George Clooney & 5 Other Celeb Spirit Entrepreneurs
Hitting up the well-trodden business trail of star spirits, actor and perma-bachelor George Clooney teamed up with Rande Gerber (who also happens to be former supermodel Cindy Crawford’s husband) to create Casamigos tequila. The company website says the duo, motivated by tequila-fueled nights (and, presumably, less than awesome mornings), wanted to drink smooth, great-tasting tequila that doesn’t need to be smothered with salt or lime. So, they made one.
Bethenny Frankel, Skinnygirl Cocktails. Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel came up with the idea for the Skinnygirl margarita in her kitchen. “Everybody wants to have a margarita, and nobody wants to feel guilty about it,” she told Inc. in 2011. The brand promptly exploded, and was sold to Beam Global Spirits & Wine for a reported $100 million in 2011. “I worked hard, I did it on my own, and I busted my ass the whole way,” she said.
Dave Matthews, The Dreaming Tree Wines. The South African songbird teamed up with winemaker Steve Reeder to create The Dreaming Tree Wines in 2011. Plucked from California wine country, the varietals on offer include chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and a red blend called crush.
Donald Trump, Trump Vodka. Not all celeb forays into the booze business work out so well. The Donald jumped on the bandwagon back in 2006 when he launched his Trump Super Premium Vodka, saying it was to be the “epitome of vodka.” The brand went under in 2010. Gothamist reported that, according to Trump’s people, the company "stopped producing vodka under the Trump trademark because the company failed to meet the threshold requirements."
Marilyn Manson, Mansinthe. Hardcore rocker Marilyn Manson launched Mansinthe, a traditional absinthe distilled from neutral grain alcohol and herbs, in 2007. He teamed up with Markus Lion from absinthe.de and the award-winning Swiss specialty distillery Matter-Luginbühl AG, which specializes in the production of absinthe in accordance with 19th century recipes.
Stacy Ann Ferguson, aka Fergie, Ferguson Crest. Blackeyed Peas songstress Fergie teamed up with dad Pat Ferguson to launch Ferguson Crest in 2006. The six-acre winery in Santa Barbara County produces a syrah, cabernet, viognier, and fergalicious: a red wine blend that combines cabarnet sauvignon, syrah, Grenache, and merlot graps. On the company site, Fergie reflects on a childhood among fruit trees and vegetable patches her father planted in Hacienda Heights.
JULIE STRICKLAND covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial endeavors of all kinds for Inc. Her work has been published in Brooklyn Based and City Limits in New York, the Free Times in Columbia, SC, Real Travel Magazine in London, and Daegu Pockets in South Korea. She lives in New York City.
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