BDT, the firm of Warren Buffett’s favorite banker, gets into tequila

Featured in New York Times, 4/9/2018 issue

The investment firm of Byron D. Trott, BDT Capital Partners, announced this morning that it would buy a majority stake in Casa Dragones, the high-end tequila producer.

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(A bottle of the Joven would set you back almost $300.) It’s the latest sign of growing interest in the Mexican spirit.

Founded in 2008, Casa Dragones’ sales have grown 50 percent by volume over the last three years.

The back story: The Casa Dragones co-founder Bertha González Nieves (the other is Bob Pittman, the media veteran), got to know BDT over the past year, and began negotiating a deal last fall. “To have a partner that believes in entrepreneurship and is a long-term investor enables us to continue to write our growth chapter,” she said. Mr. Trott told Michael, “Bertha is just one of these great, passionate visionary entrepreneurs.”

The context: Casamigos sold to Diageo for as much as $1 billion, but both Ms. Gonzalez and Mr. Trott said that wasn’t a factor in striking this deal.

What comes next: Ms. Gonzalez said that the new money will help Casa Dragones expand internationally, especially helpful as countries outside Mexico and the U.S. become more interested in tequila. And Mr. Trott said that while today’s deal was BDT’s first foray into the spirits industry, his firm had been looking at investing into the business for some time — and could end up doing more deals.