Kendall Jenner grew up seeing her parents Kris and Caitlyn sip tequila. When Kendall Jenner, the model/social media influencer turned 21 years old, Tequila became her favorite spirit.
It's the spirit I share with my family and friends. Jenner said in an exclusive interview with Entrepreneur that it's a delicious and complex spirit, with many ways to change the taste of the liquid during the distillation process.
She launched her first business venture, 818 Tequila, two years ago because of her love for Tequila. In its first seven-month period of operation, the company sold over 1.5 million bottles and is now one of the most popular Tequila brands worldwide.
The new B Corp status will hopefully ease these concerns. B Lab, a non-profit certification group, verified late last month that 818 Tequila met certain high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
The company passed a test after undergoing a thorough review of its business model and operations. Jenner and the 818 Tequila brand have also been criticized. Social media users claim that the brand exploited the workers and land in Jalisco Mexico, where Tequila is produced and distilled.
In partnership with S.A.C.R.E.D. Working in partnership with S.A.C.R.E.D.
Sustainability is also an important priority. The distillery uses biomass boilers to power the tequila-making process. According to a company spokesperson, this extends the life of the agave plant and reduces CO2 emissions.
Jenner spoke with us about her Tequila experience.
Why did you feel it was important to give back to your community through 818 Tequila?
Jenner: I have always said that I want to give back to the community and to the planet. I started the company, and I went to Jalisco on my first trip. I wanted sustainability at the heart of our ethos. I felt it was important to be as environmentally friendly as possible throughout our entire production and supply chain.
Tequila, which is produced in Mexico, has the 818 designation, as a reference to your California area codes. Why?
The brand is named 818 to represent my hometown of California and the special moments shared with family over tequila. Why did you choose to start a Tequila business? What do you enjoy about this spirit, specifically?
It's a delicious and complex spirit, with so many ways to change the taste of the liquid during the distillation. I find this fascinating. I've also enjoyed introducing some members of my generation as well to tequila, not just as something to take a shot with.
What makes 818 different from all the other entrepreneurial ventures you have undertaken?
It was my first venture to start a business on my own. I was able to make sure that the company reflects what is important to me. Sustainability is an important issue for 818. We are members in 1% for the Planet. This means that we donate 1% of our revenue from every 818 bottle sold to environmental non-profits. Our production is also as environmentally friendly as possible. For example, we run our distillery on solar and biomass power.
I began my career in the Beverage-Alcohol industry as a customer, and quickly realized how complex the spirits market is. To make my idea into a reality, i needed to find experts from the U.S.A. and Mexico that shared my passion to create this tequila. I have learned a lot about the industry, and how to make tequila after working on this for 6+ years.
While developing the 818 liquid I learned how the agaves, the ovens and the distillation process can affect and change the flavor profile of tequila. Our tequila is made using traditional methods while remaining as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible. It was a process of learning to balance modern sustainable technology with traditional methods. I am so glad we found a distillery that shares our commitment.
Trusting your gut is crucial. You should hire the right people and listen to your experts. Also, you must have confidence in yourself.
What are some lessons that you have learned from other parts of your life and how you applied them to 818?
Be persistent and resilient. You will be told no, your ideas will be shot down, and people won't believe in you. But it is important to persevere and stay true to yourself.