In recent years, an increasing number of celebrities have invested in or even launched their own brands of alcoholic beverages. George Clooney and Diddy were among the first years ago, but now Blake Lively, Dwayne Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Eva Longoria, Gabrielle Union, Nick Jonas, Kate Hudson, Blake Shelton and more have joined the seemingly endless list of alcohol-related celebrities. production lines.
For these stars, the bet has undoubtedly paid off. As they say, the rich get richer. But as a business owner, you can get buzzed like your favorite stars – no booze needed. It’s just a matter of finding the right celebrity investor.
Why celebrities are increasingly investing in liquor brands
From hard liquor to soft drinks to non-alcoholic mixers, what makes these alcohol-related businesses so attractive to the biggest stars? Mark Haas, CEO and president of CPG food and beverage company The Helmsman Group, said it all comes down to lifestyle branding and how society normalizes alcohol.
“Celebrities today have so much media power and a platform to communicate more about who and what they are,” Haas said. “Historically, celebrities would have entered into license agreements for royalties. Alcohol has always been taboo and many of these royalty agreements contained morality clauses. Today, alcohol no longer seems to be the forbidden territory it once was. Celebrities are free to engage in marketing and spirits [are] more lucrative equity territory.
The alcoholic beverage industry is unquestionably profitable. Online alcohol sales, take-out cocktails, and alcohol apps have all thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Statistical predicts that by 2025, the global alcoholic beverage market size will exceed $2.2 trillion. So it makes sense that celebrities looking for big profit potential would flock to this market sector.
“These high-profile celebrities are also wealthy people with cash for the right business opportunity,” Haas explained.
Of course, a celebrity-backed investment offer is also a boon for the brand itself.
“Numerous studies have already shown that celebrities can affect consumer behavior, especially if the celebrity’s image aligns with the brand,” said Clint Proctor, editor of Investor Junkie. “Having celebrities as investors can help you increase your sales and make your brand more recognizable to people. Celebrity fans or followers [will] Associate the positive image of the celebrity with your brand.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: While digital marketing and partnering with influencers to build your brand can benefit businesses of all sizes, you should verify the legitimacy of someone’s followers before paying them for any sponsorships. Learn more about influencer marketing fraud.
Celebrities may also be attracted to the alcohol industry because of its turnaround times. Some spirits, like tequila, can be produced quickly. When a unique product can be created quickly, it can be shipped and sold quickly. When a product takes a long time to manufacture, it is more difficult to sell in high volume.
Savvy celebrity investors can research products and companies with short lead times to maximize sales and profits. Quick production times are also helpful for celebrities, who can then be ready to sell their next batch as soon as the first launch sells out. And yet, “luxury” alcohol brands with long production and aging periods can also generate high profits, because they can be sold at a high price.
Famous celebrity-owned liquor brands
Ryan Reynolds’ purchase of Aviation Gin is a prime example of investment in a famous liquor brand. Like any private equity investor, Reynolds invested in the company, backed it, and cashed in. The main difference, Haas said, is that Reynolds’ involvement with the brand was “just earth-shattering.”
“Ryan Reynolds has millions of fans and followers and great material to work with – who can forget his adverts?” he said. “Three years of investing and Reynolds has taken in $610 million.”
Here are some other notable celebrities with thriving liquor brands on the market.
- Diddy’s Ciroc Vodka: Along with George Clooney, Diddy was among the first celebrities to enter the liquor business with his investments in Ciroc Vodka. Diddy was a spokesperson for Ciroc in the late 2000s and took over US marketing of the product. Many attribute Ciroc’s success and notable name entirely to Diddy’s influence.
- Jay-Z’s Cognac D’usse: Jay-Z — and his famous wife, Beyoncé — have been investing in liquor brands for years as part of their massive empire. Jay-Z’s involvement with D’ussé even included a 1969 Grand Champagne cognac with his signature and a gold leaf seal on the bottle, which Sotheby’s values between $24,000 and $75,000.
- Skinnygirl by Bethenny Frankel: Frankel’s iconic bottles with their “skinny girl” silhouette can be found on shelves virtually anywhere liquor is sold. Skinnygirl, known for its flagship margarita Skinnygirl, offers low-calorie versions of wine, cocktails and other popular beverages, as well as products like salad dressing. Frankel founded Skinnygirl in 2009 and was one of the first female celebrities to get started.
- Matthew McConaughey’s Wild Turkey Longbranch Bourbon: Despite being the face of Wild Turkey Longbranch, which is made in Texas just like the star, McConaughey isn’t as featured on the company’s website as you might expect. Wild Turkey’s relationship with McConaughey is more like a partnership; therefore, its website emphasizes the rich history and experience of the brand rather than the star.
- Limoncello Premium by Danny DeVito: DeVito’s jaunt into the celebrity booze world easily stands out from the pack. This is because there are very few American brands of limoncello, even though the drink is very popular in Italy. In 2007, DeVito found a hole in the market and filled it with organic lemons from southern Italy and his own massive star power.
Point: For a slam dunk like Danny DeVito’s limoncello, your company needs to conduct market research to identify what your competitors are doing and what your target market is missing.
- David Beckham & Haig Club: Beckham helped set up Haig Club in 2014 and maintains a brand partnership with him. The Haig Club site points out that the soccer star has flown thousands of air miles around the world to support the brand at events and launches.
- Drake’s Virginia Black American Whiskey: Virginia Black’s website is sleek, chic and moody – it even comes with musical accompaniment from a Canadian R&B duo. Drake is nowhere to be found on the site, which seems to be extremely rare in the realm of celebrity booze. The whiskey itself leans sweet with prominent flavors of vanilla and cinnamon.
- Post Malone House #9: Bottles of House No. 9 rosé wine feature stylized images of a sword, which references one of Post Malone’s notable facial tattoos. The sword can also be found in a dream shot video at the top of the House #9 website. The video features Post Malone in reminiscent attire in a summer garden, lending itself to the light flavors of rosé.
- Kendall Jenner’s Tequila 818: Like its owner’s family mogul, 818 Tequila emphasizes family and luxury at every step. Only the finest ingredients are grown and harvested on family farms to produce award-winning tequila. Interestingly, Jenner changed her look from sleek and expensive to jeans and a baseball cap for the images on the 818 site, as if she too was harvesting agave on the farm.
How to Attract a Famous Investor to Your Startup
Whether or not you’re in the food industry, your startup might be ripe for funding — and who says investment can’t come from a famous person? While pre-existing relationships with celebrities can certainly help, there are things you can do to make your product appealing to a potential investor.
According to Proctor, the key to attracting high-profile investors (or any investor, for that matter) is to thoroughly research the investor’s background.
“You’ll need to make sure it’s an investor whose image is aligned with your brand,” Proctor said. “It’s also important that their followers or market also coincides with your target market, otherwise the partnership might not be beneficial for both parties.”
Did you know? There are different types of business investors you can pitch to raise capital for your startup. From venture capitalists and angel investors to crowdfunding, the right type of investment depends on your business goals and how much money you need.
Proctor further advised to make sure the investor is really sold on your brand before signing any deals. “Organized partnerships can easily be noticed by people, so having an investor who is really excited [about] and supporting your brand and vision can massively help your business,” Proctor added. [Find out how to attract investors with the right marketing strategy.]
With the right product and the right celebrity behind it, you too can get drunk on money – without the hangover.