Ten musician-backed spirits brands
Rock bands, rappers and singer-songwriters have all recognised the drinks industry as a worthy venture. We look at 10 stars who have moved from music into the world of spirits.
The spirits industry has seen a number of famous faces front advertising campaigns and sign on as brand ambassadors, with many musicians taking a keen interest in launching their own brands.
On our list, there were plenty of rock bands tapping into the sector including AC/DC and Alice in Chains, while Tequila appeared to be a popular venture for many artists.
Some singers have also announced their ambitious plans to build a distillery, including songwriting pioneer Bob Dylan and American rapper Flo Rida.
Click through the following pages to see our pick of 10 musicians that have moved into the spirits sector.
Justin Timberlake – Sauza 901
An early entrant to the spirits scene was American singer Justin Timberlake, who first launched 901 Tequila in 2009 with business partner Kevin Ruder. Beam bought a large stake in the company in January 2014, and renamed the brand Sauza 901.
The Tequila is made with Blue Weber agave aged for at least seven years and undergoes column distillation followed by two pot distillations.
Drake – Virginia Black Whiskey
Canadian rapper Drake launched Virginia Black in 2016 in collaboration with De Léon Tequila founder Brent Hocking. The liquid is a blend of two-, three- and four-year-old Bourbon whiskeys, and is said to have a high-rye mash bill.
In October 2016, Drake broke the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s record for the largest single day launch sales with his Virginia Black brand.
Since then, the brand has had a busy few years including new adverts, the launch of an initial public offering and a sponsorship deal with the Daytona International Speedway race track.
Most recently, Drake secured a deal with luxury spirits retailer Le Clos to stock Virginia Black at Dubai International Airport.
AC/DC – Thunderstruck Tequila
Rock band AC/DC partnered with Amber Beverage Group’s Fabrica de Tequilas Finos distillery to launch Thunderstruck Tequila in 2016.
AC/DC has previously dabbled in beer, wine and the ready-to-drink (RTD) sector, including Rock or Bust beer, Hells Bells and Back in Black wine, and a Bourbon and cola RTD.
Available in Silver, Reposado and Añejo varieties, Thunderstruck Tequila is made from 100% organically-produced Blue Weber agave at Fabrica de Tequilas Finos’ distillery in the town of Tequila, Mexico.
The brand expanded its availability in travel retail in 2018.
Bob Dylan – Heaven’s Door
American whiskey welcomed a new face to the category in 2018 with singer-songwriter Bob Dylan launching a range in collaboration with Angel’s Envy Bourbon founder Marc Bushala.
The Heaven’s Door range includes Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Double Barrel Whiskey and Straight Rye Whiskey.
In April 2019, Dylan revealed plans to open a new distillery for the brand in Nashville, Tennessee, which at the time of the announcement was due to open in autumn 2020.
The brand also recently entered the UK market through an agreement with Drinksology Group’s distribution and marketing arm, When We Are Giants.
Sammy Hagar – Santo Tequila
Former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar (pictured right) teamed up with American chef Guy Fieri (pictured left) to create Santo Tequila Blanco in April last year.
The Tequila is the second expression in Hagar’s Santo range, following the launch of the “world’s first” Tequila-mezcal hybrid in 2017 – created in collaboration with Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. However, Levine is no longer with the brand.
Hagar first made a move into Tequila in 1996 when he founded the Cabo Wabo Tequila brand. He sold an 80% stake in the brand to Campari Group in 2010 for US$80 million. Hagar then sold the remaining 20% to Campari several years later.
Santo Tequila Blanco is described as an “old world-style” Tequila and is made with 100% Blue Weber agave.
Rita Ora – Próspero Tequila
English singer-songwriter Rita Ora entered the Tequila sector in April 2019 after joining forces with spirits marketing firm Conecuh Brands to launch Próspero.
Ora is shareholder and chief creative partner at Próspero Tequila, which is produced at the Don Roberto Distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, by Stella Anguiano.
Próspero Tequila is available in three variants: Blanco, Reposado and Añejo.
Nick Jonas – Villa One Tequila
In August 2019, singer-songwriter Nick Jonas and US designer John Varvatos (pictured left with Jonas) joined the agave spirits industry with the launch of Villa One Tequila.
Ultra-premium brand Villa One has been created as part of a partnership between Jonas, Varvatos and Amber Beverage Group’s (ABG) Fabrica de Tequilas Finos distillery in Jalisco.
Villa One is made using 100% Blue Weber agave that is five to seven years old and sourced from the Highlands and Lowlands of Jalisco.
The Tequila will launch in the UK this year through ABG-owned distributor Cellar Trends.
Alice in Chains – All Secrets Known
Last year, American rock band Alice in Chains teamed up with Chicago-based distillery Few Spirits to launch a new Bourbon finished in ex-Tequila barrels for six months. The combination of Bourbon and Tequila was chosen due to its “close association” with rock and roll.
Bottled at 50.5% ABV, All Secrets Known takes its name from the opening track of the band’s 2009 release Black Gives Way to Blue and features a custom-designed label by artist Justin Helton.
Motörhead – Motörhead spirits
In October last year, English rock band Motörhead launched its own single malt whisky, dark rum and vodka brands on Amazon UK.
The whisky was created in partnership with Swedish producer Mackmyra and has been matured in new American oak barrels for five years, while the dark rum hails from the Dominican Republic.
Motörhead Vödka has been designed for either sipping neat or with a mixer.
Flo Rida – Victor George Spirits
Earlier this year, American rapper Flo Rida become an equity partner of vodka producer Victor George Spirits.
Tramar Dillard, who is known professionally as Flo Rida, teamed up with Victor G Harvey (pictured left with Flo Rida), CEO of Victor George Spirits, to build a 13,000-square-foot distillery on Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The site is due to open in late 2020 or early 2021.
Victor George (VG) Spirits produces VG Vodka and plans to introduce additional lines including whiskey, gin, Tequila and speciality liqueurs.
This is not Flo Rida’s first venture into spirits. In October 2015, the rapper signed a multi-year deal with Empire Rockefeller Vodka, acting as a global brand ambassador.