For an upstart, craft brand, Tito’s Handmade Vodka sure has reached some dizzying heights.
Launched in 1997 by a an oil and gas professional-turned mortgage salesman-turned amateur distiller, the ubiquitous vodka brand has since grown into the top selling liquor brand in the United States. And that has lifted founder Tito Beveridge into the ranks of American billionaires.
His net worth is estimated at $2.5 billion by Forbes, which listed Beveridge in their annual billionaire list for the first time this year. Beveridge benefited from Tito’s reportedly growing 44% from 2016 to 2017. That sharp gain resulted in $190 million in sales, outpacing runners-up Jack Daniel’s Black Label (+2.2%, $178 million) and Smirnoff Vodka (-1.1%, $173 million).
Also separating Tito’s from those other mega-brands is that the vodka company remains independently owned by Beveridge. By his own admission he has received countless offers to sell the brand during the past decades, but has resisted the urge to cash out because it’s “more fun to be the guy who owns Tito’s, than the guy who used to own Tito’s.”
It’s also proven very profitable.