818 Tequila has finally landed in Australia and is now available across all on- and off-premise locations, through Amber Beverages. Owned and operated by international model and entrepreneur Kendall Jenner, this Tequila brand is redefining what it means to be a ‘celebrity’ drink.

The Shout spoke to Amber’s Head of Marketing, Tanya Mah, who explained that ethos of 818 was always about two major elements: the quality of the liquid, and a commitment to sustainability from the start.

“The liquid is excellent,” Mah told The Shout. “It’s won 43 blind tasting awards at 13 international competitions including Best Reposado at the World Tequila Awards and this is what they wanted to communicate with the launch. Kendall worked on the 818 liquid for four years before it went to market – before she announced it was hers, she entered it anonymously into competitions – she didn’t want her association with the liquid to change its initial reception. From the beginning, 818 was impressing the experts, and when Kendall revealed herself to be at the helm, it really took off. For Kendall, 818 has always put taste, versatility, and flavour first.”

The 818 Tequila range comprises four expressions: Blanco (at $100 RRP), Reposado (at $110 RRP), Añejo (at $130 RRP), and the super-premium Eight Reserve (at $350 RRP), a blend of one, three, and eight year Añejos aged in French and American barrels. This luxury liquid is bottled in a hand-crafted ceramic decanter.

The liquid is just one facet of what makes this company different. 818’s efforts in the sustainability space are at the core of everything they do.

Mah said: “818 has a variety of sustainability initiatives that they are taking to new heights. From their glass bottles, which are 100 per cent recyclable, to their labels and packaging, which are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as coming from sustainably managed forests, even their product puts sustainability first.

“818 is also a member of 1% for the Planet, an organisation that verifies company donations equivalent to one per cent of its annual revenue to environmental charities. Most recently, in March of this year, 818 received its B Corp certification – capping a lengthy application process, B Labs verified that 818 met their stringent standards for membership – this process included evaluating their workplace standards, fair wages up and down their supply chain, and their charitable initiatives.”

She added: “Through their 1% for the Planet membership, 818 connected with S.A.C.R.E.D. Agave, a Mexico-based nonprofit with whom they work on the 818 Bricks Program, where they turn agave fibres and waste material into adobe bricks used in local infrastructure projects in Jalisco, Oaxaca, and more. They also have an exciting rewilding project with S.A.C.R.E.D. where they are replanting 3.32 hectares of land with biodiverse agave species to study in an effort to make the future of Tequila more sustainable.”

This environmental spirit isn’t the only innovative thing about 818 – the company boasts a strong focus on female leadership, a value exemplified not only by Jenner, but also by 818’s executive team which is 50 per cent women. This is almost double the US alcohol industry standard of 28 per cent.

“Kendall’s commitment to female leadership and empowerment runs deep – she is immensely proud of the makeup of their team and the amazing things they are able to accomplish,” Mah said.

Kendall’s celebrity status, coupled with her genuine ownership of the brand, also brings advantages, as Mah told The Shout: “With celebrity brands you’ve got the power of social media, you’ve got the power of PR and you’ve got the whole celebrity angle behind you. So year one is always a lot easier than if you are an unknown brand because you have instant interest, reach, and consideration.

“With a celebrity brand, you also have to be able to back up your claims – social media and PR won’t save you if you don’t have a great product. That’s the great thing about 818 – the liquid really does stack up.

“Year one you will generally secure ranging and you’ll generate interest, all the things that take some brands years to build, then in year two it will start to slow and in year three if you haven’t built your brand properly, you’ll just fall off a cliff. You have to make sure the brand has longevity outside of celebrity and can stand on its own two feet.

“So, yes Kendall Jenner is the Founder and she is incredibly famous and has done a brilliant job of developing this brand. But it’s important to her that 818 stand on its own with a strong brand identity as a premium spirit, and from what we’ve seen so far, that’s exactly what it does.”

The multi-award-winning 818 Tequila is available now through Amber Beverages with a whole market focus across off- and on-premise venues around the country.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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