Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

It's Another Tequila Start-Up: Bob Pittman's New Venture

Casa-Dragones-lg

Earlier this week, while in New York, BoomTown paid a visit to well-known media and Web exec Bob Pittman to hear about his newest venture.

And, as it turned out, it tasted pretty good.

That’s because the former MTV wunderkind, AOL top exec and currently, investor in a wide range of media and Web companies, is making tequila instead of Internet sites.

Thank God it’s Friday!

That might be the liquor talking, since accurate reporting is a requirement at All Things Digital–but this was one of the more enjoyable interviews I have had with Pittman over many, many years.

After leaving the job of COO at then-troubled AOL Time Warner (TWX) in 2002, Pittman has been investing via the Pilot Group in Web start-ups like Thrillist, iLike, Zynga, Next New Networks, as well as radio and television properties.

Pilot sold DailyCandy to Comcast (CMCSA) in 2008 for a reported $125 million.

Tequila-making is yet another unusual tack for Pittman, who is now busy trying to turn “Casa Dragones”–which is made from the blue agave plant in Mexico–into the next big thing in the high-end liquor business.

Aiming directly at the top-shelf brands like Gran Patrón, Pittman is trying for a “sipping” tequila, in contrast to most versions, which typically deliver a sharp kick.

Using a series of tasting parties and marketing efforts to make the $275-a-bottle tequila a must-have at key bars and clubs, it will be interesting to see if Pittman can turn spirits into profits.

Here’s Pittman talking about his tequila adventure in a video interview (and, below it, Joe Nichols singing one of my favorite country songs, “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”):


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald