From Kenny Chesney’s Blue Chair Bay rum line to Florida Georgia Line’s Old Camp whiskey and Little Big Town’s Four Cellars wine, country stars are increasingly choosing side hustles that revolve around their favorite libations. Toby Keith, Tanya Tucker and George Strait all even have their own brands of tequila.
Even with the country-based tequilas already on the market, Thomas Rhett knows how to make his just-launched Dos Primos Tequila stand out. It’s a passion project with his third cousin and best friend, Jeff Worn, with a brand name that — appropriately enough — means “two cousins” in Spanish.
“Just [when we were thinking about] starting a tequila brand, there’s a lot of brands out there. But right on the front of the bottle, it says, ‘forged by family,’” Rhett reflected to Country Now and other outlets during a media event with Worn discussing the two cousins’ new tequila.
Fans of Rhett’s music already know how central family is to the singer. He’s built his success in the country world with family-focused, personal songs like “Die a Happy Man,” “Life Changes” and “Remember You Young,” which spotlight his love for his wife, Lauren and their three daughters. Rhett says that he’s always looking for new ways to combine his career pursuits with spending time with family members he loves most, and in fact, he and Worn have wanted to work together even before they discovered their mutual interest in tequila.
“Jeff was always like my older brother who drove before me, who did a lot of things before me,” Rhett recounts. “I feel like I was always looking to Jeff for like, ‘What’s cool in life?’ You know what I’m saying? Like, ‘If you drive a Ford, I’m probably gonna get a Ford.’ I’ve always looked up to Jeff so much.”
Once they grew up, life got busier, with Worn entering a career as a pecan sheller and handler and ultimately becoming the president and CEO of South Georgia Pecans. Still, he and Rhett kept in touch, and Worn got to see his cousin and friend’s country career skyrocket.
“I’ll never forget when he came down to our farm one weekend,” Worn recalls. “Me and Lauren and my wife Cassie and him were hanging out, and he was like, ‘Y’all, I just cut this song called ‘Die a Happy Man’ that I think is gonna be a big change in my career.”
While the two cousins had long been looking for ways to bring their hectic lives together, they landed on the idea of launching a tequila company during a skiing trip in Telluride, Colorado. “Jeff and I went out to a restaurant and were just trying a bunch of different tequilas — our waitress kept bringing us different types to try,” Rhett says.
“When me and Jeff get into anything, we go in head over heels on it, whether it’s hunting, or fishing or anything outdoors,” he adds. “So we woke up the next morning, got on the ski lift. We’d been talking about developing a company together, and we didn’t know what it was gonna be. We looked at each other and were like, ‘Dude, I have no idea what this means, but let’s start a tequila company.’”
In a lot of ways, the two men’s love for tequila grew out of their curiosity to learn more about the liquor. As someone who usually stuck to Bud Light and Jack Daniels as a young adult, Rhett admits that his first experience with tequila — at a bar with his now-wife, when they were 21 or 22 — was a less than positive one.
“Um, I won’t say any brands, but it was a rough experience,” he laughs, pointing out that that’s a common first experience that people have with tequila. But once he started learning about the craft and variation of the drink, Rhett says, he got inspired to dig deeper into what a tequila drink could be.
“When I started tasting sipping tequilas, I was like, ‘Dang, this is not what I tasted when I was 21 years old,’ you know?” he adds. “I think it’s all about getting that bad memory out of your head.”
“The variation of what’s out there is crazy,” Worn agrees. “It’s so much different than going into the bar and taking a shot of tequila whenever your favorite team scores a touchdown, or whatever. We just wanted to create something that was different from the traditional.”
Rhett and Worn’s tequila company deviates from tradition in another major way, too: “[I’m] pretty sure that we’re the only tequila company to release in a winter month, ever,” Rhett points out. “We made it a point to release in January for the specific reason of going, ‘We want this to be geared towards the adventurous spirit. We want this to be geared toward the outdoorsman.
“So there’s a lot of unique stuff about it, but I would say that particular thing is pretty cool,” the singer sums up. “Because a lot of tequilas get released around Cinco de Mayo, and we wanted to just skew the box a little bit and go, ‘Let’s release it in January. Let’s see what happens.’ It’s been pretty cool to watch the response.”
Ever since its arrival last month, Dos Primos Tequila has been available in select U.S. markets, and it’s also available for purchase online.