Screenshot: Ryan Reynolds (YouTube)

Update, July 24, 2019: This video was comes from Escape Velocity Content, and was directed by Bryan Rowland (also the Director Of Photography) and produced by Alec Eskander.

Original story, December 17, 2018: Thank you, Willamette Week, for drawing our attention to this unconventional ad for Aviation Gin. Actor and Deadpudlian Ryan Reynolds purchased “significant ownership” in the Portland, Oregon-based spirit back in February, and he’s now helping to shill for one of the best famous person alcohols out there with an ad that skewers craft spirit culture.

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So, to be clear, this is an ad for a craft spirit, the central thesis of which seems to be, “haha, losers who make craft spirits, aren’t we the worst?”

This is pretty funny. (I’m particularly partial to misting oranges with the tears of one quarter of the main cast of Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place.) If you’re going to be a celebrity gin brand owned by a handsome Canadian best known for being a sardonic bro, this is a pretty good approach to take. It’s not a new gimmick—see this video from 2014 for another example, this time taking the piss out of craft beer—but it’s a funny one, when done well, and this is.

What makes Reynolds’ crack at the artisanal parody particularly interesting is that Aviation is absolutely a craft spirit. Imagine Burger King running an ad about how desperate fast food advertising can be. It’s a safe bet that Aviation doesn’t apologize to each juniper berry individually, and I’d be very surprised if each day at the distillery begins with hours of meditation and a nice peaceful scooter ride through an idyllic glen, but who knows. Still, here’s a bit of what actually goes into making the gin, from Aviation’s website:

  • The process begins with a “precise blend of botanicals, sourced from around the world–cardamom, coriander, French lavender, anise seed, sarsaparilla, juniper, and two kinds of orange peel.”
  • Those botanicals are placed in nylon sacks and then dangled in a grain spirit for 18 hours.
  • That infusion “is then pumped into a stainless steel still along with pure water.”
  • “Every bottle of Aviation Gin is handcrafted in small 100-case batches by a small, dedicated team of master distillers in Portland, Oregon.”
  • Oh, and the labels and caps and stuff are all applied by hand.

So, the botanicals may not be cage-free, but the approach is exactly what the video parodies. I guess that means Aviation is the most self-aware famous person alcohol on earth?

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