"But we’re not going anywhere," George Clooney says in a statement. "We’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos."
In a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday, Clooney confirmed that along with partner, real estate mogul Mike Meldman, the pair will sell the alcohol brand to the European beverage company Diageo for $1 billion.
“If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes,” says Clooney. “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.”
Diageo announced the news in a press release which reveals that the deal is expected to close in the second half of calendar 2017. “The transaction values Casamigos at up to $1 billion, with initial consideration set at $700 million and a further potential $300 million based on a performance linked earn-out over 10 years, reflecting the brand’s exceptional growth trajectory and upside potential,” reads the release.
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The celebrity pals started Casamigos in 2013 “by accident” after failing to find the perfect tequila on vacation in Mexico.
“As you do in Mexico, we would drink a lot of tequila,” Gerber told Business Insider earlier this year. “We’d go out to bars and restaurants and bartenders would recommend them. Some were good, some not so good, and some expensive. There came a point where George turned to me and said, ‘Why don’t we create one that’s perfect for us?'”
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“We wanted one that didn’t burn going down, that was super smooth, and had the right flavour profile,” he continued. “One that we didn’t have to mix — typically we drink it straight or on the rocks – that we could drink all day long and not be hungover in the morning.”
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The company is named after the compound where Clooney and Gerber developed their vacation homes. The two have been so passionate about the brand that they even celebrated their birthdays in May with a cake made in their likeness, courtesy of Amal Clooney. Gerber and his wife Cindy Crawford also gifted George and Amal two Casamigos onesies to celebrate the impending birth of their twins.
“We created Casamigos Tequila 4 years ago for us to drink personally and selling it for 1 billion dollars is something we never could have imagined,” Gerber said in a statement to PEOPLE. “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.”