It seems that owning a brand of tequila is the ultimate celebrity status symbol today. There’s Casamigos (George Clooney), Teremana (The Rock), Lobos 5 (Lebron James), Villa One (Nick Jonas), 818 (Kendall Jenner), and Casa del Sol (Eva Longoria), just to name a few. So when Michael Jordan got into the game, the GOAT set his sights on making nothing less than “the world’s finest tequila.”
In the summer of 2016, Jordan, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, Milwaukee Bucks owner Wes Edens, Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, and his wife, Emilia Fazzalari, met for dinner and they bonded over their shared passion for tequila, and the idea for Cincoro Tequila was born.
“We created our mission to make the ultimate, delicious-tasting tequila. That’s how it all started, and it’s been our North Star ever since,” Fazzalari, who is now the brand’s CEO, told Yahoo Finance.
Together, the five owners hold a staggering 35 NBA championship titles (Celtics 17, Lakers 16, Bucks 2, and Jordan’s 6 as a player) and the unique five-sided Cincoro bottle symbolizes their partnership. They work hard not to be perceived as just another celebrity brand. “We focused on the liquid. For us, it’s not about celebrities. It’s about creating an absolutely delicious tequila,” said Fazalari.
With prices ranging from $89.99 for Blanco to $125 for their best-selling Añejo, Cincoro has sold more than 1.5 million bottles in three years. This month, Cincoro will introduce a new $350 per bottle variety that is a mix of its flavors. Gold is barrel-aged for more than 40 months with notes of sweet honey, toasted oak, vanilla and dried fruit, Fazzalari said.
According to IWSR’s industry analysis, tequila sales are up 17% year-over-year and it’s poised to become the most valuable spirits category in the U.S. Fazzalari said that despite the relatively high cost, the super premium category is up 36%. “It’s actually the fastest portion of the category that’s growing. So we think Cincoro can lead the ultra-premium segment, and we think our amazing ownership group will help us break through and go global in a really big way.”
Unlike the NBA, there is plenty of room for multiple winners in the tequila game, Fazzalari said. “We are seeing consumers continue to drink higher quality spirits,” with the tequila category “expected to grow to around $15 billion by 2025.”
Numbers like that are sure to draw more big names into a space filled with celebrities, but this group welcomes competition. “For us it’s about working hard and focusing on our mission, creating a generational brand,” said Fazzalari.
So how does Michael drink it? With an orange and a big stone, he said.
David Briggs is a presenter on Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @davebriggstv
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