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Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila ups sustainability efforts

Keeping Up with the Kardashians star Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila brand has moved its production and partnered with nonprofit Sacred in a bid to “create a new standard for sustainability”.

Kendall Jenner 818 Tequila
Kendall Jenner’s 818 brand features three expressions: Blanco, Reposado and Añejo

When Jenner launched 818 Tequila in May, she became the latest in a line of celebrities to enter the Tequila category, following in the footsteps of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Rita Ora, Adam Levine, George Clooney and more.

818 has reported rapid sales since its release, and is planning a luxury-focused strategy for global expansion.

However, Jenner has also experienced backlash on social media and in the press, particularly surrounding a marketing campaign released in May. The promotional video and images depicted Jenner wearing long braids and traditional Mexican clothing riding a horse through an agave field, which stirred accusations of cultural appropriation on social media.

Now 818 is seeking to build its sustainability credentials through two changes. First, it has moved its Tequila production to the Grupo Solave Distillery in Amatitán, Jalisco, Mexico. The facility is powered by biomass waste, a process that ‘extends the life cycle of the agave and reduces CO2 emissions’. The change will also allow the brand to continue to scale its production.

Second, 818 has teamed up with Sacred, a nonprofit that works to support the rural Mexican communities that produce agave spirits. Founded by Lou Bank, Sacred has embarked on projects such as replanting agave fields and revitalising a football complex in San Antonio de Fernandez.

“At 818 Tequila, we want to create a new standard for sustainability while also giving back to those who are so integral to our Tequila-making process,” said Mike Novy, president and chief operating officer at 818 Tequila. “Establishing a long-term partnership with Lou and his team at Sacred to expand upon the incredible work they’ve already done in Mexico really drives our mission.”

Together, 818 and Sacred have created the 818 Bricks Program, which turns raw, post-production agave fibres into bricks that can be used to build structures in the local community.

“I’m honoured to work alongside 818 Tequila, especially on making adobe bricks out of agave waste and using those bricks to support Mexican communities,” said Bank.

Sacred helps with the production of the bricks, and is also responsible for determining which projects they should be used for.

“It’s our mission to support the people who make agave spirits, in hopes of sustaining the multigenerational wisdom and practices they inherited from their progenitors who made Tequila, mezcal, and other heritage spirits,” Bank continued.

“Our goal is to support the communities that are integral to agave production by working with them directly and asking them what they need.”

For more on celebrity Tequila, read our analysis of the trend.

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