Kendall Jenner's ‘818’ tequila sparks fury for exploiting Mexican culture: ‘Donate a percentage from each bottle’

Kendall Jenner's tequila brand 818 might have won a range of awards but here's why people are calling it out for appropriating Mexican heritage

                            Kendall Jenner's ‘818’ tequila sparks fury for exploiting Mexican culture: ‘Donate a percentage from each bottle’
Kendall Jenner (@kendalljenner / Instagram)

CALABASAS, CA: Kendall Jenner drew public backlash after she put up an Instagram post promoting, 818, her tequila brand. The model and reality TV star took to Instagram to talk about how she created "the world's best-tasting tequila".

Celebrities launching their own alcohol brands isn't new... but Jenner's brand seems to have attracted a lot of negative publicity. Jenner named her brand '818' — after the area code of Calabasa — which led to a larger discussion of cultural appropriation. 

Reportedly, her 'handcrafted tequila from Jalisco, Mexico' has won several awards, including The Chairman’s Trophy and a Top 100 Spirits nod from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, a Platinum and a Double Gold Award from the 2020 SIP Awards, and a Triple Gold from MicroLiquor Spirit Awards. 


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Why is Kendall Jenner's tequila brand named '818'? Model has a sentimental reason for naming it after area code

Seeing that tequila is a national product, Mexico has extremely strict regulations when it comes to the production of the spirit. Multiple steps go into the production, including the production of agave azul, the plant from which it is distilled. However, over-farming over the years has put extreme strain on the industry itself, resulting in the use of pesticides and herbicides, along with increased labor.

People took to social media to talk about just how problematic the name of the brand was and some even went on to claim that Jenner was profiting off local communities. 

Kendall Jenner (Getty Images)

"Maybe Kendall Jenner should donate a percentage from each tequila bottle sale BACK to the low-income 818 communities. Since she wants to profit off of it," tweeted a fan. "818 tequila. Smh, from a person who’s never stepped foot out of Calabasas. If you’re really about it, donate some funds from sales to the communities in the 818 that need it. Pacoima, Sylmar, Arleta, SF, Canoga park, etc. @KendallJenner," another chimed in.

"Living in the 818 I see friends supporting friends small local businesses but I also see my community slowly going through financial hardship because of gentrification This problem is bigger than one celeb promoting their tequila" said a user, shedding light on the situation. 




People also took a closer look at just how badly trends like celebrity alcohols affect entire industries, just because there's a big name attached to it. In case, there's a fear of ruining tequila distillation at large, seeing as to how long it takes to distill the alcohol. "Look I hate celebrity tequilas and everything they stand for. But if you are going to hate #818tequila I want to see you hate #casaamigos #teremana and every single celebrity-owned tequila brand. Let’s keep the same energy people!" tweeted one user, pointing out that the issue is far deeper than one thinks. 

"Don’t buy celebrity-owned tequila like #818tequila #terramana and all the others BS ones. They’re literally killing the industry." said another user, detailing just why celebrity tequilas should not be patronized. The user went on to explain just how much of a strain it causes on both, agave over farming and the traditional practices of brewing the spirit. 





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