Craft spirits maker Eastside Distilling of Portland, Oregon and John Rich of the award-winning country duo Big & Rich have announced the signing of an exclusive global spirits licensing agreement with Rich’s burgeoning Redneck Riviera lifestyle brand. The company says the “’Work Hard, Play Hard’ brand celebrates the working men and women who are the backbone of the U.S.”
The Story of the Redneck Riviera Brand
Just like all successful distilleries, you have to have a back story and Redneck Riviera brand is no exception. Rich said he’s been working on the trademark for “Redneck Riviera” for nearly 10 years. When he originally applied for the trademark, he was flat turned down but, kind of like the “Work Hard, Play Hard” brand ethos, he’s not one to take no for an answer.
John Rich explained the background of the brand saying, “The phrase Redneck Riviera has been around as far back as I can find it in the early 1960s. The phrase came about basically in the Southeastern United States as almost like a tongue in cheek phrase, you can’t afford to go to the French Riviera so where do you go? Go to the Redneck Riviera. Its beautiful beaches, beautiful towns, great weather and within driving distance for about 100 million Americans… I know personally the first time I ever swam in salt water, swam in the Gulf, it was at Panama City Beach, Florida. I knew on that trip that we were heading down to the Redneck Riviera as a kid at 10 years old.”
In 2008 Rich had his attorney check to see if anyone ever trademarked the term “Redneck Riviera.” His attorney checked and found that no one had ever trademarked it. Rich had his attorney submit an application to grab the phrase and the attorney came back about three months later and said, “‘Well, now I know why nobody’s has ever trademarked Redneck Riviera.’ I said why’s that? ‘They said because you can’t trademark a geographical location.’ I said really? I thought Redneck Riviera was the same place Margaretville is, it’s wherever you say it is. He goes, ‘Well, that’s their answer.’ I said well, ask them where they think it is because I know it’s a state of mind, it’s not a place. Nobody pays taxes to the Redneck Riviera, nobody’s address is Redneck Riviera, you can’t mail a letter to the Redneck Riviera, ask them where they think it is.”
“So he asked them where they think it is and they came back with an answer that its between Destin, Florida and Gulf Shores, Alabama otherwise known as the Emerald Coast. So they basically went for the literal translation for what they thought it was. Of course immediately I was able to show them reference points all over the United States from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, South Padre Island, Texas, Crosby, Texas there’s the San Jacinto River runs through there and there’s boats tied up that say, ‘Welcome to the Redneck Riviera.’ Lake Havasu same exact situation, people with Mom and Pop shops all over the place. We even found social media posts, I found one with a lady with this beautiful sunset going down and she’s got a beer in one hand and she’s got two feet propped up, it says, ‘Another beautiful sunset here in the Redneck Riviera,’ and would you like to guess what state she was in? Delaware.”
“So the point is, I’m right, about that, that Redneck Riviera is a state of mind, it’s kind of like Margaretville just with a little different tribe of folks but not that different. I presented that argument to the trademark office and they agreed that yes, it is not a geographical location, it is a state of mind and I was able to then perfect the mark. And have now protected the trademark in over 17 major categories for Redneck Riviera.”
Production for Redneck Riviera Whiskey is Under Way
Production has already begun on the Redneck Riviera branded spirits for those looking to “enjoy a great spirit at the working man’s price point.” The product line includes American blended, aged, flavored and premium-blended whiskies, as well as vodka and rum in the future. Eastside Distilling’s distillers Travis Schoney and Mel Heim will be crafting each spirit.
“This is an exciting time for the Redneck Riviera brand,” Redneck Riviera’s John Rich said. “It has always been my goal to have a spirits line, and to be announcing this so young into the company’s launch is such a thrill and an honor. To be able to roll out this custom blend whiskey made in America by some of the top distillers in the country is a big win for us. I love a smooth blend of whiskey and a tight cigar to chill out after a rocking Big & Rich show or just a nice evening at home. This team is hard working and they play even harder, just like we do.”
The Creation of Redneck Riviera Whiskey Co.
Eastside has formed the Redneck Riviera Whiskey Co., a Tennessee LLC and wholly owned subsidiary of Eastside, as an operating entity to manage and promote sales of the whiskey and any follow-up products. The company plans to be highly focused on the Southeast initially, with a roll out to the rest of the country in the months to come.
Eastside Distilling CEO Grover Wickersham says, “When I met John Rich I knew right away that we were going to do great business together. His energy and drive to succeed is unmatched, and when we saw the tremendous growth that the Redneck Riviera lifestyle brand has made in a short time, we knew that this was the right brand to forge a partnership. The spirits line is an obvious next step to the brand’s line of apparel, boots, food and honky-tonks.”
John Rich launched the Redneck Riviera brand in 2014. In addition to the whiskey the brand offers apparel, footwear, food, beach accessories and has two honky-tonks. Redneck Riviera Vegas nightclub is now open at the Grand Bazaar Shops adjacent to Bally’s Las Vegas on the famed Sin City strip, and Redneck Riviera Nashville is set to open in spring of 2018 on Nashville’s Lower Broadway.
Redneck Riviera Whiskey will start bottling at the end of November and start shipping in December, 2017, Distribution is expected to start in the southeast U.S. at a price point between $23 and $25.