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EXCLUSIVE: Sidney Frank Importing Named U.S. Importer For Casamigos Tequila

March 20, 2014

Sidney Frank Importing Co. has won exclusive import rights to Casamigos, the upscale Tequila brand owned by actor George Clooney, nightlife entrepreneur Rande Gerber and real estate mogul Mike Meldman. The agreement, effective April 1, covers marketing and distribution of Casamigos in the U.S. and the Caribbean. The brand’s portfolio currently includes a Reposado ($49.99) and Blanco ($44.99). An Anejo is slated for release this year.

Casamigos was inspired by the three owners’ desire for a Tequila that fit their style—a liquid with warmth and richness, best sipped neat or on the rocks, without salt or lime. After finding no Tequilas that met their standard, a few years ago the partners began working with a master distiller in Jalisco, Mexico to develop their own Tequila. More than 700 tastings later, Casamigos was born. The product initially was intended for private enjoyment at the owners’ homes in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. But after receiving a flood of raves and bottle requests from friends, a year ago they brought the product to market, initially in partnership with Serralles USA.

In this exclusive interview, Sidney Frank CEO Lee Einsidler talks about the new agreement and future prospects for the Casamigos brand.

SND: How did you first interact with the brand owners, and what did they like about Sidney Frank Importing Co.?

EINSIDLER: We have a well-documented history of building ultra-premium brands, and I guess our reputation preceded us. The owners asked if we would be interested in meeting with them. We did just that, and things evolved from there. There was a lot of chemistry and mutual respect from the very beginning. And earlier this week, all three owners attended the Sidney Frank Importing national sales meeting and celebrated the deal with bottles of Casamigos.

SND: What’s the vision for Casamigos? Where do you see this brand in five years?

EINSIDLER: Our vision is simple. Casamigos should become the number-one selling ultra-premium Tequila in the nation. There’s no reason to expect less. The product and package are fabulous, the ownership group is unlike anything our industry has seen before, and our company has a proven history of building ultra-premium, world-class brands.

SND: How is distribution? Is there more focus on-premise than off-premise?

EINSIDLER: The brand currently has spotty distribution in both on- and off-premise. But we believe that any on- or off-premise account offering ultra-premium Tequilas will want to have Casamigos. Expect it to gain prominent positioning throughout the entire marketplace.

SND: The Tequila market is highly competitive. How will you establish an identity and carve out a meaningful position? Won’t it take a large advertising investment? How much will you spend?

EINSIDLER: Sampling will be key. Once people try it, they love it. Public relations will also play a large role, given the ownership group. It’s important to understand that the owners don’t view this as a commercial venture. Casamigos is truly part of their everyday lifestyle. For the immediate future, ramping up availability will be important as people are asking for it. I’m sure that advertising will have a role to play at some point, but not immediately.

SND: What about the product? How will it be differentiated, taste-wise, from other high-end Tequilas?

EINSIDLER: Casamigos is a small-batch Tequila made from the finest 100% Blue Weber agaves grown in Mexico’s Jalisco Highlands for at least seven years. The Blanco is crisp and clear, with subtle hints of vanilla and spice. The Reposado is mellow and ultra-smooth, with hints of caramel. The Anejo, to be released soon, is luscious and complex. All three Tequilas have no burn whatsoever. They’re best enjoyed neat or on the rocks without salt or lime—just as Clooney, Gerber and Meldman intended.

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