In the Doghouse

Hot in Hollywood: Celebs Shilling for - and Owning - Alcohol Brands

PDiddyCirocMarch 18, 2013

The latest hot trend among Hollywood's biggest names is not launching their own perfume or creating a designer collaboration at Target - it's much more dangerous than that. No, the latest Hollywood phenomenon is celebrity-branded booze. From liqueur to limoncello, wine to whiskey - it seems like everyone who is anyone is jumping on the booze train. 
The trend spans all sectors of the entertainment industry. Musicians seem to lead the way, with entertainers as diverse as Hanson (MMMHop IPA), Sean Combs (Ciroc Vodka), Willlie Nelson (Whiskey River Bourbon), Ludacris (Conjure Cognac), Marilyn Manson (Mansinthe), Justin Timberlake (901 Silver Tequila) all shilling for brands. Actors like Dan Ackroyd (Crystal Head Vodka) and Danny Devito (Danny DeVito Limoncello) have gotten into the game. Media and reality television stars like Donald Trump (Trump Super Premium Vodka) and Bethenny Frankel (Skinny Girl Cocktails) can't be left out. Even the fashion set is throwing their hats in the ring as Roberto Cavalli has done with his namesake vodka. Not to be left out, professional sports stars are now starting brands as well. Basketball start Yao Ming now owns Yao Family Wines, which operates in China. 
The ownership arrangements of these brands are as diverse as the celebrities themselves. Some lend their name and time to promoting them in return for a big paycheck, as Snoop Dogg does with Blast by Colt 44 (Pabst). Some own the companies outright, like Justin Timberlake and Roberto Cavalli. Some even share ownership of their brands with Big Alcohol heavyweights, like P. Diddy's 50-50 ownership split of Ciroc with Diageo. In the end, some sell their alcohol company in its entirety to a Big(ger) Alcohol corporation, the way Bethanny Frankel did with Skinnygirl (sold to Beam Global in 2011) and Sammy Hagar did with his Cabo Wabo Tequila (sold to Campari/Skyy in 2009).
The phenomenon of celebrity entertainers promoting alcohol brands is clearly dangerous to public health. Celebrities send the message that alcohol is cool, sexy, and socially desirable. As public figures, celebrities are admired and celebrated by their many fans, many of whom are children. And when celebrities own alcohol brands, and sell those brands to bigger alcohol corporations for millions, it sends an even worse message. That is one true Hollywood story without a happy ending in sight.