Global Brand Equities CEO James Morrissey told Fox News Digital how he has created a successful partnership with comedian Kevin Hart and what he looks for in a successful celebrity liquor brand.
The first rule? Don’t focus on the celebrity.
“For me, in business, my business partners just happened to be some of the best known, recognized faces in the world. But they’re my business partners, so I don’t look at them as celebrity first. I look at them as a business partner first,” Morrissey said.
One business partner, in Ireland native Morrissey’s case, just happens to be world-famous comedian Kevin Hart.
“Gran Coramino stands out among others based on its quality,” Hart said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“When I started the development process with my partners, I realized that there was a new level of smooth that was possible, which most people had never had the opportunity to taste. My objective has been to bring this new level of quality and education to everybody,” he wrote.
Morrissey has also partnered with other celebrities like A$AP Rocky and Post Malone.
Morrissey’s partnership with Hart created a cristalino tequila that they called “Gran Coramino,” but the CEO of Global Brand Equities emphasized that success in the celebrity liquor space is not as easy as “putting a name on a bottle.”
“I’m very cynical and stereotypical about the term celebrity brand within the liquor space, which might be surprising to some,” Morrissey said. “Being a business partner is not just about putting your name on a product. There’s work that’s required to build.”
While celebrity branded liquor may not sound like a new idea, Morrissey argued that some of his strategies at breaking into the competitive liquor market were brand new.
“We picked a lane which is cristalino tequila, a category that is largely unknown within the mass market industry, but in Mexico is one of the fastest growing premium segments.”
The venture was a breakout success. “Within 12 months of building, Gran Coramino sits within the top 5 percent of those thousand brands that exist in the market and is one of the most successful launches of an over $50 product in American history.”
Morrissey said that one of his best tools for growing his business quickly was social media.
“It plays a key role in everything that we do,” he said.
“Traditionally within the [liquor] industry, companies will spend months, if not years, creating strategies, plans and visions for how a product gets brought to life. But for us, we move in real time. So if we shoot that day, we air that night.”
And key to social media success, Morrissey said, was knowing the target audience.
“As a company, we target a slightly younger demographic of 21 to 40-year-old consumers. And when we look at that segment, we look at the changing habits of that consumer in the last decade.”
Morrissey said that his company’s strength was that he was running a “smaller, disruptive organization” that could break into the liquor industry.
“We are embracers of changing trends, so we’re not intimidated by it,” he said.
“We thrive on that.”