Rande Gerber Interview
EXPERT Q&A: Rande Gerber
The American entrepreneur and tequila extraordinaire spills the details on his annual motorcycle trip with George Clooney
By: WHITNEY JAMES
Outside GO has long been a fan of the gritty, high-testosterone and uncharted road trip. We're also a big fan of tequila. In this exclusive interview with Rande Gerber, co-founder of Casamigos Tequila, we learn about his annual motorcycle trip with friend and business partner George Clooney, what drives them to explore the globe via bike, and that one time they got stuck out in the rain. For our review of the tequila itself, visit Outside Online.
Q: How long have you been riding bikes?
Since I was ten years old. I started out on dirt bikes when I was a kid. I'll never forget my Yamaha YZ 80.
"The idea was to get on the bikes and just go and explore with no distractions of work, phones, email or the world. Just the freedom to ride with friends."
Q: How long have you been friends with Clooney? Did you two immediately hit it off?
We've been friends for half our lives, which is a long time.
Q: Whose idea was the first motorcycle trip? Tell us about how you dreamed it up, what the goal was, and what purpose it filled.
It was George’s idea to do a two-week ride every year with no real plan, and we've been doing it every year for the past 15 years. The idea was to get on the bikes and just go and explore with no distractions of work, phones, email or the world. Just the freedom to ride with friends.
Q: Did that first trip go as planned, better, or worse?
It never goes as planned—which keeps it fun and interesting.
Q: How do you choose your route each year? Do you pick new destinations or visit old favorites?
George plans where we start and where we end. Everything in between just happens, as does the time on the road.
"The freedom, adventure, stories and memories keep us on the road. It’s a tradition that will only end when the end comes."
Q: What do the logistics look like for navigating a foreign country while flying through it at 70 miles per hour?
I’ve learned you don't pass on those never-ending tunnels at 70 miles per hour, and that cops are the same in every country and will be waiting on the other side.
Q: Describe the gear you need for the ride, from the bike itself to your favorite après-ride getup.
We travel light. Jeans, some short and long T-shirts, boots, heavy and light leather jackets, glasses, two helmets, tools, and cash. For the first time last year, we included rain gear after too many cold, wet hours riding at night.
"We always travel with an ample supply of our Casamigos Tequila, which we drink and share with people we meet along the way."
Q: Tell us about the most unexpectedly adventurous day you’ve ever had while traveling.
There are many, but I would say getting caught at midnight in the Alps in the rain, which turned to hail. We were out for hours until we found a spot that had a room for us. I couldn't feel my hand, and thought I had frostbite. After an hour of laughs and a few Casamigos, I started to get some feeling back. Or maybe I just didn't care about the pain anymore.
Q: You’ve recently ventured into a more laid-back hobby—making tequila. Where did the inspiration come from for Casamigos?
George and I were spending a lot of time in Mexico drinking tequila. There were some good ones, but nothing great for us. We had the idea to create the best-tasting, smoothest tequila with a taste that didn't have to be covered up with salt or a lime. One we could drink all night and not be hungover the next morning. So we worked on Casamigos with our master distiller in Jalisco, Mexico for years until it was perfect. The tequila was made just for us to drink and share with friends who also like something made just right. It was never intended to be something we would sell to the public. Here we are today, sharing it with the world and we are incredibly fortunate that people love it as much as we do and who made Casamigos the fastest-growing tequila in the country.
Q: Would you say these two passions (the bikes and the tequila) complement each other?
Riding bikes, sharing stories and creating memories over a bottle of Casamigos with friends is the perfect end to a day on the road.
Q: Is there a finale in sight for your annual motorcycle adventure, or should we end with an image of you riding into an Italian sunset till the end of time?
'Til the end of time…
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Rande Gerber Interview
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