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Diageo, the alcohol giant which owns spirits like Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, announced Monday its agreement to take the “Deadpool” actor’s American-style gin under its wing. Reynolds will retain an ongoing ownership interest in the gin.
The deal is worth up to $610 million, and includes an initial payment of $335 million and further potential consideration of up to $275 million based on sales of Aviation American Gin over a 10-year period, Diageo said. Diageo’s spirits portfolio also includes gins like Tanqueray and Gordon’s.
Gin's global renaissance has taken off in the states in recent years. Distillers sold close to 10 million 9-liter cases of gin in the U.S. in 2019, raking in $918 million in revenue last year, a 3% increase over 2018, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. Renolds bought a minority stake in Aviation Gin in 2018.
“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,” Reynolds said in a statement Monday, adding that growing the brand with his company Maximum Effort Marketing has been “among the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with.”
Movie stars have been cashing in on the business of spirits in recent years. Similarly, George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila company, owned with Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman, sold to Diageo for $700 million, with another $300 million based on its performance in a 2017 deal.