The small-batch, Portland-made spirits, according to the bottles, offer up a “vanilla honey smoothness and subtle oak finish.” Certainly more importantly to Rich, they got a nod of approval from his Granny, whose assessment, says TasteofCountry.com, was, “Well, John Daniel, I done think you rung the bell.”
It’s not the singer/Big & Rich member’s first foray into the food and beverage world — he has a Redneck Riviera-branded bar/venue running in Las Vegas, plus one due to open here in Nashville in February. His Redneck Riviera brand jerky is stocked in Kroger locations all over Middle Tennessee (and elsewhere) too.
John Rich is also far from the first country star to take a stab at making spirits — he’s in great company that grows every year. Below, some of the other country voices — from Nashville and elsewhere — who have bottles on their resumes.
The roots of this whiskey brand are clear in the name: Hootie and the Blowfish voice-turned-country star Rucker has a backstage ritual of toasting before a show with a glass of whiskey. So naturally, he developed his own brand. It’s only available in South Carolina, but their website says plans to launch in Tennessee are in the works.
Like John Rich, Florida Georgia Line are in the country biz and the bar biz — their FGL House restaurant/venue is in downtown Nashville. The duo’s attraction to mixing up musical styles inspired the approach to Old Camp’s peach/pecan blend.
Beach Whiskey and partner/country singer Jake Owen skipped the stuff of trad country songs — brown, aged, straight whiskey — and went for flavored white whiskeys, with Island Coconut and Bonfire Cinnamon blends, made for mixing. The brand launched here in Nashville last August, and now you can grab it at honky-tonks, bars and shops all around town.
Given the hit “Whiskey River,” busy moonlighter Willie Nelson kind of had to get into a whiskey brand. The country icon had a hand in bringing bourbon name Old Whiskey River to life, and bottles came with a Willie guitar pick. It’s not clear whether OWR is still in production— the brand’s Internet presence seems to have lapsed, and finding a bottle in person seems to take a hunt. But it’s gotten great reviews for the price (in the $20/750ml range).
Country star/The Voice coach Shelton is part of the Smithworks Vodka family, which, despite his “Sexiest Man Alive” adornment, is a pretty simple, unfancy family. Nothing complicated in their flagship spirit: straight vodka with corn from Kansas, Missouri and Shelton’s Oklahoma, and water from Arkansas.
It wasn’t a shock when famously beachy Kenny Chesney looked in a Caribbean direction for his spirits brand. Blue Chair Bay Rum’s offerings are all well-suited for drinks with umbrellas, ranging from coconut spiced and banana rum to key lime rum cream.
Any others we missed? Help round out the country-singer shelf on our home bars in the comments.
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