You’re not imagining it: Growing numbers of celebrities, sports figures and pop culture icons are launching their own alcohol brands.
Some say they are doing it for the love of the spirit. While they’re not involved with distillation, many have some input into the final flavor profiles. Others have partnered with well-known distilleries or master distillers to build their brands.
And of course, some see promotional or investment opportunity. In the wake of celebrities like George Clooney selling Casamigos and Ryan Reynolds selling Aviation Gin for around $1 billion and $610 million respectively, both to Diageo, it’s no wonder more big names are thinking about getting into the game.
So which celebrity alcohol ventures are worth a pour? Here are 10 bottles from well-known stars that we rated 90 points or higher.
Also known as “The Rock” from his days as a pro wrestler and heavyweight champion, Johnson is an actor with film credits including Jumanji, multiple installments of the Fast & Furious franchise and Central Intelligence, among others. In 2020, he cofounded the Teremana Tequila brand.
Teremana Añejo Tequila, $40, 93 points. The newest expression from the brand backed by Dwayne Johnson offers zesty jalapeño and vanilla aromas. Honey and butterscotch coat the palate, enlivened by bracing clove, cayenne and white pepper on the exit. The overall impression suggests a butter cookie rolled in spices. Best Buy. Buy on Drizly.
After a breakout role in the 1993 film Dazed and Confused, in the 2000s McConaughey became known for romantic comedies such as The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. In 2016, he stepped into the role of creative director at Kentucky’s Wild Turkey, where he collaborated on Longbranch Bourbon with master distiller Eddie Russell.
Longbranch Bourbon, $40, 92 points. Mellow aromas of maple, vanilla and a hint of dried cherry entice. The palate echoes those flavors, bringing in a light flurry of clove and cinnamon spice. Adding water softens the profile to vanilla cookie dough flavor, sprinkled with ginger and allspice. It was filtered through Texas mesquite charcoal. Buy on Drizly.
Singer-songwriter Mars has a string of Grammy award-winning hits. He also has an equity stake in Panama rum-maker SelvaRey, which makes white and aged rums as well as coconut- and chocolate-flavored rums. In an interview with Bloomberg, the “Uptown Funk” singer said he wanted to take rum to a “funkier” place.
SelvaRey Chocolate, $29, 90 points. This chocolate-flavored dark rum is soft and delicious, with a slightly nutty flavor and a dusty cocoa finish. Mix with cold-brew espresso and coconut milk for a memorable coffee-spiked libation. Buy at Total Wine & More.
In 2008, actor, comedian and former Saturday Night Live star Dan Aykroyd founded the Crystal Head vodka brand. The memorable skull bottles designed by John Alexander were inspired by Day of the Dead celebrations that Alexander had attended in Oaxaca, Mexico, for several years. In 2020, the brand released an expression called Crystal Head Onyx, distilled from Mexico’s blue agave.
Crystal Head Onyx Vodka, $55, 90 points. Packaged in a black, skull-shaped bottle, this vodka is distilled from agave. Expect faint honey notes on nose and palate, leading into distinct accents of coconut and clove on the finish. Buy on Wine.com.
In 2019, Kosovo-born pop icon Ora took on the role of chief creative partner and shareholder of Próspero. Though the Tequila is made by Stella Anguiano, one of the first female Tequila distillers, at the Don Roberto Distillery in Jalisco, Ora told Wine Enthusiast she is “more than just a spokesperson” for the brand.
Próspero Añejo Tequila, $45, 97 points. Complex and pleasing, with an intriguing savory-sweet profile. Look for a deep burnished gold hue and aromas of jalapeño and dried oregano melding with coconut, vanilla and lemon peel. The palate opens with dried herbs and mild jalapeño heat, fading into a long coconut and vanilla cream finish, braced up with baking spice sparks. Overall, excellent example of an añejo. Buy at Drizly.
Bradshaw Bourbon debuted in 2020 and is a collaboration among the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Kentucky whiskey-maker Green River Distilling and Silver Screen Bottling, a company that specializes in alcoholic beverages tied to TV, film, sports, gaming and music enterprises.
Bradshaw Bourbon, $40, 91 points. From former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, this two-year-old Bourbon is bottled at 51.9% “as a tribute to Terry Bradshaw’s passing completion rate of the same number.” What’s in the bottle is tinged with roasted nuts and vanilla on nose and palate, finishing with hints of black pepper and a waft of smoke. Buy at Total Wine & More.
Anglo-Irish Celtic punk band The Pogues own 50% of this Irish whiskey (the other half belongs to Halewood International, a U.K. spirits brand). It launched in the U.S. in 2016, though it had been available earlier in England and Ireland. The liquid is made by West Cork Distillers, an independent distillery in County Cork.
The Pogues Whiskey, $40, 91 points. “The official Irish whiskey of the legendary band,” this robust spirit is made at West Cork Distillers, one of two remaining 100% independently owned and operated distilleries in Ireland. The aromas suggest stone fruit and a whiff of smoke. The palate also shows smoke, plus dried apricot richness and a mouthwatering saline finish. A mix of whiskies aged 5 to 10 years. Best Buy. Buy on Drizly.
In 2012, the rapper, mogul and Champagne owner signed on as a co-owner (with Bacardi) and the face of D’Ussé, a Cognac brand launched as a competitor to Hennessy.
D’Ussé VSOP Cognac, $50, 91 points. This Cognac offers a deep copper-penny hue and rich aromas of caramel and dried fig. The silky palate echoes the dried fig note, alongside a Port-like hint of red fruit, finishing notably long on notes of cocoa, cinnamon and cayenne. Buy on Drizly.
In 2018, the iconic singer-songwriter launched a whiskey brand that referenced his 1973 song Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. Cofounded with Marc Bushala, who also helped bring Angel’s Envy whiskey to market, the Tennessee-based brand sources whiskey from various U.S. locations. The collection includes bourbon, rye and a number of limited editions.
Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey, $50, 92 points. Look for a mild aroma that marries honey and oak. The palate leads with oak, then toasty vanilla and dried apricot, with a long, warming, peppery finish. Adding water brings out softer honey and chamomile notes. Music-lovers take note: This brand was developed in collaboration with Bob Dylan. Buy on Drizly.
In 2020, Lakers basketball star LeBron James invested in Tequila and mezcal brand Lobos 1707, reportedly after falling in love with the Tequila during a Mediterranean vacation.
Lobos Reposado PX Tequila, $48, 92 points. This Tequila is aged six months in American oak, then finished in PX Sherry casks and blended with a touch of extra añejo Tequila. The end result is rich, honeyed tones with a bit of savory edge. Cooked agave and coconut aromas lead the nose, while the palate opens with distinctly peppery vibes. Bell pepper and jalapeño segue into clove, cayenne, coconut and vanilla. Buy on Drizly.