Why George Strait Is Singing Praise for Tequila

Why George Strait Is Singing Praise for Tequila

Country singer George Strait is an investor in Cdigo tequila.

Tequila is such a hot liquor that two famous Georges have become investors. Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney inked abig deal last weekwith Diageo. But country singer George Straits investment in a small craft brand is lesser known.

The Grammy Award winner is publicly backing Cdigo, an ultra-premium priced tequila that was consumed privately by a small group of Mexican families (and family friends like Strait) before becoming commercially available last year in several markets including Texas, California, and New York. The plan is to expand Cdigo to even more markets globally, by selling consumers on traditional tequila expressions like Blanco and Reposado as well as a ros tequila thats inspired bystrong sales for that wine category. (Ros tequila gets color and a slightly floral palate from being aged in Cabernet barrels from Napa Valley.)

Im an investor because I believe in the product, Strait toldFortunein an interview. I think it is the best tequila.

The 65-year-old admits that until about a decade ago, he wasnt too familiar with tequila and didnt drink much of it until he started vacationing more frequently in Mexico. Thats when he discovered what more Americans are realizing about the liquor: it isnt just about having a quick shot.

Back in the days when my friends and I drank tequila, it was always Lets do a shot! Bring out those limes and the salt and we would want to get the taste out of our mouths as fast as we could, says Strait. This tequila isnt like that. I wouldnt think of sucking on a lime after I drank Cdigo.

That shift in how Strait enjoys tequila reflects a broader trend in tequila. AsFortunereportedin 2015, producers like Don Julio and Patron have helped elevate the category by focusing on producing higher-quality spirits. Prices rose along with the increased investment on raw materials. Much of the sales growth for tequila today comes from the highest priced bottles, spirits that are increasingly used in fancy cocktails or consumed neat.

Cdigos slate of tequilas are priced between $49 and $299 a bottle. The company says the liquid comes from agave that Cdigo claims is sourced from superior plants and also doesnt use chemicals or additives at any point during the distillation process. The brand also ages the tequila in wine barrels (most tequilas use bourbon casks) to end up with flavor notes that differ from the rest of the category.

Strait is among a growing list of celebrities that have publicly talked about their investments in tequila, a Mexican import that has posted volume growth of 121% since 2002. The investments are almost always for pricing spirits. Singer Justin Timberlake launched Sauza 901 with Beam Suntory, rapper and entrepreneur Sean Diddy Combs backs DeLen Tequila, and most famously, liquor giant Diageo agreed to payup to $1 billionto acquire the fast-growing tequila brand Casamigos, which was backed by Clooney. Cdigos famous investors also include retired NHL star Brett Hull and former NFL coach Mike Shanahan.

Strait says Cdigos Añejo expression is his favorite and he prefers to drink his tequila either on the rocks or chilled. He says his goal as investor is to use his public platform to ensure the brand can be a success. Beyond his own financial interest in the company, Strait says hes also good friends with the brands founders Federico Vaughan and Ron Snyder.

But dont count on Strait to give up his primary gig. Im not looking for another job, I still have a job, Strait says with a laugh. Were just having fun with it.

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