Kendall Jenner's 818 Tequila Just Made This Big Change

Many celebrities have turned to the wine, beer, and spirits industry as a way to leverage their fanbase into incredible profits. Earlier this year, Kendall Jenner, the supermodel and television personality who rose to fame alongside her family on the hit reality show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," became the latest to enter the fold, making her first foray into the liquor business with a buzzy new brand of tequila that has been the talk of the industry — in both good ways and bad. 

Following in the footsteps of other celebrity liquor brand owners like Ryan Reynolds and Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jenner debuted her 818 Tequila brand last July, leveraging her star power to sell out of the first release within hours of the company's launch (via The Drinks Business). The celebrity tequila comes in three types — 818 Tequila Blanco, 818 Tequila Reposado, and 818 Tequila Añejo. Yet almost immediately, it faced serious backlash.

After Jenner appeared in a promotional video for the brand in which she rides on horseback through an agave field while sporting long braids and what many considered to be traditional Mexican clothing, critics were quick to accuse Jenner of exploiting and appropriating the Mexican culture she was emulating. 

Following the initial backlash, Jenner's tequila company is making numerous changes that aim to give back to the community of Jalisco (the agave-producing area of Mexico where 818, and all tequilas, are produced) and the environment as a whole. 

The tequila brand's changes are set to benefit both the planet and the local community

Appearing on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon (via YouTube), Jenner shared the details of the liquor company's new initiatives, as well as some of her inspiration behind the founding of 818 Tequila. Tequila "was always my go-to drink," Jenner said. She added that she "didn't really see one for my generation ... one that was approachable, and aesthetically pleasing, and socially aware." So, the television star set about creating a tequila brand that ticked all of those boxes.

"Not a lot of [tequila] brands that I saw were as friendly to the planet as they could possibly be, so I took that upon myself to make that a really big part of us as a brand," she said. In order to fulfill this goal, Jenner announced that 818 had partnered with the nonprofit 1% for the Planet to donate 1% of the company's revenue to planet-saving initiatives.

In addition to this monetary donation, Jenner also unveiled a program that will turn waste from the tequila-making process into sustainable bricks to donate to the people of Jalisco. "We found a way to take the agave fibers and water waste to build a sustainable brick," Jenner said. The bricks will be used for "building homes for people who need homes," as well as helping to finish construction on a hospital. The initiatives are a positive step forward when it comes to sustainability and accountability in the tequila industry.