Musician Enrique Iglesias has sold more than 58 million albums and recorded 22 No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, and now the recording artist can add spirits company co-owner to his résumé. In September 2011, Iglesias and Miami-based Atlantico Rum announced a partnership. The pop star chatted with Wine Enthusiast about his passion for spirits.
Wine Enthusiast: Have you always been a fan of rum?
EI: No, I wasn’t really a big rum drinker. When I was of legal age in Spain, I had it during vacation as rum and Coke. Then, I started enjoying it again when a friend kept bringing a bottle over to my house. We would have a drink of Atlantico. He’s like, “you’ve got to try this,” and through him is how I got started on Atlantico.
W.E.: There’s probably any number of spirit brands that would have loved to partner with you. Why did you select the small-production Atlantico?
EI: First of all, I liked it. So, I knew that I didn’t have to fake it. There comes a point in your career where you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. I think Atlantico is fun and different. And, I like [co-founder] Aleco [Azqueta]. When I first met him, he seemed like a very serious, hard-working guy. We got along, and I thought it was in a way a small company just starting up. It was very interesting to me.
W.E.: A lot of musicians use spirit brands in their songs. Hennessy, for example, has been in several rap lyrics. Can you see yourself singing lyrics with a rum line?
EI: If it goes with the song, definitely. I wouldn’t just stick [a lyric] in there, and that’s one thing that Aleco and I spoke about from the beginning. I just want this to be completely organic and not forced in any way. Even if I put the bottle in one of my videos, I don’t want it to be excessive. I don’t want people to think that I’m shoving this product down their throat. I want them to know I’m passionate about Atlantico, that I love it and I drink it.
W.E.: Why invest in rum over other spirits?
EI: Rum is one of those drinks that little by little is coming back, and it’s more of an acquired taste. Once you get used to it and once you love it, it’s very hooking. That’s exactly what happened to me. I used to drink more vodka when I would have a drink, and now I’m drinking more rum.
W.E.: You said this partnership was not fake. Do you feel some celebrities endorse things that they are faking so they can get a payday?
EI: Well, that’s just being part of a celebrity. But, I’ve never had to endorse a brand that I hated or disliked. Have I endorsed brands that I’m less passionate about than other brands? Definitely, but never a brand that I disliked or didn’t consume myself. I’ve [endorsed] brands I like more than others, but I’ve never done anything that I didn’t feel good about.