One of last year’s favorite tequilas on the awards circuit was the mysterious 818 Tequila from a company called K & Soda. Well, now we know where this much-lauded tequila comes from and who the “K” in K & Soda is. Kendall Jenner announced on her Instagram account yesterday that she’s been working for “almost 4 years … on a journey to create the best tasting tequila.”
The IG post is full of Jenner and friends testing tequilas while hanging out in Mexico alongside images of the brand’s look, a list of awards, and blurb citing the mysterious nature of the spirit from Uproxx’s Dane Rivera.
The tequila is from La Cofradia distillery in Jalisco, according to Tequila Matchmaker (a site that compiles where all tequila actually comes from). The distiller and warehouses make and age dozens and dozens of branded tequilas. It’s a pretty normal practice in tequila to do contract distilling and aging and then have a blender, or simply a distributor, come in with labels and marketing. It’s called “white labeling” and celebrities do it with weed, too.
This particular distillery is known for its brick ovens for roasting the agave pinas, a stone tahona for mashing the roasted agave hearts, several types of fermentation methods, and around nine types of barrels for aging. So the selection of a tequila from this distillery could result in endless permutations when it comes to flavor and texture.
Jenner joins a very long list of celebrities with their own tequila brands. George Clooney famously made a billion dollars on Casamigos (currently made at Diageo México Operaciones). Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is heading towards the exact same outcome with his Teremana Tequila shingle (made at the Productos Finos de Agave distillery). Even Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have got in on the action with Dos Hombres Mezcal (made by Gregorio Velasco Luis in Oaxaca).
That’s just scratching the surface. There’s a whole wide world of spirits brands created in tandem with celebrities and another subset of companies that have big-name celebrities as the face of their hooch.
Will Jenner score a billion-dollar payday as Clooney did? It’s likely, especially given her ravenous fanbase. Will she be the last celebrity to cash in on the current spirits boom? Hell no. Is there already a “cultural appropriation” backlash on Twitter? Yup.
Finally, will the tequila live up to the award’s circuit hype? Only time will tell.