George Clooney has lots to toast to this year.
Following the birth of his and wife Amal Clooney's twins
earlier this month, the 56-year-old actor and his business partner, Rande Gerber, are now celebrating the sale of Casamigos Tequila
to the alcoholic beverages company Diageo in what could amount to a whopping billion dollars. The purchase price for the tequila company was $700 million with an additional $300 million to be earned depending on the performance of the product over the next 10 years.
"If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes," Clooney said in a statement to ET. "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.”
Needless to say, Gerber -- who is married to Cindy Crawford -- was also thrilled about the big sale. "We created Casamigos Tequila four years ago for us to drink personally and selling it for $1 billion is something we never could have imagined," he said in his statement to ET. "We remain committed to our brand and look forward to our future with Diageo and continuing our work with our dedicated and passionate Casamigos team."
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A source close to the company tells ET that Gerber "led a call with the entire Casamigos Tequila team to reassure them that all roles will remain the same," and also "thanked everyone for all of their hard work helping to make this possible."
As for the day-to-day operations, the source says, "Casamigos will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Diaego but will continue to operate as a stand-alone business. Rande, George and Mike will run the company as they always have."
Diageo already owns Don Julio, and Deirdre Mahlan, president of the company's North America branch, said that Casamigos will "play a complementary role alongside" their existing tequila. "I am excited by the opportunity to bring Casamigos into the Diageo portfolio which allows us to further penetrate this exciting and high growth category," she noted. "We look forward to partnering with Rande, George and Mike to realize the full potential of the brand."
Tequila has a special meaning for Clooney and Gerber,
as it was the first drink they ever shared together. "George and I met probably over 20 years ago," Gerber, 55, told ET. "He was shooting a movie in New York. I owned a bar at the time and he was coming in and we just became friends. We'd have a couple of drinks, couple of tequilas. Actually we met over tequila."
Casamigos (loosely translated to mean "House of Friends") debuted on the U.S. market in 2013, but started out as a private passion project between the friends, who were on a mission to create the perfect tequila. After two years developing it and then two additional years drinking it, Clooney and Gerber were informed they had been ordering 1,000 bottles of Casamigos a year. "They said, either you're selling it or you're drinking too much," Gerber quipped.
Here's more on the bromance that launched a billion dollar tequila brand:
Reporting by Stacie Gottsegen and Whitney Nevill.