Justin Timberlake has his own tequila, Kid Rock has a beer and Lil Jon has produced wine for nearly a year.
That combination is enough to give consumers bed spins, but it's filling the till for increasingly brand-conscious celebrities and cash-strapped companies. Fans have helped the celebrity-spirits market grow 19% this year, even though Nielsen Co. reports that sales of those brands make up less than half a percent of the liquor market.
Not so long ago, musicians' love of alcohol came through more in their lyrics than in the liquor store. Digital Underground's "Humpty Hump" drank up all the Hennessy on the shelf. Billy Joel's date had her LVMH Dom Perignon in her hand and her spoon up her nose. Busta Rhymes and Diddy passed Fortune Brands' Courvoisier.
Now, Diddy is developing and getting a 50% share of Diageo's Ciroc vodka, which resides in the shadow of the Bad Boy mogul's own brand.
"You don't want people thinking about the name Ciroc, you want them thinking about Diddy," says Nick Nanton, co-author of "Celebrity Branding You" and co-founder of the Celebrity Branding Agency. "He ideally wants them to go buy a bottle of Diddy."
Stars have pushed alcohol products since baseball slugger Mickey Mantle made Schaefer the one beer to have when you're having more than one, but the blame for recent oversaturation rests squarely on the ginger shoulders of Sammy Hagar. The former Van Halen frontman launched Cabo Wabo tequila in the late '90s and used the single "Mas Tequila" on his 1998 album "Red Voodoo" as an infomercial.
With Hagar doing the shilling and others doing the distilling, Cabo Wabo's distribution grew from 37,000 cases in 1999 to almost 150,000 in 2006. Two years ago, as rapper 50 Cent was making $100 million off the sale of his 10% stake in Vitamin Water to Coca Cola (Stock Quote: KO), Hagar sold an 80% share of Cabo Wabo to Campari (Stock Quote: CPR) for $80 million.