Aug 18, 2020 - Economy

Diageo buys Ryan Reynolds' liquor brand in $610 million deal

Ryan Reynolds waving at a red carpet event.

Photo: Jason Mendez/WireImage

Diageo (LSE: DGE) agreed to buy Aviation American Gin, a liquor brand co-owned by actor Ryan Reynolds. The deal is worth upwards of $610 million, including $335 million upfront and $275 million in sales-based milestones over 10 years.

Why it matters: This is Diageo's second stab at a celebrity-backed liquor brand, having previously paid upwards of $1 billion for George Clooney's Casamigos tequila, and comes as it's under severe earnings pressure due to bar and restaurant closures.

Details: The acquired entity is officially known as Davos Brands, and includes tequila, mezcal, and sake products in addition to AAG. Reynolds is expected to retain an equity position.

The bottom line: "The deal will expand Diageo’s presence in super-premium gin, which has surged in popularity over the past decade as small-batch variants of the spirit have been marketed in conjunction with upscale tonics such as Fever-Tree or mixed into popular cocktails such as the Negroni." — Thomas Buckley, Bloomberg

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