Despite being an elite athlete Jordan was always known as a bet placing, hard drinking, cigar smoking man of the people. Athletes in the 80’s and 90’s had a different approach to the game and their public image. Despite all this Jordan was beloved by almost everyone and still is to this day. His talent and drive has always been undeniable. He has parlayed this popularity and focus into business. Starting or investing in many things, his greatest success always seems to come in the things he is most passionate about. His drink of choice? Tequila.
Does Michael Jordan own a Tequila brand? Michael Jordan is one of the creators and owners of Tequila brand Cincoro Tequila via its parent company Cinco Spirits Group. Conceived in 2016 and launched in 2019 the premium Tequila brand is co-owned by 5 NBA Franchise Owners, including Jordan. Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens and Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck as well as his then-fiancée Emilia Fazzalari make up the original ownership group.
The name of Michael Jordan’s Tequila is Cincoro Tequila, a blend of the Spanish words five (cinco) and gold (oro). The story of how five NBA Franchise owning multi-millionaires created one of the world’s most Premium Tequilas, a traditional Mexican drink, doesn’t end there.
Why does Michael Jordan own a Tequila Brand?
The Idea for what is now known as Cinco Tequila germinated in 2016 at an NBA Owners meeting in New York while waiting for a table in a trendy pizza place. The five future creators and owners of Cinco Spirits Group; Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens and Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck as well as his then-fiancée Emilia Fazzalari. Had been drinking Jordan’s favorite Spirit earlier in the day. They realized they all agreed on some fundamental things about Tequila’s superiority as a spirit. Mainly they felt Tequila is the only spirit that feels like a mood lifter, it’s low-calorie and ‘can’ yield a lighter hangover. By the time the main course was finished they had decided it would be amazing to create a tequila with a smooth, long finish like a fine cognac.
Now with many people the idea would die there. Either the drive, the resource or the ability to create a new company with a bespoke product and get it to market would evade most groups of people sharing a New York Pizza and having a great idea. This is not a normal group of people, all of them are blessed with drive, money, contacts and time for passion projects.
Is Jordans Tequila any good?
Tequila accounts for just 1% of Spirits sales globally, but 10% in the US market. Tequila is seen as a growth spirit with plenty of market runway for products to capture the imagination and market share, both inside the US and in the rest of the world, where it is less popular.
Jordan and his fellow NBA owners were not in it for an off the shelf Tequila from a standard distillery, the group wanted to create tequila that they would want to drink. For them this wasn’t about just choosing a decent Tequila and designing a fancy bottle.
Not least due to the profile of Michael Jordan, Cincoro Tequila has attracted some of the best talent in the spirits world. Fazzalari, who runs the brand, has put together a great team of experienced industry people. This includes the former Head of Marketing at the Stoli Group, Chris Spake, who was integral to launching Grey Goose and building Patrón from small time spirit to over 2 million cases a year. Spake is now director of brand at Cinco. He claims to have never tasted anything like Cinco Tequila before stating that no one can replicate this, even if they try it. So yeah, it’s good.
It is produced in Mexico by Destiladora del Valle de Tequila (Casa Maestri) and aged in American Whiskey barrels for much longer than statutory requirement states. This drink is a labor of love by a man who loves tequila.
Marketed as a limited premium brand initially to drive interest and demand for a product whose availability wasn’t guaranteed (anyone ever tried to buy a new release pair of Jordans kicks?) they stole a playbook from every Sneaker manufacturer since… well… since Nike came to market with the Air Jordans.
Is Jordans Cinco Tequila popular?
Speaking of Nike. As anyone who’s ever over paid for Vodka will be aware, the bottle is key to selling spirits. It has to POP on a bar shelf regardless of whether the content is smooth and delicious or acrid and foul. Jordan focused on the design with Mark Smith, Nike’s VP of Innovation Special Projects. The vision was sleek, contemporary and unique. Working with artisanal glassmakers in Mexico each detail was deliberate and labored on.
The glass bottles have five sides shaped loosely like an agave leaf (one of the main ingredients of tequila) with a base that tilts up at 23 degrees in a nod to Jordan’s jersey number. The cap is an inverted replica of the bottle cast in crystal, even matching the 23-degree angle of the bottle. The top shelf version, extra añejo, has a bottle made from a hand-polished black crystal adorned with gold.
Cincoro Tequila is one of the most expensive tequila brands available. There are 4 different varieties:
- Reposado aged 8 to 10 months
- Añejo aged for 24 to 28 months
- Extra Añejo, aged for 44 months
Cincoro Añejo retails for $130 and Cincoro’s Extra Añejo, at $1,600 a bottle, is the kind of thing only Jordan himself could afford to drink regularly, which he does as it’s his favorite.
Having been lucky enough to try the Añejo, before knowing it had any ties to the great Michael Jordan, I can say with utter certainty that it is a top notch tequila. It stands out on the shelf in a bar and would be a great addition to any liquor cabinet at home creating a great talking point through the stylish bottle alone.
Was Michael Jordan’s Tequila in Star Wars?
Yes! Michael Jordan’s Tequila, or a rebranded bottle of it, was featured in Series 3 Episode 7 of Star Wars popular show, The Mandalorian. GIven as a gift to Din “Mando” Djarin (Pedro Pascal) by his friend Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) claiming it was all the way from Coruscant. That wasn’t it’s only TV appearance, Jordan himself can be seen sat next to a large glass of it all the way through ESPNs the Last Dance Documentary.