agave and harvested from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico; Hagar and Fieri call it “a higher spirit.” That spirit is apparent in the overall smoothness with layers of white pepper, citrus and a hint of floral notes.
LeBron James famously first tasted Lobos 1707 while vacationing on a yacht in the Mediterranean. The quality and flavor of the spirit, which is made using 100 percent blue weber agave, sourced from Los Altos de Jalisco in Mexico, clearly made an impression on James, because after returning to land, the NBA star quickly jumped in as an investor. Founded by Diego Osorio, whose family has been making tequila since the 16th century, and CEO Dia Simms, the Lobos 1707 is a joven, which consists of blanco tequila blended with their Lobos Reposado. This results in a golden hue and complexity, and it is then aged in American white oak barrels, followed by a resting in Spanish Pedro Ximinez sherry casks. All of this adds rich fruit and a light, peppery finish.
Music, fashion and the business of tequila all come together thanks to this partnership between musician Nick Jonas and designer John Varvatos. The story goes that the two initially bonded over their mutual love of music, fashion and tequila while attending a dinner party. They subsequently decided to launch Villa One, and brought in master distiller Arturo Fuentes (often referred to as the “Godfather of tequila”) as their head distiller. The brand uses agaves that have been harvested from both the highlands and lowlands of Jalisco, and the results are a dream. Villa One makes a blanco that’s perfect for mixing, while the reposado and añejo, with hints of banana and vanilla, are great for leisurely sipping.
What do PGA golfer Abraham Ancer and entrepreneur Aron Marquez have in common? The tenacity to convince actor Mark Wahlberg to invest in their tequila, even after an initial rejection. These days, Flecha Azul is a thriving brand in the premium tequila market. Expressions come in blanco, reposado, cristalino, añejo and even an extra añejo. The aged spirits have notes of spice and praline, while the cristalino, an aged and triple-filtered añejo, finishes lighter, but with a built-in complexity.