Why Ryan Reynolds won't sell his stake in Aviation Gin
The new owner of Aviation Gin, actor-producer Ryan Reynolds reveals his favourite gin cocktails and why he's not planning a George Clooney Casamigos-style buy-out of the brand.
Every day it seems there is a new gin released, all over the world. Have we reached peak gin?
I don't know. I just know what I like. For me, the film industry and the alcohol industry are not too dissimilar in that they are both about putting out a great product. They are both great marketing. With respect to marketing, it's about that connection to the product. I have an incredible, authentic and passionate connection to Aviation Gin.
But in terms of, are we reaching peak gin? I don't know, I would say that we've reached Peak Vodka or Peak Whisky. For me, it was a huge whitespace in that area.
How is Aviation Gin standing out in the market?
For starters, I think it's the best gin on the planet and I mean that. I think that's what it's doing to stand out. I think more and more people are drinking gin. We have a really aggressive and smart marketing campaign behind the product. Anyone can sell, and do a quick kick-ball change to sell a consumer on a product, but it has to be backed up with something with real proof. For me the proof is in the pudding, in this case, the gin.
Was there a steep learning curve when becoming involved in distilling?
No, I still know nothing.
It's been refreshing in that sense. I work with excellent people who understand the craft gin business. For me, its about knowing what I like. When I'm on a film set, I don't necessarily know how to hang 5K lights to make everyone look pretty and make it sunlight on the inside of a building. There are many aspects and nuances of it that I don't know and I'm excited to learn about. For me, it's been mostly about introducing people to this product.
How much are you involved in the marketing for Aviation?
It's not unlike marketing a movie. I mean, I love marketing. Marketing is one of my biggest passions, besides performing. I love that part of it.
I especially like it when marketing is an extension of whatever you're trying to introduce people to. 'Deadpool', for instance, I love that the Deadpool marketing campaign has always been, and will always be, a direct extension of the movie. We're not just showing scenes from the movie, we're showing additional footage, new things.
With Aviation, I haven't had to do that much. There's a ton of unsexy parts to it. It's the flying to Dallas and talking to buyers. I FaceTime huge board meetings, hotel meetings. All kinds of stuff. It's the legwork. That's the part I enjoy. I don't mind going into a room and talking to people about why I love this so much. I think that's how you build. I don't think you build it by clever fun social media stuff or viral videos - even though we've done some of those things because it's fun for me to do. It's really about the legwork.
What have you loved about getting involved in the gin business?
I love this nitty gritty stuff. I love learning about the day to day operations. I'm an actor. I'm also a producer and a writer so when I'm working on films that's what I equate it too. Because the only other job I had was as a forklift driver and no one wants to hear about that.
[But] you're not going to see me in the distillery, pretending like I'm making the gin. The whole company would be on fire within an hour.
What's a sexy gin cocktail?
Gin rickeys. It's an old school F. Scott Fitzgerald kind of drink. I just imagine gin rickeys on a hot summer day.
What's the best drink to make for friends?
You can't go wrong with a Negroni. it goes well with the under-40 crowd. But my mom loves Negronis, and she's in the over-70 crowd. But she loves to drink. I'd say that's the [drink] that pulled me back into gin.
Are you gunning for a George Clooney-level Casamigos-style buyout ?
That would be horrible. Of course you want the business to be extremely profitable and everyone involved wants that to happen. But I also love the day to day stuff. I'd kind of miss it. It's dovetailed really nicely into my other job. If [a buyout] that did happen, I would very quickly try to stay on and [remain] a key part of Aviation for as long as possible.
Do you have to have a certain amount of Aviation gin on set at all times?
It's probably not the best place to have too much of that . I'll never forget going into Jeff Bridges' trailer once after we did this movie about 10 years ago. It was after work, which was important. He said, 'Hey Ry, you want to go have a little splash?' And it's Jeff Bridges, so it's like, 'Of course I do, Mr Bridges.'
He poured me like a highball glass of some kind of vodka. I think that was the last time I drank vodka. But I put that whole thing back trying to impress him. When I left that trailer, I was legally boneless. I was poured out of the trailer, and the next thing I knew, it was the next morning.
Usually I have some Aviation in the trailer but it's an after-work special. But if we're night shooting, then it's all night.
How have you used social media to market this brand?
I don't do too much social media with Aviation. I think we do a healthy amount of it. When you go to my page you'll see what's pinned, but I think eventually the company will have to move past just my face.
Aviation Gin is distributed in Australia by Vanguard Luxury Brands.