Sammy Hagar sells remaining stake in Cabo Wabo Tequila

Cabo Wabo TequilaSammy Hagar has sold his remaining stake in Cabo Wabo Tequila to Compari, the company that 80% of of it in 2008. Hagar still ownes the Cabo Wabo Cantinas.

Campari Obtains Full Ownership Of Cabo Wabo Tequila

Peter Zwiebach
Posted: August 4, 2010

Italy’s Gruppo Campari has obtained full ownership of Cabo Wabo Tequila after acquiring the 20% stake in didn’t already own from musician Sammy Hagar and associates. Late last week, Campari agreed to pay $11 million for the remaining stake, while an estimated earn-out of $4 million is expected to be paid to the sellers within the next three years.

Campari initially acquired an 80% stake in Cabo Wabo in 2008, for $80 million. Since then, Hagar, formerly of rock band Van Halen, has acted as an ambassador for the ultra-premium Tequila, which he founded in 1996. As part of that deal, Campari was granted the opportunity to purchase the remaining stake at a later date.

With high-end Tequila surging in recent years, driven by the explosive growth of Patrón, it appeared as though Cabo Wabo had considerable upside. However, amid the economic difficulties of the past two years, the ultra-premium spirits segment’s momentum has slowed, and Cabo Wabo hasn’t taken off. Last year, the brand sold 56,000 cases, down 12.5% from the previous year. It does most of its business in the U.S., where it’s marketed by Skyy Spirits, a Campari subsidiary.

Earlier today, Campari announced that its sales grew by 16.7% to €515.7 million ($678.7m) for the first half of 2010. Organic growth was responsible for slightly more than half of that increase, while the addition of Wild Turkey (whose acquisition was finalized in May 2009, near the end of last year’s first half) accounted for slightly more than one third of the sales growth. The remainder was attributed to exchange rate effects.

  • Keith

    It wasn’t the same tequila anyway, 🙁 meaning from the original distillery. Check your bottle’s NOM# . It’s changed thru the later years. Still not a bad tequila, but not the original.

  • Canes_fan5150

    Who said Sam doesn’t care about money?

  • TM

    Exactly Keith! The slightly older “Cabo Wabo” made at the Impulsoro Rhombo distillery was exceptional. I feel the newly labeled clear bottles version contains sub par juice.

  • anythingleftinthatbottle

    Just no beatin the Quervo Gold!

  • greg

    Does this mean Sammy won’t be shilling this at his concerts anymore? I won’t be the same!

  • Pat G.

    Haven’t tried Cabo Wabo, yet. Still want to out of idle curiosity. Cuervo is pretty good. 1800 is real smooth. Not like Sammy really needs the dough. He seems to be quite well off.

  • Nat

    @Canes_fan5150: Should he have *given* the remaining 20% to Compari then?

    There’s a subtle difference between not caring about money and just being an idiot.

  • Keith

    OMG…Cuervo ? Are you kidding ? It’s not even real tequila ? Check the bottle, no 100% Blue Agave ? Ask any tequila connoisseur or a Mexican ? They laugh in Mexico when you mention it ! Cabo WAS a premium tequila, now its just average, it can be bought anywhere . Sorry Sam . Why did you sell out ???

  • Adam


    I think “anythingleftinthatbottle” was joking when he said “no beatin the Quervo Gold!” As you said, Cuervo is low end tequila and most tequila drinkiers know this.

    Cabo Wabo still is a Premium tequila. Just because it can be bought many places doesn’t make it not premium. There is only one premium tequila that sells more than Cabo and that’s Patron. Both Patron & Cabo Wabo are VERY good quality premium tequilas.

  • Jor-L5150

    i love cabo, cant afford it much, though LOL.

  • Chris

    Business is business. If Compari gave him a fair price for his stake and he took it….who can blame him? I certainly can’t. Besides, maybe he’s just tying up the last few ends, this way he can concentrate more with Chickenfoot or the Wabos. He doesn’t need the money, it’s a bonus! Chickenfoot 2011!!!!

  • Dooley

    A bottle of Cabo Wabo tequila is kinda spendy, and I’m more of a beer guy anyway. But I did get a Wabo-Rita (just one, that’s all you need) at Sam’s Beach Bar at the Las Vegas airport prior to a flight back to Portland. Massive buzz, made the flight back hom very pleasant, equal to a nice bowl, I’d say.

    It’s all good when it’s in moderation.

  • DJ

    Cabo Wabo tequila is fantastic. One of the best. Cuervo is piss. Its like drinking gasoline with sand in it compared to Cabo…There are betters out there…. I think the new look killed sales this year. It just looks like every other booze bottle now..

    If someone offered me 65 million dollars for ANY ‘THING’ I would sell it. How can he pass that up? Now he can continue to lose money and still put on a kick ass show with Chickenfoot. The dude is old…he’s probably got 15 years left in his life, why still run a company?? Just sit back and rock out all your solo and VH hits…and still have new music with the FOOT!

  • Kayser Sozay

    15 years left?! This is Sam we’re talking about. The guy is pushing 63 but he looks 43 and has the energy of 23. Sam will be rocking for another 20 years and then still outlive us all. Must be the tequila.

  • phillster

    “Take that Donald Trump!”lol

  • C’mon

    Cabo is not the same. I bought some a few weeks back. Opened it smelled it and realized something was off. I then sipped some and realized it is not the same Cabo from just a couple years back. I returned it to the store, I am done with Cabo. Not only is the tequila not so good but, the new bottles are very boring and unattractive. Campari really messed up a great product. There is no reason Cabo could not have surpassed Patron, quite frankly I don’t get the whole Patron thing-talk about a subpar tequila.

  • Robert

    Re: “Sorry Sam. Why did you sell out ???”

    Sammy took an idea and within 10 years made nearly 100 MILLION BUCKS!

    What started out as a handmade tequila he commissioned from a family-owned distiller in Mexico grew into the second best selling premium (and award-wining) tequila in the U.S.

    That ain’t selling out. That’s being smart. I bet he’s made more off of that venture than he’s made in the music biz. $100M. Wow!

  • sammyvanroth

    instead of the president and congress running america maybe sam should run the economy, no matter what you think of him he’s a great business minded individual.

  • Jay

    I got a bottle of Cabo Wabo (the blue bottle) for Christmas like 9 years ago and drank it that new years eve and it was SMOOTH. Bought another of what I thought was the same last year and it wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered. I thought it was just me. Maybe not.

  • Maire Wright

    Yesterday 5/1/11 I, regrettably, suggested to our server that someone was putting cheap tequila into their Cabo Wabo bottle!

    I ordered an drank an Anejo (CW), which tasted common & cheap, then thinking that it must be the Reposado, I liked instead, I ordered that next. They were both awful! They tasted almost as bad as Quervo.

    A number of years ago, after saving a shot of tequila in every bottle we bought (Prob 12 popular tequila’s)over time, we sat down to a taste comparison, one sip at a time back and forth. Both my husband and I agreed hands down Cabo Wabo was in the lead “far FAR and away from the pack. Several of the others had that tequila bite to it we despise. CW and a few others did not. It has superior flavor that can be enjoyed without mixes.

    Last year at the same restaurant I ordered an Anejo with the same experience but thought perhaps it was the Reposado I liked better only this time I didn’t try it, and never knew ’til yesterday that they were both equally bad.

    Our server was adamant that it was indeed Cabo Wabo, I was equally adamant it was not. I regret not considering a third possibility. Perhaps Cabo Wabo has changed? We drove to a liquor store after the restaurant and look for the CW bottle. “Uh oh, new label!” We purchased the bottle, brought it home, uggggg this is awful! This morning I searched the web & found this site. I now have the answer. I knew nothing of the former owner and nothing of the buy out. What a shame. Back to bottle saving with brands we haven’t tried.

    My sincere apologies to the server, bar tender and owner of the Hacienda Restaurant in Wasilla Alaska!

  • Jason

    Most of you have prob not heard of Suavecito Tequila- Meaning(Very Smooth) yet because of the exclusivity and being extremely new. This however is the best tasting and smoothest Tequila to ever reach the states. If you like Tequila keep tabs on this and keep an eye out. This stuff will be huge and is incredible. Patron and all others don’t even come close to comparison. I noticed they started a Facebook and there is a website too. I hope you get a chance to try it soon. I frequent MX 4 times a year and travel to tastings and this may be the best my group of friends and I have ever had!!!

  • Jason