In Brief

Next round is on Ryan Reynolds: actor’s Aviation American Gin sold in £460m deal

The brand is being purchased by drinks giant Diageo

Ryan Reynolds is toasting his success in the business world after becoming the latest celebrity to make lucrative profits from endorsing or owning a premium alcohol brand. 

Alongside majority owner Davos Brands, the Canadian actor has a stake in Aviation American Gin, which is being snapped up by drinks giant Diageo as part of a $610m (£460m) deal. The purchase will also see Diageo acquire the other spirits in the Davos portfolio: Astral Tequila, Sombra Mezcal and TYKU Sake.

The sale comes after Aviation American Gin reported a 100% growth in sales volumes last year, becoming the second-largest player in the super premium gin segment in the US. 

Diageo will pay an initial sum of $335m (£255m) and then up to a further $275m (£205m) based on the performance of Aviation American Gin over a ten-year period. 

“This reflects the brand’s current growth trajectory and expected upside potential,” according to a statement from Diageo, which also owns Guinness, Smirnoff and Baileys.

Ryan Reynolds co-owned Aviation American Gin

Diageo

Ryan’s ‘creative joy’

Deadpool star Reynolds will retain an ongoing ownership interest in Aviation American Gin and will remain the public face of  the gin for the next ten years, Sky News reports.

Celebrating his windfall, he said: “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.”

Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, added: “We are confident that Aviation American Gin will continue to shape and drive the growth of super premium gin in North America and we are looking forward to working with Ryan Reynolds and the Davos Brands team to accelerate future growth.”

David Beckham Haig Club
Raise a glass to the stars

The Aviation American Gin deal is Diageo’s fourth big tie-up with a celebrity-fronted alcohol business. 

In June 2017, Diageo bought the Casamigos tequila company, founded by Ocean’s Eleven star George Clooney, in a deal worth $1bn (£790m), according to the BBC.

And in 2014, Diageo and Sean “Diddy” Combs jointly bought US tequila brand DeLeon, as Reuters reported at the time. This purchase was Diageo’s second partnership with the rapper, who became the face of Ciroc vodka in 2007 under a joint marketing and profit-sharing deal. 

Diageo also partnered with former footballer David Beckham and music mogul Simon Fuller to launch Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky in 2014.  

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