I recently heard the news that Michigan Brewing Company, brewers of Kid Rock’s American Badass beer, went belly up. While it’s sad to see a craft brewery go under and get gutted at auction by MillerCoor’s craft beer division Tenth and Blake, I’m kind of pleased to see a “celebrity” beer bite the dust.
Nothing against Kid Rock (we went to high school together and he’s a nice guy), but I have come to the realization that a celebrity has to satisfy certain criteria for me to consider their attempts to brew a beer anything more than a money grab or a way to extend their “lifestyle brand.”
Here are my three rules for taking a celebrity beer seriously, even before considering how the stuff tastes:
- RULE #1: The celebrity must be a beer geek. I bet if many of you guys and gals hit the big time, you’d consider opening up a brewery. Why? Because you’re beer geeks, and if you had the resources to make beer a part of your professional life, you’d jump at the chance. You might suck at running a brewery, but at least you wouldn’t be looking to extend your portfolio of branded merchandise into the beer world (looking at you, Mmm-hop!). Instead, your heart would be in the right place and you’d simply be using your wealth and status to buy a plaything that you adore, like a billionaire buying an NFL team. That’s what being rich is all about!
- RULE #2: The celebrity must have homebrewed at least once in their lives BEFORE they decide to produce a beer. This is my acid test for a celebrity to prove they were a hardcore beer geek before they were famous enough to have the opportunity to have their own beer. The reason is simple: If you have any real interest in producing a beer, there’s a very good chance that you’ve homebrewed at least once. Now, I’m not saying that Bradley Cooper can’t suddenly get turned on to homebrewing by a buddy and decide that he wants to go pro – that happens to IT guys, art directors and college students all the time – but I think it has to happen in that order. The other way around (hey, I’m famously famous and want my own brand of beer – how do you make this stuff anyway?) will most likely produce bad results.
- RULE #3: The celebrity cannot put their name on the label. This is a biggie for me. If you’re truly serious about being a brewer, then keep your likeness away from your beer. Adrian Grenier, who played Vince on Entourage is a co-owner of Churchkey hipster-pilsner, but his face is nowhere on the label. I really like that. Unfortunately, he or his partner Justin Hawkins aren’t really beer geeks, so they don’t comply with RULE #1 above, but if any celebrity-associated beer out there comes close to making the grade, it’s Churchkey.
The truth is, I don’t think any celebrity beers comply with these three rules. Actually, I don’t know of any celebrity beverages that do. I know that P-Diddy built the CIROC Vodka brand, but he’s not a master distiller by any means, and I remember former Rams coach Dick Vermeil opened a vineyard when he retired from the NFL, and that he took it very seriously and produced some decent wines. But I just did a little googling and discovered his brand is called “Vermeil Wines” and there are cheesy “coach” references all over the website, clearly violating Rule #3. Bummer.
Maybe one day there will be a beer backed by a celebrity that’s actually worth celebrating. I just hope if there is, we won’t even know they’re involved, we’ll just love the beer.
Have you tried any celebrity hooch? Any of it decent? As always, let us know below.