VAN HALEN Frontman Builds Marketing Empire reports: It's music industry lore and Hollywood movie cliche that rock stars fritter away their millions on partying and booze. Not so for rock veteran Sammy Hagar, who's actually bringing in money by turning what started, in his own words, as "a stupid rich-rock-star whim" into a growing multifaceted business.

Clubs and tequila Mr. Hagar, who has his brand logo tattooed on his arm, created and oversees Cabo Wabo Enterprises, which includes two restaurant/nightclubs, a hot-selling premium tequila brand, a growing entertainment festival and a budding merchandise line.

Unlike many marriages between brands and musicians, Mr. Hagar isn't a celebrity endorser licensing his name. He built his Cabo San Lucas cantina in the '80s because he wanted a place to play music when he vacationed there. He later bought a local tequila manufacturer.

His friends and advisers thought he was crazy, he said, and his accountant quit, saying the ventures were a waste of money. Instead, the cantina flourished and the tequila sold.

Mr. Hagar is now assembling the first sales force for Cabo Wabo tequila, which is a top-five seller in the super-premium-tequila category dominated by such brands as Patron and Cazadores, according to Adams Beverage Group. The top sellers moved between 200,000 and slightly more than 300,000 cases in 2003, Adams statistics show, upward of twice the Cabo Wabo volume, which Barry Augus, who heads Cabo Wabo Enterprises, expects to reach 110,000 cases this year. Read more.


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