Whether it’s Sarah Jessica Parker’s Invivio X SJP wine, Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation American Gin, or Dwayne Johnson’s Teremana Blanco, sometimes you’d like to try a spirit touted by one of your favorite actors.
Unfortunately, all celebrity brands aren’t carried by local liquor stores, and that’s the problem Grapestars wants to fix for you.
Launched this summer by Miami childhood friends Stephan Fortier, Jean Pelletier and Robert Pelletier, this app-based company delivers celebrity-driven spirits, wine and beer anywhere you can receive alcohol (about 45 states now).
I asked Fortier about Grapestars and its celebrity clients:
How actively involved are the celebrities with the products that bear their names?
“Surprisingly, very active. With their core income from movies and music greatly reduced compared to years ago, and the very lucrative recent transactions in the spirit industry (George Clooney, Ryan Reynolds), celebrities now see their wine or spirit brands as their potential main cash cow. Plus, with the high-quality celebrity products being put out there, they need to really take this seriously to be able to compete in an already busy and high-performing landscape.”
Do the celebs own the name of the bottle(s) or the actual production connected with the product, i.e. the vineyard?
“It’s a mix of both. Some, like Brad Pitt, Clooney, (Ryan) Reynolds, own the brand and some are doing endorsement deals with existing brands.”
This is a good, not-done-before niche for delivering drink products. Who came up with the idea and how?
“It was through a lot of research. Compliance is a real challenge when selling wine and spirits. We took years to come up with the business model, but in the end we found a really elegant solution to a very complex problem.”
The founders brought Kevin Harrington on board as chairman and investor. Harrington is known as one of the original sharks on “Shark Tank,” and has helped launch a number of very successful businesses.