The tequila company co-founded by Hollywood star George Clooney has been sold to British drinks firm Diageo in deal worth up to $1 billion, it has been reported.

Diageo, the company that owns high-profile brands like Smirnoff, Baileys, Guinness and Johnnie Walker, announced on Wednesday (June 21st) that it would be purchasing Casamigos, a deluxe brand of tequila created four years ago by Clooney along with Cindy Crawford’s husband Rande Gerber and property developer Mike Meldman.

George ClooneyGeorge Clooney's tequila brand Casamigos is being sold for up to $1 billion

The company will be paying $700 million upfront, with a possible future $300 million depending on sales going forward. Retailing from £48 per bottle, Casamigos is said to be the fastest-growing super-premium tequila brand in the United States, with 170,000 cases expected to be sold over the next 12 months.

“If you asked us four years ago if we had a $1bn company, I don’t think we would have said yes,” Clooney said in a statement. “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.”

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The emergence of premium-brand tequilas such as Clooney’s over the last half-decade has helped shake off the reputation of tequila as a mass-consumption party drink for young people.

The actor’s business partner Gerber added: “What started from a friendship and an idea to create the best tasting, smoothest tequila as our own house tequila to drink and share with friends, has quickly turned into the fastest-growing super-premium tequila. Casamigos has always been brought to you by those who drink it and we look forward to continuing that, working alongside the expertise and global reach of Diageo.”

Ivan Menezes, the CEO of Diageo, said they planned to “expand the reach of Casamigos to markets beyond the US to capitalise on the significant international potential of the brand”.

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