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George Clooney and other stars turn their passion into billion-dollar businesses

George Clooney has been paid millions and even billions in his career, but he has also created a billion-dollar business out of his passion for tequila.



The advice to “follow your passion” is likely easier to do if you’re a Hollywood A-lister. This is certainly true for actor-director George Clooney who’s in a CNBC report for selling his tequila business for $1 billion. His tequila brand, Casamigos, meaning “house of friends,” was bought by British multinational liquor company Diageo.

Clooney and two close friends did not really set out to establish a tequila business. They were simply passionate about tequila. They were spending a lot of time in Mexico while building their vacation homes and drinking a lot of tequila.

Eventually, they thought of creating their own tequila distilled to their specifications: great taste, no throat burn, and can be consumed day and night without the morning after hangover. They found a distiller who was willing to make it; the final product was “perfect” by their standards. Initially, it was a private label that they consumed for themselves and share with friends.


Casamigos is George Clooney’s billion-dollar business creation. (Source)

After enjoying about a thousand bottles of the stuff per year for a few years, the distiller warned them that they needed to get a license or else regulators would come after them. And so, the billion-dollar business was born. 

Other stars have done the same. Actress Jessica Alba is noted for building The Honest Company, which specializes in selling all-natural, non-toxic baby and household products. It also reached the billion-dollar mark. Rapper Dr. Dre, who’s passionate about creating the best listening experience, came up with the Beats brand of headphones. It’s become a pop icon, and Apple bought the company and brand for $3.2 billion.

Forbes reported that music power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce are together worth more than a billion dollars. Not only are they hugely successful musical acts, with world tours earning hundreds of millions, they’re also savvy entrepreneurs. Beyonce’s clothing line and watermelon water business, plus Jay-Z’s ventures into music streaming and a clothing brand earned them spots in Fortune’s and Forbes’ richest lists.

Anne Kings is a reporter for the financial sector, often tackling Wall Street and shareholders' interests. She also covers the intersection of media and technology, and delves into interesting topics on entertainment. Sometimes she also writes about the cannabis industry, in particular CBD and hemp. She is currently based in New York.