WATCH: Celtics Owner Wyc Grousbeck + His Cincoro Co-Founder Emilia Fazzalari On Tequila, Love + The NBA Bubble

CincoroPhoto Credit: Cincoro

Just after National Tequila Day, Haute Living sat down for a live chat with the husband and wife team of Wyc Grousbeck and Emilia Fazzalari to talk tequila, their award-winning brand—which is just under a year old!—and what’s happening with the upcoming NBA season. Check out a bit about Boston Celtics owner Wyc, Emilia, the brand and their co-owners, who include NBA legend and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, Milwaukee Bucks owner Wes Edens and LA Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Wyc shares his thoughts on the coming NBA season, what thee bubble really looks like and what it’s really like working with his NBA rivals. Plus, Wyc and Emilia share the story of their Las Vegas elopement and how Jeanie Buss signed their marriage license. There’s a Celtics-Lakers document floating around there somewhere!

THE FOUNDERS

Cincoro

Photo Credit: Cincoro

From left to right: Cincoro’s founders include a quarter of team owners in Wyc Grousbeck, Michael Jordan, Wes Edens and Jeanie Buss, as well as the brand’s CEO, Emilia Fazzalari.

THE BRAND

CincoroPhoto Credit: Cincoro
Cincoro Tequila was born from a passion to create the world’s finest tequila and is uniquely made with the highest quality 100% Weber Blue agave from private farms in both the highland and lowland regions of Jalisco, Mexico. The agave is hand-selected, slow-cooked and distilled in separate small batches, creating two distinct distillates, which are then mixed together to create an innovative new blend. Beyond the innovative creation process, the story behind Cincoro is both compelling and unexpected. Five friendly business competitors met for dinner and bonded over their shared passion for fine food, fierce friendship, and tequila. The name Cincoro translates to “five gold” in Spanish (cinco meaning five, oro meaning gold), paying homage to the five founding partners and their pursuit to create the gold standard in tequila.

EMILIA FAZZALARI

CincoroPhoto Credit: Cincoro
Emilia Fazzalari is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cinco Spirits Group LLC. Prior to Cincoro, Emilia began her career in financial services at Moody’s Investor Service, where she gained valuable experience that paved the way for her successful career. She then spent 21 years at Bloomberg L.P. (1990-2011) where she held a number of senior positions, including Head of Commodities Product Development, Head of Product Strategy, and Head of the Global Trading and Portfolio Systems Division and Head of Marketing for Bloomberg TV. Following Bloomberg, Emilia spent five years (2011-2016) at Poten & Partners as Head of the Commodity Consulting & Analytics Department as well as Head of Marketing. She serves as a Trustee of the Giving|Grousbeck Fazzalari charitable foundation, is an active member of the Trust Board of Boston Children’s Hospital, sits on the President’s Advisory Council at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is a member of the Leadership Council of the Malala Fund, and a Founding Member of the Wonderfund.

WYC GROUSBECK

CincoroPhoto Credit: Cincoro
Wyc Grousbeck has been Lead Owner and Governor of the Boston Celtics since he conceived of, and led, the purchase of the team in 2002. He named his group “Banner 17 LLC” to signify his primary goal, the Celtics winning a 17th World Championship. That goal was achieved in 2008, as the Celtics defeated the Lakers by 39 points and became World Champions for the first time in 22 years. Wyc co-founded Causeway Media Partners, a private equity firm managing over $340 million, focusing on sports and technology investments. Causeway’s investments include Omaze, SeatGeek, Zwift Formula E Holdings and Flosports. He is the former Chair of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, a world leader in fighting blindness and deafness. He launched a capital campaign to seek cures for blindness and deafness, which has raised in excess of $250 million. Wyc and Emilia are involved in a number of charities including the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, Boston Children’s Hospital, Mass. Eye and Ear, Camp Jabberwocky, Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, National Braille Press, Make-a-Wish Foundation, USA Rowing, Robin Hood, and the Lovelane Special Needs Riding Program.

WATCH OUR CHAT WITH EMILIA + WYC BELOW!

KEY QUOTES

Wyc: [“These bottles] were just an idea 12 years ago. You can sort of hang 12 gold medals in your mind around these these — they’ve won 12 awards. You know, it’s an amazing thing to get there. It took everybody. So Emilia said, ‘I’m going to raise my hand and be the CEO and really try to get this going.’ Michael went off secretly because he has such a drive to be the best but also he’s got a real sense of humor and fun and he wanted to surprise everybody. We were having meetings about the bottle… and he came back with his longtime partner Mark Smith with this bottle design, which has just won a gold medal of its own. There are so many cool things about this bottle… there are so many Easter eggs hidden there.  about the model that would take an entire webinar but their Easter eggs hidden in there… Like, theres’s a 23 degree angle right here at the top, just to name one thing, and one at the bottom because 23 is a number that’s very important to us. There are  so many things about Michael going off and doing that really perfectly with Mark Smith, who was his longtime collaborator at the Jordan Brand and at Nike, and Jeanie Buss pitching and having it become the official tequila brand of the Los Angeles Lakers without us even really asking, just bringing that to the table. Wes Eden’s 400 companies, a legendary entrepreneur, every step of the way. Late nights, early mornings, all day.”

Emilia: “When Covid hit, the first thing w did was take a step back. We have an amazing team, we’ve got 33 people at the company and they’ve come from some of the greatest brands in the industry. We wanted to make sure everyone was safe and healthy… What felt right to us was finding ways to give back to our community, the hospitality community. The first thing we did was go all digital. We doubled down on our e-commerce strategy and launched at Cincoro.com; 30% of those proceeds go to the U.S. Bartender’s Guild. We also launched a campaign called ‘Toast Your Team.’ We felt that for us, tequila brought us together. Toast Your Team is about connecting with people you love during this pandemic…The concept is that you toast on social media. And for every toast that you post, Cincoro gives. We give $20 to the U.S. Bartender’s Guild and the Restaurant Strong Group. Our goal is to reach $100,000.”

Wyc:  “The secret of pro sports and I know owners in the NFL, Major League Baseball and NHL as well now, after being in the NBA for 18 years, but the secret is that the owners get along in general in general and we get along with the players as well. We’re partners in the NBA with the players and split the revenues evenly. So there’s all sorts of working together, you want to win the banner or die trying. You want to go all the way. And when it comes to the playoffs, you know, that it’s all on the line.  I met Jeanie Buss and Michael Jordan in 2003 when I came in the league and knew them, but we weren’t going out and having a bunch of dinners; Wes Eden’s came into 2014. And and so by the time the 2016 we were acquaintances and and good colleagues for years at the NBA, but not the kind of friendship that that Emilia’s dinner sparked [the one that launched Cincoro]. Wes and I will be going down to the bubble together tomorrow for our game. The Bucks play the Celtics tomorrow in the bubble — we’ll be in the bubble — there’ll be a lot of teasing and a lot of back and forth and not too many hurt feelings for Wes at the end when the Celtics win.   

Emilia: “It was a pretty interesting dynamic watching this unfold with these rivals. But what I learned was that there’s so much mutual respect and it just raises everybody’s game… This is a little unknown fact… [Wyc and I ended up] eloping. We ran off to Vegas and eloped… The wedding plans were getting out of hand… I texted MJ, Wes and Jeanie and said, ‘I’m heading to Vegas, Wyc and I are getting hitched. Why don’t you come out and join us?’ Wes was in Dubai and MJ was in [Brazil]… I didn’t give much notice… But Jeanie said, ‘Yes I’m coming!’ So Jeanie ended up being our witness and signing our marriage license. The owner of the Lakers signed our marriage document. [Wyc: There’s a Lakers/Celtics document on file in Clark County, Nevada.]”

Wyc: “The reality is down there is that it’s like Disney but where you have that special pass where you can cut the line. They’re in a special part, they have dedicated hotels. I saw a couple of my guys on Instagram or whatever, sort of, just the two of them in one of the giant hotel pools down there just throwing a football back and forth. I mean, I think that we’re doing our best as a league to make it as comfortable as possible or reasonable, but it really is a work environment and the guys are really focused on now that they’re there, they’re focused on let’s go win these games. They’re going to give away a banner and a trophy this year, so why not us?” 

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