September 7, 2023
Licensed products in the beer and spirit category continues to grow. License Global’s Barbara Smith wrote about the sector’s growth in her feature, “The Spirit of Celebrity,” in the March issue of License Global. Our McKenna Morgan touched on the phenomenon again in May in her feature, “Cinco De Mayo: A Licensing Celebrity.” And Ben Roberts homed in on the beer factor in his piece, “Brand Expansion in a Can: Why Beer Collaborations are Bewitching Consumers.” The bottom line is, we know that tying a celebrity to an alcohol product is a formula that works. 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. And adult beverage companies are increasingly leveraging this factor. In 2018, the marketplace featured fewer than 40 celebrity-affiliated alcohol-related brands. Now there are over 350 different beer and spirit brands tied to famous faces.
And the adult beverage market is big – and growing – business. According to data from Statista, the global alcohol market is expected to surpass $2.2 trillion by 2025.
Football legend, Joe Montana, is the most recent celebrity to tie his name to a spirit brand, recently announcing a partnership with The Gold Bar Spirits Company, makers of award-winning Gold Bar Whiskey. For the collaboration, Gold Bar and Joe Montana will release the Joe Montana Whiskey Collection in September. This special-edition whiskey release will roll out via Gold Bar’s distribution partner, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. The announcement was made at the Gold Bar Distillery’s new visitor center and tasting room on Treasure Island in San Francisco.
Known for leading the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl victories, as well as winning the National Championship for Notre Dame, Montana was named the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player three times. Montana is widely regarded as one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time.
“Collaborating with the team at Gold Bar Whiskey to develop this collection has been a fun experience,” says Montana. “From the unique flavor profiles to the meaningful blend numbers and creative designs, the collection will offer a variety of selections for a gameday beverage, with a twist of nostalgia. I’m looking forward to sharing the whiskey, as well as the experience of Gold Bar’s incredible new visitor center here in San Francisco, with fans.”
Founded in 2013, Gold Bar Whiskey is known for its award-winning double-casked, wine barrel-finished whiskies. Smooth, with a complex flavor profile and housed in an iconic gold ingot-shaped bottle, each of the company’s offerings is touted as a masterpiece.
“Gold Bar is made for moments worth celebrating, so it made perfect sense to collaborate with one of the most celebrated championship quarterbacks in the history of the game,” says Elliott Gillespie, founder, president, Gold Bar.
The Joe Montana Whiskey Collection was specially crafted for whiskey enthusiasts and the 49ers faithful who have been key supporters of the distillery, located in the San Francisco Bay area. The brand collaboration is set to receive continued exposure as Gold Bar Whiskey enters its fourth year as the Official Whiskey of the San Francisco 49ers.
Along with a boon to brand owners, these partnerships can also be quite lucrative for celebrities. George Clooney sold his tequila brand, Casamigos, to Diageo for $1 billion in 2017. Three years later, Ryan Reynolds sold his Aviation Gin brand for $610 million.
The late Jimmy Buffett inspired (and was invested in) the still-popular Margaritaville Spirits.
Expect to see more celebrities jumping on this endorsement and partnership wagon. The $37.6-billion-per-year spirits sector remains a major growth area in the alcoholic beverage business overall, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, an industry trade group reporting the sector has gained 13% market share since 2000, surpassing beer for the first time in 2022.
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