Ryan Reynolds made a lot of headlines yesterday when it was announced that his gin company, Aviation American Gin, sold for a reported $610 million. If you believe the headlines, you might think the Deadpool star made that much himself. He didn’t. Gossip Cop can explain, as best we can.
A few years ago, it became very fashionable for stars to endorse, or indeed, even start, liquor brands. Diddy famously started the trend with Cîroc vodka, but the biggest splash came from George Clooney and his tequila brand, Casamigos. Clooney owned one-third of the brand, as did Cindy Crawford’s husband, Rande Gerber, when the brand was sold to Diageo in 2017 for a staggering $700 million.
Like Reynolds, it’s almost impossible to know how much money Clooney personally made on the deal. Financial transactions of that size are understandably complex, but reliable sources put the number around $230 million that found its way into Clooney’s bank account. Reading into the deal for Aviation, also purchased by Diageo, Reynolds probably hasn’t made nearly as much.
The headline in many outlets was that the deal netted $610 million, but that’s not the whole story. The initial payment to the stakeholders in Aviation is $335 million, but the deal could add another $225 million over the next ten years, depending on sales performance. If all the performance goals are met, then yes, the owners of Aviation will make the full nut of $610 million.
This is the ultimate question here, and it’s pretty much unknowable at this point. Aviation American Gin was sold to Diageo by Davos Brands. Davos bought the gin company from the original distillers in Portland in 2016. Reynolds bought his stake in the company in 2018, and he was made a brand ambassador and a creative director for the brand.
This is also where it gets tricky. It’s never been publicly acknowledged just how big a piece Reynolds bought in 2016. It could be 1 percent, it could be 50 percent. The number is likely closer to 1 than 50 though. Numbers on that Davos deal aren’t publicly available either, so getting a gauge on what Aviation Gin was worth when Reynolds bought in is impossible. So the number is anyone’s guess, honestly.
That’s probably not what you were hoping to hear, but it’s the truth — there is just no way to know for sure. That’s between Reynolds and his accountant. But it is certainly a lot of money. Maybe not the “F-you” money people think, but a whole lot by most standards. Even Reynolds himself acknowledged that it’s not making him as rich as he thought. Let’s be honest, he’s one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood and married to one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, so they are doing just fine. Still, Reynolds hilariously pointed out that maybe he’s not rich enough to throw up double birds to everyone in his orbit. At least, not yet.