Toast to That

Liquor giant drinks up Austin celebrity's tequila brand in multibillion-dollar deal

Liquor giant drinks up Austin celebrity's tequila brand in $5B deal

Patron tequila
The deal is valued at more than $5 billion. Patron/Facebook

You can’t blame Austin billionaire John Paul DeJoria if he’s having a couple of margaritas right about now — booze behemoth Bacardi Ltd. is buying DeJoria’s Patrón tequila brand in a deal valued at $5.1 billion.

On January 22, Bacardi said it’s assuming full ownership of Patrón Spirits International AG and its top-selling Patrón brand of high-end tequila, along with its brands of liquor, vodka, and rum. Bacardi had owned a 30 percent stake in Patrón since 2008, according to the Wall Street Journal.

DeJoria and business partner Martin Crowley, who died in 2003, launched Patrón in 1989. Today, the company produces more than 36 million bottles of tequila each year at its plant in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

Aside from the trademark Patrón tequila, brands in the Patrón Spirits International portfolio include Roca Patrón tequila, Gran Patrón tequila, XO Cafe liqueur, Citrónge liqueur, Pyrat rum, and Ultimat vodka. Market research firm Euromonitor says Patrón tequila racked up U.S. sales of $1.6 billion in 2016.

“We started this business more than a quarter century ago with a singular mission — to create an ultra-premium, luxury tequila,” DeJoria says in a release.

 “John Paul’s vision, integrity, and courage are responsible for introducing the world to simply perfect tequila," says Facundo Bacardi, chairman of the family-owned company that bears his name. "As we move forward together, we will continue to pursue perfection as the guiding light in everything Patrón stands for.” 

DeJoria, 74, built his initial fortune as co-founder of hair care products company John Paul Mitchell Systems, which started in 1980 and where he remains chairman. As of January 22, Forbes estimated his net worth at $3.4 billion.

After the Bacardi deal closes, DeJoria will serve as a Patrón “ambassador” in the role of chairman emeritus. He’ll collaborate with Bacardi on philanthropic and environmental causes.

Bacardi already sells two brands of tequila — Cazadores and Corzo — but Patrón is a much higher-profile brand. Other brands in the Bacardi portfolio include Bacardi rum, Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, Dewar’s Scotch whisky, Martini vermouth, and sparkling wines.