Following in the boozy footsteps of Diddy and George Clooney, a new wave of young Hollywood guys are putting their money where their mouths are.
From top: It took only one sip of Aviation American Gin to seduce Ryan Reynolds.
Entertainment industry A-listers, especially men, don’t exactly struggle to make money on their blockbuster films or platinum-scoring albums, but over the last decade, a few have discovered the truest jackpot: booze. Diddy was smart enough to get into the spirits business with Cîroc, his sleek eau-de-vie vodka that made him $100 million when he set up a 50-50 partnership with Diageo. The same portfolio bought George Clooney’s Casamigos for near $1 billion (his partner is Cindy Crawford’s hubby, Rande Gerber). And John Paul Mitchell founder John Paul DeJoria’s sale of his 70 percent stake in Patrón tequila to Bacardi this year for $5.1 billion is hands down the most profitable of the products he’s made worldfamous. Starlets make millions from perfumes and cosmetics, but spirits are where the guys are scoring. It’s no surprise there’s a new class of Hollywood dudes eager to get a taste of this alcohol-fueled action.
A year ago, Ryan Reynolds tried Aviation American Gin for the first time—on the rocks—and quickly became obsessed with, as he put it, “finding some way to infiltrate the company.” He was successful this February, acquiring enough interest in the Portland-produced, botanicalheavy craft spirit to become owner. “I did this for one simple reason: It’s the best damn gin on the planet. Period. If you think all gin tastes the same, you’d be mistaken,” says the Deadpool actor. “Aviation is in a different league.” Along with being actively involved in the dayto- day and creative direction, he plans to sit in board meetings, sip gin and “spend my days being photographed intermittently clenching my jaw muscles while pointing at things and nodding.”
Historically, and still, music makers represent many of the boldfacers in the spirits game. Grammy-winning musician and rum aficionado Bruno Mars is a cofounder of the rapidly growing single-estate label SelvaRey Rum, which aims to elevate white rum and create a better natural cacao rum. Jon Bon Jovi has a new rosé dubbed Diving Into Hampton Water. And multiplatinum rapper G-Eazy’s investment in Stillhouse Spirits Co., making him co-creative director, became official last year, a result of his entrepreneurial spirit and love of whiskey. “I felt it was natural that I eventually got involved in this world,” he says. What initially drew him to Stillhouse was their “iconic” stainless steel can, new approach to clear whiskey and range of flavors. “I saw something special… something I identified with,” he adds. “I’ve always been an outsider, I’ve always felt different, and I saw that same quality in Stillhouse.” G-Eazy was superinvolved in the creation of the just-launched Stillhouse Black Bourbon, working closely with founder and CEO Brad Beckerman on everything from reinventing what bourbon can taste like (i.e. roasted coffee notes!) to the perfect weight of the solid steel cap.
It appears that for Hollywood A-listers, whether their craft is acting or music, the spirits industry offers one more outlet for selfexpression— on a majorly global stage. G-Eazy admits he previously thought the spirits industry was traditional, but this experience has helped him realize there is room for uniqueness. “We’re all about breaking barriers, shattering stereotypes and changing the game.” Cheers to that.