Imbibe like a star with celebrity-created spirits

Celebs in the booze biz

George Clooney

Celebrities who put their names on spirit brands generally fall into two categories – those who are merely doing an endorsement (and getting a nice passive revenue stream) and those who are invested in it.

It is those latter folks, those who have “skin in the game,” who love the liquor in question, have had a say in its design and care deeply about the craft of distilling. They really want to put their money into something they believe is a quality product.

And more and more of them are getting into the business, hoping to share their love of spirits with the buying public. Such as the following.

George Clooney, Casamigos Tequila: The Oscar-winning actor and producer and his pals restaurant mogul Rande Gerber and Discovery Land Company CEO Mike Meldman, came up with the idea for a tequila meant to be consumed “on the rocks, by the shot and at times straight from the bottle.” Four years after its founding, the brand was so successful that Diageo bought it for $1 billion in 2017.

Sam Heughan, The Sassenach: The “Outlander” actor’s love of whiskey dates back to his teens in his native Scotland and through his Great Glen Company recently created what he believes is “the perfect whiskey blend,” one that pleases his palate and he hopes that of others. He even thinks his character of Highlands warrior Jamie Fraser would approve. “Jamie makes it,” he quipped.

Marilyn Manson, Absinthe Mansinthe: A 2000 vacation in the South of France with Johnny Depp introduced the controversial rocker to absinthe and he fell in love and created this Swiss-made spirit. Though greeted by mixed reviews, the brand did win a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2008.

Dan Aykroyd, Crystal Head Vodka: Noting the lack of additive-free vodka on the market, the “Ghostbusters” actor partnered with artist John Alexander to conceive the idea for this spirit, a blend quadruple-distilled from Canadian sweet corn with a $55 per quart price tag and a unique skull-shaped bottle.

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, Dos Hombres Mezcal: The former “Breaking Bad” co-stars were in a New York sushi bar when they hatched the idea for this “perfect” artisinal mezcal, a unique blend of what they say is “the finest Espadin agave, hand-selected from the hillsides of a small village in Oaxaca, Mexico.” At over $60 a quart, it’s unquestionably top shelf.

Ryan Reynolds, Aviation Gin: The “Deadpool” actor acquired a stake in this Portland, Ore.-produced gin in 2018 after trying it and declaring it “best-tasting gin in the world.” What makes it distinctive? According to its website, it has a “much smoother, easier drinking flavor than typical London Dry gins.” You be the judge.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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