Diageo is spending up to $610 million to buy Aviation American Gin, co-owned by Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds, and a variety of other spirits brands. The British spirits giants already own Tanqueray and Gordon’s.
The celebrity spirits train is nothing new for Diageo, who way back in 2007 teamed up with Sean “Diddy ” Combs on Ciroc Vodka. In 2017, the company paid $1 billion to acquire Tequila brand Casamigos, which was co-founded by George Clooney.
Back in 2018, Reynolds grabbed a minority stake in the American Gin brand and the company has thrived ever since. In a statement, Diageo announced the actor would keep his stake in the Gin company.
Diageo is paying up to $610 million for Aviation Gin LLC and Davos Brands LLC, whose portfolio also includes Astral Tequila, Sombra Mezcal, and TYKU Sake.
“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,” said Reynolds about the purchase. “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.”
Aviation American Gin is the second-largest super-premium gin brand in the United States, growing volumes at over 100% in 2019 and contributed 40% of super-premium Gin category growth in the country, according to Diageo. Growth is only expected to continue as Gin sales have been on the rise across the U.S., especially among the super-premium category.
The acquisition comes just two weeks after Diageo announced yearly profits had nearly halved due to the coronavirus, which has caused widespread closures of pubs and restaurants, cancellation of sporting events, and a plunge in duty free purchases.
Diageo seems to be continuously on the lookout for new investments. Last year alone, the spirits giants increased their stake in Chinese Baijiu company Sichuan Shuijingfang Company Limited (SJF) to almost 70% and bought a majority stake in non-alcoholic spirits brand Seedlip.
Still, the purchase of Ryan Reynolds’ Gin brand by Diageo is their biggest splash since Casamigos.