Over the last few years, the number of celebrities launching alcohol brands has risen sharply—their star power boosting sales.
- In 2018, there were fewer than 40 celebrity-affiliated alcohol brands, and now there are more than 350 brands backed by famous names.
- Around 24% of U.S. adults say celebrity endorsements would make them more likely to buy an alcohol brand, while 16% of adults globally say the same, according to YouGov data.
- Some of the top-selling celebrity alcohols, according to The Spirits Business…
- Diddy’s Ciroc Vodka
- George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Teremana Tequila
- Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila
- George Strait’s Código 1530 Tequila
- Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin
- Conor McGregor’s Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey
Why it’s news
The global alcohol market is expected to surpass $2.2 trillion by 2025, according to Statista data. Increasingly the percentage of that total is comprised of celebrity-launched or backed brands.
George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila is considered the best celebrity brand and best-selling tequila, holding a 22% share of the Tequila segment, according to Drizly. Ryan Reynolds-backed Aviation Gin holds a 9% share of the gin category, making it the third top-selling gin brand to date. Diddy’s Cîroc is the ninth top-selling vodka brand with 3% of shares, according to Drizly.
Celebrity-endorsed brands bring in millions for the labels each year. Celebrity endorsement of a product can increase sales by approximately 4%, almost immediately—making alcohol a good choice for celebrity branding, according to a MarketWatch study.
In the last few decades, many celebrities have sold their branded alcohol for tidy sums, including Ryan Reynolds, who sold Aviation Gin for nearly $845 million, and George Clooney, who sold Casamigos Tequila for $1 billion—while both remain as the face for the companies.
Celebrities have the money to start businesses and the power to keep them going. Many people do not know much about alcohol, but seeing their favorite celebrity endorse a bottle will likely get them to choose it among thousands of other options.
Years ago, alcohol was relatively untouched by celebrities, but Diddy and George Clooney invested in their relative alcohol brands that became very successful, forging the path for other celebrities to join the trend as well.
“Celebrities today have so much media power and a platform to communicate more about who and what they are,” says Helmsman Group CEO Mark Haas. “Historically, celebrities would have entered licensing deals for royalties. Alcohol was always taboo, and many of these royalty agreements used to contain morality clauses. Today, alcohol doesn’t seem to be the forbidden territory it once was. Celebrities are free to engage in marketing, and spirits are more lucrative equity territory.”
The global alcohol market is huge and is expected to surpass $2.2 trillion by 2025, according to Statista data. Considering the amount of money going into alcohol sales, it is not surprising that many celebrities would attempt to break into the flourishing market.
“Numerous studies have already shown that celebrities can affect consumer behavior, especially if the celebrity’s image aligns with the brand,” says Investor Junkie editor-in-chief Clint Proctor. “Having celebrities as your investors can help you increase sales and make your brand more recognizable to people. The celebrity’s fans or followers will associate the celeb’s positive image with your brand.”
Although many buyers would choose an alcohol brand because it is celebrity-endorsed, others do the opposite. Many consumers have reported that they did not choose a celebrity brand because the endorser likely knows little about alcohol, and the consumer expects it either not to be a quality product or for it to be overpriced.
Around 24% of U.S. adults say celebrity endorsements would make them more likely to buy an alcohol brand, while 16% of adults globally say the same.
Some celebrities release their brand with a story detailing why they decided to tackle the alcohol market, making it feel more authentic.
For example, when George Clooney launched his Casamigos brand, he described taste testing each batch until he could find the perfect flavor to keep at his Mexican vacation home, while singer Nick Jonas created his Villa One tequila because he thought “it would be cool.”