We’re calling it: Diageo made one of its smartest moves ever when it acquired Aviation American Gin last year… and it wasn’t because the spirit is so good.
It’s the fact Ryan Reynolds came as a very active part of the package, unlike its acquisition of George Clooney’s tequila brand Casamigos.
In August 2020, Diageo bought Davos Brands, which co-owns Aviation American Gin with Reynolds, in a deal worth up to $US610 million. And it secured Reynolds’ marketing genius as part of the deal.
As Reynolds noted in a statement following the sale of Aviation: “A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation Gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit. What I didn’t expect was the sheer creative joy learning a new industry would bring. Growing the brand with my company, Maximum Effort Marketing, has been among the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with.”
Crafted in Portland, Oregon, Aviation is the world’s highest rated gin (Wine Enthusiast gives it 97 points). It’s a softer and smoother style of gin, with juniper in the background and citrus and floral notes in the front, designed for more balanced cocktails.
In 2019, Aviation grew its volumes at over 100%, contributing 40% of super premium gin segment growth. And now Reynolds has set his sights on UK domination, through an unexpected move: he bought a Welsh soccer team Wrexham earlier this year with fellow actor Rob McElhenney.
As part of their deal to take 100% control of Wrexham AFC from the Wrexham Supporters Trust, Reynolds and McElhenney invested £2million into the club.
And the decision is paying off big time for both the club and Diageo. The team hasn’t lost a match this season; TikTok, Aviation Gin and Expedia have signed on as sponsors; and its popularity is spiking around the globe.
When Wrexham won its first game of the season, Reynolds celebrated by raising an Aviation cocktail on TikTok, in a video that’s been viewed 1.3 million times.
This week, it was announced the club will be playable within the FIFA 22 virtual game, as the centrepiece of a partnership with developer EA Sports. The deal will see the Welsh team become the only English football pyramid club from outside the English Football League to be included.
Reynolds and McElhenney even created a humourous video to celebrate the inclusion.
“Our first full season as Wrexham owners has begun, yet many people still don’t know where Wales is,” the duo said. “Many people think that Wales is in England. It is not!
“It is in a region known as Rest of World – an important geographic area known for its random assortment of cultures, climates and football clubs.
“If you’re planning on visiting Rest of World, please consider visiting Wrexham,” the two conclude, before Reynolds is heard to mutter: “What the f*ck is Rest of World?!”
Humphrey Ker, Executive Director, said: “There are only a small number of brands within football that can be classed as iconic and that every club wants to be associated with. Everyone is truly excited about Wrexham joining FIFA 22. The co-chairmen talked about making Wrexham a global force when they became its custodians and are now able, with our fans, to take on the Rest of the World, as part of that journey.”
FIFA 22 is available worldwide October 1, 2021, on PlayStation®️5, Xbox Series X|S, PC via Origin™️ and Steam, Stadia, PlayStation®️4 and Xbox One. The FIFA 22 Legacy Edition will be available on Nintendo Switch™️.
Wrexham AFC Aviation have also teamed up to launch two limited-edition gins and associated merchandise that have seen hundreds of fans queuing up outside the Club shop to purchase them.
“It’s no secret that I love Aviation American Gin,” the actor said following the release of the first limited edition gin. “I truly believe it is the best gin on the planet. Rob and I are ecstatic to have won the approval of the Wrexham fans and the League and this bottle is for them. It’s a small first step on what will hopefully be a legendary underdog story.”