ace of spades champagne

Big Machine Label Group, Home To Taylor Swift, Moves Into The World Of Spirits

The label that brought the world Taylor Swift is moving on to the hard stuff.

Big Machine Label Group has launched Big Machine Platinum Filtered Premium Vodka. Distilled in small batches through Tenn South Distillery in Lynnville, Tenn., the spirit will initially be available only in the Middle Tennessee region.

“Over the past 11 years Big Machine has provided the soundtrack to millions of fans worldwide,” said Big Machine Label Group president/CEO Scott Borchetta in a statement. “With the launch of Big Machine Premium Vodka, we are now offering a superior product that perfectly complements the music we take such great pride in.”

It’s an interesting move, but is it a smart one? A number of artists are now in the spirits business, including Big Machine duo Florida Georgia Line, who premiered their successful Old Camp Peach Pecan Whiskey last year. A number of other artists, including Sammy Hagar and Jimmy Buffett have created very successful liquor brands, while a number of other artists have ownership in liquor companies, such as Pitbull with Voli vodka and Jay Z with Armand de Brignac Champagne (aka Ace of Spades).

The reason those partnerships work is because the artists bring a cache to the liquor and their endorsement is seen as a way for patrons to share in the same lifestyle as an act they admire. It’s unclear if the same would hold true for a label, even one that is trying to become a brand name.

Big Machine isn’t the first label to move into the world of alcohol: Interscope Records, home to acts like Eminem and Lady Gaga, is behind Electric Sky wine, which comes in single-serve recyclable containers.

There was a time when certain labels created an identity that represented a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval of sorts, where fans would buy new releases simply because they were affiliated with the label. Blue Note Records stood for jazz or Elektra in its early days was a brand that inspired loyalty by the quality of artists signed to the imprint. But these days, especially in the age of streaming when most label information isn’t readily available, how much prestige a label name could mean to anyone, especially if artists on the label aren’t tying in somehow, is unclear.

On the other hand, Borchetta is a renegade and is someone who has been unafraid to take big risks and step outside of the traditional accepted role of a label, so this is a deal worth watching.