Bob Dylan's Signature Whiskey and Other Musicians With Alcohol Lines
“Holy shit, Bob Dylan’s doing a whiskey!”
That was the initial reaction of Marc Bushala – who co-founded the spirits company behind Angel’s Envy bourbon – when he heard that one of his favorite singers was entering the booze business. “It’s the last thing you’d ever expect,” Bushala says. But he was eager to help Dylan realize his vision, and together they created Heaven’s Door, a new line of spirits that initially includes a rye, bourbon and double-barreled whiskey.
Dylan’s not the only musician with a spirits brand. Building your own booze is a popular hobby for rappers (Jay-Z, Drake), rockers (Sammy Hagar), and country singers (Toby Keith, Florida Georgia Line). “Celebrities bring incredible scale to a spirits brand – from their loyal, engaged following to their broad reach and appeal,” says Dan Cohen, senior director of PR and Social Media for Beam Suntory, producer of Jim Beam. “Conversely, spirits brands allow a celebrity to expand their own reach and to express themselves in new ways.” And, in some cases, to make major money – Jay-Z recently became the wealthiest man in hip-hop, and Forbes attributed his rise to the top spot in part to the increasing value of his alcohol brands, Armand de Brignac champagne and D’Ussé cognac. George Clooney and his partners stand to make a billion dollars from the sale of their Casamigos tequila brand.
Dylan’s move into whiskey is a savvy one, because whiskey, brandy and cognac “have experienced a boom” recently, according to one industry report. But to capture potential drinkers, Cohen believes spirits like Heaven’s Door need something extra. “The brand and celebrity should ideally share similar values,” he says. Bushala agrees, so the Heaven’s Door portfolio will keep evolving over time, “not unlike [the singer’s] music has over the years.” “We like to think of Bob as a restless spirit,” Bushala says. “That idea of constantly changing – that’s our underlying M.O.”
Sammy Hagar and Adam Levine: Santo Puro Mezquilla
Partying in Mexico, Hagar and Levine started debating which was better: tequila or mezcal. They wound up mixing the two. “I knew we were on to something,” says Hagar, who sold his last tequila brand for a total of $91 million. “Because it made drinking tequila boring.”
Experts say: “Smooth and mellow like an old friend, but fresh without the worm.” –OldTownTequila.com
As craft beer took over their hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Hanson brothers “learned everything we possibly could,” says singer Taylor. They hatched the name for their pale ale on their bus. “Everybody laughed and said that would be ridiculous,” he says. “So ridiculous it was actually amazing.”
Experts say: “With a name like Mmmhops, you’d think it’d have more [of] a hop character.” –BeerAdvocate.com
John Legend: LVE Wines
“For many years I thought my music and wine make a great pairing,” says Legend. So in 3015, he launched his own line of Napa Valley wines. “It’s part of every day at our house,” he says, “whether it’s a group dinner or just a lazy night watching reality TV with Chrissy [Teigen].”
“Rich, chocolate-covered black-cherry flavor lingers on the finish.” – Wine Enthusiast
Dave Matthews: Dreaming Tree
After tagging along with a winemaker pal, Matthews decided to launch Dreaming Tree Wines, named after his 1998 song. Online, Matthews’ tour chef recommends healthy recipes to pair the wines with. “Turning people on to wine is kind of an exciting idea,” says Matthews.
“Just like his concerts, Dave has created a magical experience that is meant to be shared.” – Busted Wallet
Jon Bon Jovi: Hampton Water
Bon Jovi turned his son Jesse on to rosé during their Long Island vacations. “Whenever we go to the Hamptons, we always bring cases of the stuff,” said Jesse, who persuaded his dad to go into business. Added Jon, “I work for Jesse.”
“I can’t remember the last time I reached for a second glass of rosé.” – EmpireWine.com
Darius Rucker: Backstage Whiskey
Rucker – who gives a backstage toast before every concert – decided to capitalize on his ritual, creating a whiskey series that includes flavors like Cinnapepper and Peach Mint. The label looks like a backstage pass: “No curfew tonight,” it reads, “11 a.m. bus call.”
“I like it better without the ice… I think I’m a little drunk.” – People