T
he list of spirits brands with ce-
lebrity endorsements is a long
one. And there’s no shortage of
famous names who part-own or
invest in brands. What makes Blue Chair
Bay Rum unique is that it is entirely con-
ceived and created by one Kenny Chesney,
eight-time Entertainer of the Year and
one of the biggest names in country
music today.
“Whenever Kenny isn’t working or
touring, he is on a beach somewhere,” says
Mark Montgomery, CEO of Blue Chair
Bay Rum, Chesney’s newly created spirits
brand. “Kenny first had the idea for creat-
ing a rum in 2001, with the intention of
‘bottling the lifestyle of the islands,’ the
part of the world where Kenny feels most
at home. Blue Chair Bay Rum is his cre-
ative vision,” says Montgomery. “Kenny
has been a rum drinker for a long time
and wanted to create a rum that he would
enjoy drinking himself, and sharing with
friends.”
Having long been inspired by the Ca-
ribbean and his ongoing experiences of
island-life, Chesney expresses his love of
beach, sand and boating in much of his
music (“When the Sun Goes Down,” “No
Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems,” “Old Blue
Chair”). He says that the rum was “born
on the beach” in the Caribbean, and after
interviewing a number of distilleries (with
the help of New York-based Savvy Drinks,
which is lending their expertise to the
project), settled on a Barbados-based dis-
tillery, one of the oldest in the Caribbean
and where rum casks are mellowed on the
shore. Master Distiller Mike Booth worked
closely with Chesney to develop the exact
taste profiles he was looking for.
The collaboration (to say Chesney
was involved is an understatement, says
Montgomery) resulted in three expressions:
Blue Chair Bay Rum White, Coconut
and Coconut Spiced. White is a crystal
clear 80-proof rum with aromas of vanilla,
tropical fruits and a hint of oak. Coconut
(Chesney’s personal favorite) and Coconut
Spiced are both bottled at 53 proof, with
subtle notes of ripe coconut and in the
latter, traditional Caribbean spices. They
boast a higher alcohol content than most
flavored rums, and are “delicious poured
straight on ice,” says Montgomery. All
three will retail at approximately $17.99-
$18.99. “Kenny wants everyone invited to
this party, so he’s created a premium line
of rums, that are accessible to everyone,”
Montgomery says.
Bottling the Island Experience
Just how to package Chesney’s vision and
island lifestyle was one of the most chal-
lenging aspects of the project, says Mont-
gomery: “We were on Kenny’s boat one
day talking about how to bottle up the
beach, the air, the water, the lifestyle, and
put it into physical form. And then we had
the idea to create a bottle that looks like it
just washed up on shore; beautiful, but a
little distressed.”
While Chesney’s fan base is immense,
Blue Chair Bay Rum will speak to a far
wider audience. “If you are a fan, you will
recognize the Kenny Chesney lyric on the
front of the bottle, and see his signature on
the back. For a rum drinker who doesn’t
know who he is, the package is still appeal-
ing,” says Montgomery. “It would be a dis-
service to make Blue Chair Bay Rum too
much about Kenny. Our focus is building
a great brand, period.”
Rallying the Fan Base
Blue Chair Bay Rum will be co-sponsoring
Chesney’s No Shoes Nation Tour (with Co-
rona Light) and will host pre-concert tail-
gates and parties in 18 markets this spring
and summer. Together with Chesney’s
new album, Life on a Rock (April 30
th
),
the No Shoes Nation Tour will reach over
1.25 million fans in stadiums, arenas and
outdoor amphitheaters with more than 42
stops across America. “Very few artists put
on tours of this size and reach this many
people,” says Montgomery. “He is a force
on the road.”
Blue Chair Bay Rum also enlisted mas-
ter mixologist Jonathan Pogash to create
signature Blue Chair Bay Rum cocktails,
including the Shooting Star, which began
as a song reference in Chesney’s new single
“Pirate Flag.” As with everything Blue Chair
Bay Rum, the art came first. “He wrote
the song and Jonathan developed a drink
around it,” says Montgomery. “Kenny is
one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever
met, and his commitment to his art—music
and now his rum—drives everything.”
n
Kenny Chesney
BRAND
PROFILE
Where Country
Meets the Caribbean
Country Music Powerhouse Kenny Chesney
Launches Blue Chair Bay Rum
BY KRISTEN BIELER
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