You’ve probably heard stories about aging rock stars who find themselves playing weddings and bar mitzvahs at the back end of their career, as the record deals dry up and fans dwindle. That most likely won’t be the story for former Van Halen rocker Sammy Hagar. After all, in 2010, Sammy Hagar sold his 20% stake in Cabo Wabo Tequila to Italy’s Gruppo Campari for $11 million dollars!
At one time, Hagar owned the entire Cabo Wabo Tequila company. But in 2008, he sold 80% of the company to Campari for $80 million, explaining that they could help with worldwide distribution since, as Hagar said, “I don’t like working that hard.” That’s $91 million for Hagar over three years, for those of you scoring at home. He’d have to play a lot of bar mitzvahs to make that kind of scratch.
How did Sammy Hagar end up owning a tequila company?
Hasn’t everybody owned a tequila company at one point or another? Sammy Hagar actually created Cabo Wabo Tequila in 1996. He owned a restaurant called the Cabo Wabo Cantina and, as the story goes, he hunted all over Mexico for tequila exceptional enough to be served in his restaurant. Apparently, Hagar was as serious about his tequila as he was about his music and his hair.
Hagar finally found his nectar of the gods when he ran across a family that had been making tequila for more than 80 years. The tequila is now sold worldwide as a premium brand and has won several awards. According to Cabo Wabo Tequila’s website, the same family still grows the agave to make their tequila today.
Does Sammy Hagar still own the Cabo Wabo Cantina?
There’s no need to worry about Sammy Hagar showing up on the unemployment line anytime soon – he still owns a couple of restaurants, including the Cabo Wabo Cantina. It was kind of a rough road to total ownership for the cantina, though. When the cantina began, he was partnered with his band mates, the Van Halen brothers. However, early struggles with crime, the law and the lack of a profit led to in-fighting.
Eventually, the cantina was closed by the Federales due to allegations of drug dealing taking place inside the club. Hagar offered to buy out his partners – an offer that they quickly jumped on.
Hagar hired a new manager and almost instantly turned the Cabo Wabo Cantina into a profitable venture. Ironically, the Van Halens later accused Hagar of setting up the whole thing for the opportunity to buy them out.
In addition to his restaurant ventures, Hagar also made money on a few bicycle companies he had an interest in, and he’s written a book that has been fairly successful, too. He is supposedly currently working on developing a new rum using Hawaiian sugar cane.
How Good is Cabo Wabo Tequila?
If Sammy Hagar made $91 million off of Cabo Wabo Tequila, it has to be pretty good, right? Apparently so. On the website Tequila.net, the users gave Cabo Wabo Tequila a rating of 86 out of 100.
Interestingly, three varieties of Cabo Wabo Tequila – Anejo, Blanco, and Reposado – all had the same rating, even though they had different reviews. Some of the comments in the reviews included mention of the complex flavors that are especially enjoyable at the start of the tasting, although they also noted the finish was disappointing.
Cabo Wabo Anejo won the double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2011. The Reposado also won the Chairman’s Trophy at the 2011 Ultimate Spirits Challenge. In 2010, The Cabo Wabo Anedo and Reposado each won gold medals, while the Blanco won a silver medal, at the 2010 Beverage Tasting Institute. The Spirit Journal rated the Reposado the eighth best Tequila in the world in 2010.
Which Tequilas are better choices than Cabo Wabo, consistently?
The editors on Tequila.net named a few tequilas as being the best, and Cabo Wabo was not among them. The brands they named included Muchote Tequila Reposado, Don Pilar Tequila Anejo, Agave Dos Mil Tequila Reposado Grand Reserve, Riazul Tequila Anejo, Voodoo Tiki Tequila Coleccion Privada de la Familia, Agave Dos Mil Tequila Blanco Grand Reserve, Ilegal Mezcal Anejo, Dulce Vida Tequila Anejo, and Corrido Tequila Extra Anejo. These are simply the top-rated tequilas, with 94 points each; there are many more with ratings in the 90s.
While any ratings are subjective, these user reviews represent a wide enough selection of tequila drinkers to at least provide a relatively good starting point with which to start to seek the tequilas that are better than Cabo Wabo.