Music and alcohol are a well-matched pairing. Some artists are content with working the alcohol spokesperson angle. Others have taken it a step further, tying their name to a signature series or label, or, like Sammy Hagar and his immensely successful Cabo Wabo tequila, diving headfirst into the production arena. We’ve spotlighted some of the more noteworthy undertakings in beer, wine and liquor below.
Motörhead Shiraz / Motörhead Bastards Lager / Motörhead Vodka The British heavy metal trio has extended its reach into all three facets of the alcohol making industry, starting in 2010 with a full-bodied, fruity Australian Shiraz. The band’s line of premium wheat vodka followed in 2011, and a lightly malty and fruity Bastards Lager (“Beer distributed straight from hell”) landed last summer. Motörhead’s libations are only available in Europe right now, but according to the site, will start shipping to the U.S. (Florida included) between April and May. motorhead-drinks-shop.com.
901 Tequila Justin Timberlake’s tagline for his new tequila: “9:01 is when the evening ends and the night begins.” The premium hand-crafted, triple distilled silver tequila is produced in Jalisco, Mexico, at the Tequilera Newton distillery, apparently transforming a 60-year-old recipe into what is now 901. 901.com.
Caduceus Cellars Maynard James Keenan, frontman of Tool, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle, claims he was descended from Northern Italian winemakers and he produces a wide array of finely aged reds, whites and rosés from his Merkin Vineyards. (Yes, you read correctly — it was indeed named for a pubic wig.). caduceus.org.
Dogfish Head Occasional Rarities: Positive Contact & American Beauty Sam Calagione’s Delaware-based brewery produces limited release music-geared beers, most famously with the dark stout Bitches Brew and last year’s Belgian-style golden Faithfull Ale that commemorated Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary. He teamed up with Dan the Automator in 2012 to create Positive Contact, a 9 ABV hybrid of beer and cider brewed with Fuji apples, roasted farro, and small fresh dashes of cayenne pepper and cilantro. Due this October: American Beauty, a collaboration between Dogfish and the Grateful Dead team on a strong pale ale finished with a single not-yet-revealed ingredient suggested by a Deadhead fan and selected from thousands of site submissions. dogfish.com.
Ferguson Crest Black Eyed Peas songstress Fergie started the label in 2006 with her dad, who’s also the viticulturist on the six-acre estate. With aid from winemaker Joey Tensley, they’ve even created a premier selection that includes syrah, cabernet and viognier varietals along with a 2011 vintage dubbed “Fergalicious.” fergusoncrest.com.
Qream At first, it might seem odd that Grammy-winning rapper, musician and record producer Pharrell Williams is touting an ultra-premium cream liqueur, but he’s purposefully reaching out to his classy feminine fanbase with this Diageo collaboration, available in Strawberry Crème and Peach Crème flavors. The 12.5 ABV liqueur can be served over ice, in cocktails or even baked into cupcakes, pastries and other sweet treats. qreamwithaq.com.
Old Whiskey River Since it was made especially for Willie Nelson, master distillers Parker and Craig Beam insisted on getting the outlaw country artist’s input on everything, from name to flavor. They sent him batches throughout the process until he greenlighted the current formula — Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey made from American corn, barley and rye (grown on family-owned and operated farms located within 100 miles of the distillery), handcrafted in small batches, and aged six years in new charred oak barrels. Each bottle of Old Whiskey River, which Nelson calls “smooth, sweet and mellow,” comes with an autographed guitar pick. Available at select liquor stores and online retailers.
Claypool Cellars The Purple Pachyderm and Pink Platypus Rosé pinot noirs from Les Claypool’s Cellars are produced right in the heart of California’s Russian River Valley, where Claypool and family have lived since the mid-1990s. The musician started his business in 2007, and hired Pinot legend Ross Cobb in 2011 to “elevate our fancy booze into the stratosphere” and introduce a limited quantity, more high-end line of wines. claypoolcellars.com.
Conjure Cognac Rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges jumped a plane to France and worked directly with house master blender Philippe Tiffon at famed cognac house Birkedal Hartmann (est. 1887) to create his signature cognac, which he’s said is “strong enough for a man, smooth enough for a woman.” Conjure is made from combination of young and old cognacs, aged in 50-year-old oak barrels from Limousin, and since its release in 2009, is available in most liquor stores across the country.
Casa Noble Tequila His love for tequila led Latin guitar rock icon Carlos Santana to buy into the company in 2011. He is currently part owner and a member of the Board of Directors for the triple distilled, organically certified tequila, produced in Jalisco, Mexico. casanoble.com.
Cîroc Ultra-Premium Vodka After he became the brand ambassador for Cîroc in 2007 and helped boost the company to worldwide notice, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs was handed the reins on all brand management activities. As a result Cîroc — made from five-times-distilled French grapes and manufactured by Diageo — has slick moneyed campaigns, like 2011’s Rat Pack-inspired commercial featuring Combs and fellow celebs in Vegas, sipping Cîroc to Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady,” its tagline, “a brand that has become synonymous with celebratory occasions.” ciroc.com.
Mansinthe Is it at all surprising that, of all the artists who could’ve possibly tried their hand at crafting the green herbal liqueur, Marilyn Manson is the one who stepped up and did it? He is, after all, a connoisseur who imbibes to spur his creative process. He teamed up with Swiss Absinthe.de makers Oliver Matter and Markus Lion to create Mansinthe, distilled from vermouth, aniseed, wormwood, fennel and other fine herbs. According to its tagline, “Mansinth makes the heart grow fonder.” mansinthe.com.