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Cabo Wabo is the name of two nightclubs and restaurants located in Cabo San Lucas, BCS, Mexicomarker and in Harvey's Lake Tahoe in Stateline, Nevadamarker (with a third to open in the fall of 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada), as well as a popular brand of tequila, all founded by rock musician Sammy Hagar.

Cantina

Hagar, already a successful rock musician, visited the Mexicanmarker town of Cabo San Lucas in the early 1980s. Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985 after the departure of its former singer, David Lee Roth. Seeking a place for himself and his friends to relax and play music, he convinced the Van Halen members to partner in opening a large bar, restaurant, and performance space. The cantina was originally a financial failure, leading Hagar to buy out his band-mates. Under new management, the bar became popular with both locals and tourists as the town quickly grew into a major resort. In 2004, after plans fell through to open in Las Vegas, Nevadamarker, Hagar opened a second location in the basement of the historic Harvey's casino on the south shore of Lake Tahoe. A third location was opened in Fresno, Californiamarker in 2008, but had its license pulled by Hagar at the beginning of 2009. Cabo Wabo Las Vegas opens in The Miracle Mile shopping center in Planet Hollywood early November 2009.

Hagar claims he coined the name after watching a man walk unsteadily along a local beach after a heavy night's partying. Using the town's nickname, Cabo (which means "cape" in Spanish), and shortening "wobble" to "wabo" he said of the man that he was doing the "Cabo wabo". In 1988, he wrote a song of the same name for Van Halen's 1988 album OU812. In 1990 he hired Noel Vestri, an innovator in computer graphic designs (including work on Van's Tennis Shoes) to design a logo for the brand, which is still used today.

Tequila

In the late 1990s Hagar began selling his patrons a house brand of hand-made tequila he commissioned from a family-owned distillery in the state of Jaliscomarker. In 1999, a wine importer from Napa Valleymarker began to import the tequila in to the United States. An instant success, sales rose from 37,000 cases the first year to 140,000 cases in 2006, making it the second-best selling premium tequila in the United States.

Several of the Cabo Wabo offerings have performed quite well at international spirit ratings competitions. For example, its anejo offering received a Gold rating at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, an improvement from a silver rating at the 2008 competition. Its reposado tequila received a score of 92 from the 2008 Beverage Testing Institute.

In May, 2007 it was announced that Hagar would sell an 80% interest in Cabo Wabo Tequila to Gruppo Campari, the world's seventh-largest spirits company, for $80 million. Skyy Spirits of San Francisco, a vodka producer and subsidiary of Milan's Gruppo Campari, planned to market Cabo Wabo globally, with continued participation by Hagar. Gerry Ruvo, president and chief executive of Skyy Spirits, said, "Sammy has done a fantastic job building the brand, so we are going to obviously spend time with him and work with him to continue our efforts to take the brand to an even larger level, both here in the U.S. and, more important, globally." Ruvo said Great Britain, Spain, Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan, Germany and Italy are considered key expansion markets for Tequila.

Footnotes

  1. http://www.proof66.com/display.asp?t=teq
  2. http://www.proof66.com/display.asp?t=teq


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