Forbes Article on Chesney’s Rum

posted July 1st, 2013 at 9:13 am

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by Josh Martn

Forbes has a great article on Kenny Chesney’s new rum:

“I spend a lot of my time off the road down in the Virgin Islands,” he says. “If I was going to create a rum, which is my drink of choice … I wanted it to be authentic, to try to capture my life in the islands.”

Chesney has certainly taken pains to follow through on that promise. He personally traveled to Barbados in February to sit down with a mixologist at the West Indies Rum Distillery, which was established in 1893 and now bottles brands like Malibu and Cockspur rum at a capacity of 150,000 cases per year.

He returned to his home in Tennessee with three unmarked bottles and an urge to get cracking on design, marketing and distribution. He brought in Nashville firm Flo to help with those efforts–and Chesney, who pulled in an estimated $53 million over the past 12 months, funded the entire project himself (when asked if he shelled out down seven figures, he replied: “Times a couple.”)

“I own it 100%,” he says of Blue Chair Bay. “It was important to me, it’s my inspiration, my story. It’d be hard to share that with anyone else.”

Remarkably enough, Chesney’s rum was ready in time for his show at Cowboy Stadium in May. The combination of hard work and a self-reliant approach has boosted the singer’s already-vaunted status in the country world.

Though country artists traditionally haven’t produced as many brand extensions as, say, hip-hop, Chesney and his peers may be starting to change that. Keith Urban and Blake Shelton have branched out into television, while top-earner Toby Keith launched a mescal line in 2011 and a restaurant chain in 2005. (“I don’t pay attention to those things,” says Chesney. “I try to take care of my business.”)

Like just about any startup, Blue Chair Bay likely won’t be profitable immediately. But perhaps not too far on that seaside horizon, there are hefty rewards to be reaped. And Chesney is happy to wait.

“The business of rum is not like a record,” he says. “Typically you’re going to do a third of your business with the first week of a record. Rum doesn’t work like that, it trickles out little by little … I want to do more than get my money back.”

Read the full article here

Tagged in Business, Rum


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