Model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner shared a post on her instagram account Tuesday introducing @drink818, a new tequila brand.
In her instagram post, Jenner wrote “for almost 4 years i’ve been on a journey to create the best tasting tequila.” Regardless, the post specified that her contribution to the tequila’s development consisted of “dozen’s of blind taste tests, trips to our distillery and entering into tasting competitions.”
Though the comments were flooded with celebrity friends congratulating her and referencing “nights [Jenner] got [them] drunk for ‘research'”, many other commenters, particularly the Latinx community, took issue with the model’s involvement, or lack thereof in the actual production of the product, as well as her appropriation of Mexican products.
One such commenter wrote, “here we go, another foreigner coming to Mexico and exploiting nameless local producers.” Another wrote “you’re telling me white people are trying to take tequila away from Mexicans too?”
Though produced in Jalisco, Mexico, the brand is owned by Jenner herself, causing some to question the profit margins and whether or not the workers in Mexico are being exploited.
One commenter wrote “I mean I hope you are paying the actual workers in MEXICO who are the ones behind this!!…This makes me sad. I wonder how much they are really going to make compared to the millions YOU will profit.”
Others shared a similar concern, with particular concern over small, family-owned tequila makers losing business because of the celebrity influence of the Kardashian family. She wrote, “why cant she stick to whiskey or whatever her caucasian background is.”
Others took issue with Jenner’s specific comment that her tequila brand was the best tasting tequila on the market, writing “Tequila production is traditionally a family business in Mexico. I think it’s disgusting that another rich white celeb is appropriating Mexican culture with the audacity to think that you’re making it better than Mexicans.”
Despite the criticism, when entered anonymously in the World Tequila Awards, 818 did, in fact, win Best Reposado 2020.
Though the most recent, Jenner is hardly the first celebrity to launch a tequila brand. Dwayne Johnson released “Teremana” tequila in 2020, Nick Jonas launched “Villa One” in 2019, Rita Ora launched “Próspero” in 2019, Justin Timberlake launched Sauza 901 in 2009, and George Clooney launched “Casamigos” in 2013.
Most recently, Elon Musk launched Tesla Tequila, which sold out so quickly that empty bottles are now for sale on eBay for north of $100.
The instagram account, @drink818, was created on February 8th, though not introduced by Jenner herself until February 16th. It does not currently link a website or any information regarding a release date. Details will likely be shared on the brand’s account.
Are you excited to try the newest Kardashian-Jenner business venture? Let us know in the comments.