The celebrity spirits market seems to be wide open lately, with Ryan Reynolds pushing gin, Jon Bon Jovi pushing rosé, and George Clooney selling his tequila line for nearly a billion dollars. The latest such entrepreneur is a bit more surprising: Bob Dylan.
The New York Times reports that Dylan’s name came up hen he filed a trademark application for “bootleg whiskey.” Fan and liquor entrepreneur Marc Bushala followed up with Dylan, talking out of the lower-rent “bootleg” concept, and helped him develop his whiskey products. “Next month, he and Mr. Dylan will introduce Heaven’s Door, a collection of three whiskeys—a straight rye, a straight bourbon and a ‘double-barreled’ whiskey.” They will retail for about $50 to $80 a bottle, starting next month.
Bushala stresses that Dylan is not just a figurehead, but a co-creator. In a statement to the Times, Dylan explained, “We both wanted to create a collection of American whiskeys that, in their own way, tell a story. I’ve been traveling for decades, and I’ve been able to try some of the best spirits that the world of whiskey has to offer. This is great whiskey.” Promotional photos show the man himself sampling his own whiskey. “The label design is derived from his ironwork sculptures, with rural iconography—crows, wagon wheels—in silhouette.” In a crowded whiskey field, an immediately recognizable brand like Dylan’s may help Heaven’s Door stand out from the pack.
While this may seem like an odd departure from the folk rock hero (or is that rock folk), let’s remember what Dylan said long ago: “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” And apparently, right now what Bob Dylan wants to do is create and sell whiskey.