Catching up With John Rich: The Story of Redneck Riviera Whiskey and The Pursuit!
It’s hard to go even a day without hearing about a new celebrity whiskey joining the pack; a whiskey brand or label is the new “must-have” for many influential folks. Typically, they target the mid-to-top shelf, they focus on premium packaging and branding, and they aren’t always that affordable. It can be tough to navigate the landscape with so many coming out lately.
But a lesser-known celebrity brand has been watching; the bottom-to-mid-shelf release has been on the market for three years now, and you’d never know it was a celebrity whiskey. The world’s most understated celebrity whiskey retails in the $20-$25 price range, carries a breakdown of two-year and one-year whiskeys on the label, and knows what it stands for. That whiskey is Redneck Riviera, and it’s backed by John Rich.
Fans of John Rich know him from one of several places – most notably, the country band Lonestar, as well as half of the acclaimed Big & Rich. For the past three years, he’s also been distributing and growing the Redneck Riviera brand. The phrase comes from a colloquial term for the Gulf Coast in the 1960s.
“They would say, ‘We can’t afford to go to the French Riviera, so where are we gonna go? We’re gonna to go Redneck Riviera, right? We’re going to go to the one we can afford to go to,” Rich explained.
Rich even went on to muse that between the French Riviera and the Redneck Riviera, he’d pick the latter. This phrase, he explains, has grown to have a deeper meaning – it’s where one goes to kick back, relax and just enjoy life. Much like folks setting up their own slice of Margaritaville in backyards, on boats or in their very own kitchen, Redneck Riviera is meant to bring the same vibe. Most importantly, it’s meant to be affordable.
The pricing for Redneck Riviera lives up to its branding. The whiskey can be found in a variety of formats, hovering between $20 and $25 for a standard offering based on location and retailer. That’s on the low-to-mid end for bourbon in general, and on the low end for celebrity-branded products. Digging one step deeper into the whiskey also reveals its philanthropic side: 10% of all profits are donated to Folds of Honor, a non-profit that helps fund the education for children of armed services members who have been killed in combat. To this day, over $1 million has been donated by Redneck Riviera’s profits alone — not bad for a three-year-old brand.
The success of the brand can be attributed to its accessibility, its price point, its All-American branding (RR uses only American-made bottles, caps, corks, etc.) as well as the philanthropic facet of the whiskey. That combined with a spirit that knows what it’s meant to be — an easy-to-drink, inexpensive bottle — it’s no surprise that Rich has found the right niche.
“I’m just a regular ol’ American guy who thinks big and works hard, and that’s what this brand is about,” Rich said.
The brand is now diversifying into apparel and sauce with the rollout of Redneck Riviera BBQ sauce.
Beyond his musical endeavors and the rise of Redneck Riviera, Rich is also stepping back in front of the camera. This week, his newest venture — “The Pursuit!” — will release to viewers. The country music star is rolling out a unique broadcast show on FOX Business, which will feature Rich interviewing and discussing the pursuit of success with various celebrities. A notable guest in an upcoming episode is prolific NASCAR star Richard Petty. The pair will cover NASCAR’s roots in the moonshining days of whiskey’s past.
“America owes you nothing, but it offers you everything,” Rich said while explaining the methodology behind his interview choices. Rather than focus on success itself, John asserts his main focus with “The Pursuit!” is highlighting just that: the journey, difficulties, hardships and ultimately what crafted each guest into who they are today, pursuing success. Other notable guests on the docket for Season 1 include singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw, former NFL player and current Tennessee State football head coach Eddie George and country singer Wynonna Judd. Fans of John Rich and Redneck Riviera whiskey are encouraged to pour a glass and kick back. Programming begins Sept. 22 on FOX Business at 9 p.m. ET.
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