The original Patrón Tequila was produced by Casa 7 Leguas, one of the oldest Mexican distilleries. St. Maarten Spirits (owners John Paul DeJoria and Martin Crowley) purchased the brand rights in 1989 and in 2002 production moved to a new distillery.
In 2000, Ed Brown took over as CEO, and began to distance the Patrón brand from the reputation of tequila in the US as a bad-tasting spirit and what people drank for extremely quick intoxication. Following the advertising strategy of Grey Goose, Patrón presented its tequila as “premium” and signaled “taste and sophistication” through individually-numbered glass bottles. The target audience is mostly vodka drinkers in nightclubs and trendy bars. Through persistent references by country music and hip hop singers, and by Lil Jon in particular, Patrón has become a fixture of popular culture.
In January 2018, Patrón was sold to Bacardi, the world’s largest privately held spirits company, for $5.1 billion.