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‘Lord Knows how Much Crown Royal We Helped Them Sell’; John Rich Talks New Whiskey Brand With Ties to Charity

John Rich, of the Country Music duo Big & Rich, has developed a taste for whiskey, and he wants to drink American.

Fans of Big & Rich surely know the famous song lyric, but for everyone else: The country duo belts “Buy the bar a double round of Crown, everybody’s gettin’ down” in the 2004 hit that’s gone on to be codified into country music’s greatest hits. The song itself has gone on to sell more than 2 million copies, with the official music video garnering more than 10 million plays. Some time after filming the piece, Rich had a realization about his favorite whiskey. He wanted a change, and he wanted it to be American-made.

Crown Royal is a blended Canadian whiskey. Rich realized how much Crown likely benefited from the band’s implicit endorsement by including it in the song. Furthermore, the regulations regarding Canadian whiskey allow for neutral grain spirits and additives to make up the final product. After realizing this, John thought, “My god, what have I been drinking this whole time?” As a result, he set out to create his own brand.

Redneck Riviera was well on its way to being born. The colloquial phrase refers to the pursuit of enjoying life where you like it best – whether you’re at home, in your backyard or “on a lake in Wisconsin,” Rich says. It’s meant to be affordable, it’s meant to be clear in its marketing, and it’s also supposed to stand for something good. Combining two-year and one-year whiskeys leads to a fairly youthful profile, but Rich makes it clear it’s probably best as a shot or a mixing whiskey. Even his grandmother — Granny Rich — is quoted as being a fan of the whiskey; a new release will bear her likeness and be branded as “Granny Rich Approved”. After “A pretty thorough arm wrestling match with the United States government trademark office,” Redneck Riviera became official, trademarked and ready to roll out, Rich said.

Redneck Riviera whiskey donates 10% of all profits to Folds of Honor, a charity that seeks to cover the cost of tuition and education for children left behind by service members killed while serving the United States. This year, John asserts the brand will cross the $1 million threshold for donations – not a bad feat for a three-year-old brand.

Rich also views the brand as a lifestyle and its own unique product family. While he’s backing and endorsing it, he’s also actively working to build it. Redneck Riviera merch and barbeque sauce are now available, and he sees a future with his family continuing to manage and build the brand.

For more information about Redneck Riviera whiskey, visit its website. Enjoy the full interview with John Rich as he discusses the band, his whiskey and his new television debut: The Pursuit!

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