High spirits in Hollywood: What’s behind the boom of celebrity liquor brands?

High spirits in Hollywood: What’s behind the boom of celebrity liquor brands? - Business and Finance - News

The Fascinating Story Behind Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston’s Co-Founded Mezcal Brand, Dos Hombres

The world of celebrity-backed alcohol brands has witnessed a significant surge in recent years, with an increasing number of stars jumping on the bandwagon. Among these is actor Aaron Paul and his former “Breaking Bad” co-star Bryan Cranston, who co-founded Dos Hombres Mezcal in 2019. The duo’s decision to enter the spirits industry might seem unusual, but according to Paul, “I like drinking.”

The Celebrity-Backed Spirits Trend: A Game Changer in Hollywood

In the midst of a cocktail boom, brands are eager to tap into the star power of celebrities. Stars like Robert De Niro (Vdka 6100), Issa Rae (Viarae Prosecco), and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Teremana Tequila) have joined the trend, attracting consumers with their unique alcohol brands. This shift is a stark contrast to Hollywood’s past when big names shied away from endorsing alcohol.

The Allure of Celebrity Endorsements in the Spirits Industry

“It’s an opportunity, to be honest,” Cranston shared with CNN. The industry values the clout and connections of celebrities, making them attractive partners. This open door led to significant business ventures such as Casamigos Tequila, which was sold to liquor giant Diageo for $1 billion.

The Rise of Casamigos Tequila: A Game Changer in the Spirits Industry

Casamigos, founded by George Clooney and Rande Gerber in 2013, quickly gained attention and was eventually sold to Diageo. The sale marked the beginning of a gold rush in the spirits industry as several other celebrity-backed brands followed suit, including Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin and Conor McGregor’s Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey.

The Appeal of Equity in a Celebrity-Backed Spirits Brand

“Star status can create instant brand awareness and consumer interest,” Lisa Hawkins, senior vice president for public affairs for the Distilled Spirits Council of the US, told CNN. Celebrities aim to eventually sell their brands to larger holding companies for a significant payout.

The Role of Creative Artists Agency in Celebrity-Backed Spirits Brands

Michael Yanover, head of business development for Creative Artists Agency (CAA), revealed that celebrities generally hope to sell their brands to larger holding companies. Having equity in a company is more appealing than an endorsement since it results in a cash payout if the brand is sold.

The Impact of the Pandemic on Celebrity-Backed Spirits Brands

“The trend shows no sign of slowing down,” Hawkins said. The pandemic accelerated the trend as more people began making cocktails at home, leading to a surge in spirit sales and increased interest in celebrity-backed brands.

Why Tequila is a Favorite Among Celebrities

Tequila, a favorite among celebs, has experienced significant growth in recent years. US sales of tequila rose by 8% last year to $6.5 billion and are projected to overtake vodka as the top-selling spirit in the next few years. Additionally, tequila is quicker to produce and sell than whiskey or scotch.

The Value of Retailers in Celebrity-Backed Spirits Brands

“Celebrities can tell a brand’s story, bring massive brand awareness and provide an incredible opportunity for trial,” Andrew Chrisomalis, co-founder of Aviation Gin and Pantalones Tequila, told CNN. Retailers value the star power of celebrities to attract shoppers, often resulting in a premium retail price.

The Risks Associated with Celebrity-Backed Spirits Brands

Despite the numerous success stories, there are risks associated with celebrity-backed spirits brands. The partnership between Diageo and music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs ended in a racial discrimination lawsuit, while Jennifer Lopez’s Delola line faced criticism for her perceived hypocrisy regarding alcohol consumption.

The Future of Celebrity-Backed Spirits Brands: Opportunities and Challenges

“There’s a tremendous appetite in the alcohol space,” Yanover said. “There’s always a desire to come up with the next thing that is exciting, vibrant and different.” Even with increased competition, there’s still room for new brands to succeed. Kylie Jenner’s recent launch of a canned vodka-soda brand, Sprinter, is just one example of the ongoing trend.