Diageo, the world’s largest spirits maker announced that it is buying Aviation American Gin, which is co-owned by Ryan Reynolds. Diageo appears to have a special affinity for Hollywood brands after snapping up George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman’s Casamigos tequila brand for $700 million, with an additional $300 million based on performance.
While Reynolds’ deal falls short of the $1 billion bet, it’s still a startling paycheck: $610 million total depending on sales, with $335 million upfront. Reynolds will retain an ownership interest.
Said Reynolds: “A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation Gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit. What I didn’t expect was the sheer creative joy learning a new industry would bring. Growing the brand with my company, Maximum Effort Marketing, has been among the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with. I want to thank Diageo for their incredible team and passion. We’re so excited for the next chapter of Aviation Gin, which, I promise, will require just as little reading.”
This news comes on the heels of reports that Johnny Walker and Smirnoff posted a yearly profit of half what they made year-over-year thanks to COVID-related shutdowns.