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How much more will people pay for a celebrity drinks brand?

Celebrity-backed drinks brands continue to boom, but how much more are consumers willing to shell out for a spirit from their favourite star?

How much more will people pay for a celebrity drinks brand?

A new study by hospitality engagement platform Union has revealed that among its over 1,000 venues across the US, the average drink price for a celebrity spirits brand, at US$16.25, is 73% higher than for the average spirits drink, priced at $9.38.

At Union venues, celebrity spirits account for approximately 160 items out of more than 6,000 total spirits items sold on-premise — representing less than 3% of serves, but bringing in over 10% of sales share.

Celebrity spirits remain niche as a category, but continue to grow steadily on-premise, with share up 16% in the 12-month period ending 31 July 2023, according to Union’s report.

Gary Ross, Union’s chief growth officer, said the momentum for celebrity brands “seems to be continuing to grow as more stars get into the spirits game”.

However,  growth is largely driven by the segment’s most successful brand, Casamigos, which represents a 91% sales share of celebrity spirits at Union venues.

“George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila is the clear leader when it comes to what’s selling best on-premise, but the rest of the brands are neck-in-neck when it comes to share,” said Ross. “At number two, Cîroc rings in as the top-selling celebrity vodka brand at Union venues, despite a well-publicised legal battle involving owner Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs.”

Casamigos — launched in 2013 by actor George Clooney and partners — both dominates on-premise celebrity spirit sales and grew its share by nearly 3 points in this period. All other contenders in the Top 5 have lost some share or remained stagnant during the 12-month period, the report found. Cîroc was down by 1.5 points, Teremana by 0.5 points, D’Usse by 0.1 points, and The Finnish Long Drink 0.4 points (a gin-based RTD whose primary investors include actor Miles Teller, along with musician DJ Kygo and golfer Rickie Fowler).

While the fluctuations in share change are relative to each brand’s sales share, none of them come close to Casamigos growth trajectory, Union said.

“The report also shows that there is increased profit potential for operators who sell celebrity brands,” Ross said. The report also found that guests pay a high premium for celebrity Cognac and tequila brands, which are priced significantly higher compared to other categories of celebrity brands.

More than 50 Celebrity Spirits brands are sold at Union’s bars and restaurants across the US. Of the top-selling 15 brands at Union, nearly half are Tequila. Three are vodkas, and two are gin or gin-based. Whisky, Cognac, Mezcal, and an RTD make the list, as well.

The Top 15 Celebrity Spirits are owned by a mix of celebrity types: Musicians, actors, athletes, and one media personality — Kendall Jenner — who also happens to be the only female celebrity owner ranking among the top brands.

Top Celebrity Spirit Brands, By Category (ranked by dollar sales share):

Tequila and Mezcal
Casamigos — George Clooney
Teremana — Dwayne Johnson
Dos Hombres — Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul
Cincoro — Michael Jordan
818 — Kendall Jenner

Cîroc — Sean Combs
Mulholland — Walter Goggins
Effen — 50 Cent
Woody Creek Distillers — William H. Macy
Crystal Head — Dan Aykroyd

Heaven’s Door — Bob Dylan
Old Camp Whiskey — Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley
Sweetens Cove — Peyton Manning
Woody Creek Distillers, William H. Macy
Brother’s Bond, Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley

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