Does Kendall Jenner’s new tequila rip off an Austin tequila?

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner launched a new tequila in California this week that has striking similarities to an Austin tequila. It has a similar name, similar color logo, it’s the same type of tequila, and it’s even made at the same Mexican distillery.

818 Tequila from Jenner is a twice-distilled blanco, retailing for $44.99. Austin’s Tequila 512 is a triple-distilled blanco and priced online at $26.99.

Tequila 512 posted about the similarities on social media, saying, “Doesn’t seem very cool. What do you think?”

Tequila 512 CEO says they’re just pointing out ‘obvious similarities’

Tequila 512 CEO Nick Matzorkis confirmed the two companies do not have any of the same ownership ties and are completely separate.

“To be clear the post does not accuse them of ‘stealing our idea,’ but does point out obvious undeniable similarities that in their entirety makes a worthy point on the face of it,” Matzorkis told KXAN.

Tequila 512 has been on store shelves since 2012 and won one of the industry’s top awards in 2015 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Tequila 512 has 27,300 Instagram followers, a far cry from Jenner’s 164 million Instagram followers.

Kendall Jenner’s tequila ad also criticized for cultural appropriation

Jenner released the ad for her new 818 Tequila this week and has taken heat online, accused of cultural appropriation. The ad showed Jenner in braids and a cowboy hat, riding on horseback through an agave farm, smiling with some of the workers, and sitting on some of the harvested agave.

One Twitter thread blasting the tequila has thousands of likes and retweets.

Others came to Jenner’s defense saying that many celebrities, including George Clooney, LeBron James, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have all started their own tequila companies without the same type of backlash as Jenner.

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