Bob Dylan: Booze Entrepeneur


Super Mod
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Oct 28, 2010
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Looks like Bob Dylan has decided to get into the booze business-- specifically the whiskey business.

Media announcements appeared yesterday to indicate that he is now operating a distillery, and will shortly be hawking his own line of signature liquors to we, the lucky masses. :thumb:


It appears that Mr. Dylan has partnered with another guy named Marc Bushala, who was already in the booze biz. The duo has acquired a former church building in Tennessee that serves as their distillery. The products themselves are slated to appear in liquor stores sometime next month.

The product line will be sold under the brand name of "Heaven's Door"... pretty cute, eh? ;)


At this point the product line is limited to three varieties of skull pop: Straight Rye, Double Barrel Whiskey, and a Tennessee Bourbon.

The dour balladeer was quoted as having told the British newspaper, The Guardian, "You don’t always find inspiration. Sometimes it finds you. We wanted to create a collection of American whiskeys that would each tell a story"... which somehow rings as being a bit of schmaltzy advertising copy, more than a sincere statement.

I mean, booze that tells a story? Kinda like a York Peppermint Patty or somethin'?

I dunno, man-- most of my booze stories aren't really formed as I sit around and savor the flavor of the stuff. No, the real stories were always generated after I or somebody else-- or a whole bunch of us-- got really, really hammered and then did something incredibly stupid, somehow surviving the ordeal and living to tell the story.

And it didn't seem to matter *what* we drank, so long as we drank way too much of it... :hmm:

But then: I'm a philistine from the get-go, and only drink when I feel like getting drunk. I sure as hell don't drink liquor for it the great taste of it, because it all tastes pretty much like shit to me. I do stick to liquor because I more or less hate beer (though I'll have one if you're buying). I do tend to prefer a true rye above most any other form of hard liquor-- but that's only because it's so raunchy that I scream and gibber like a lunatic as the stuff scorches my esophagus before exploding in my gut. I find the effect to be somewhat amusing, though it tends to alarm others who are stuck drinking with me... :D

And that's before I'm actually drunk. :laugh2:

No telling if it's gonna be really good booze, or a glorified well brand with a fancy label... or rotgut. I sort of expect it to compare favorably to a mid-priced type of liquor-- though I somehow doubt that it will be mid-priced, no matter what the stuff is actually like.

Dylan's business partner, Bushala, was apparently asked some hard questions about Bob becoming a booze baron. I offer this speculation in light of a quote that appeared at the end of the article I linked above, in which Mr. Bushala told the press, "He didn’t sell out. This is his brand, and it’s his idea. We just helped him do what he wanted to do. Bob does not want to be face man of the brand and he does not want the packaging to scream 'Dylan.'"


Bob does seem to wish for it to at least mutter "Dylan", however. Each and every label will feature Dylan's signature-- but on the inside of the label, where it won't be viewed until the bottle is more or less empty.

So there you have it: whiskies that "tell a story"... just like the one you'll be telling your wife when you stagger through the front door at 3am, or maybe (God forbid) like the story you'll be telling some cop who pulled you over after you failed to take a cab home instead of driving. :eek:


--R :cheers:
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Gold Supporting Member
Mar 23, 2009
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That’s Dylan’s whiskey in the jar. By Ben Sisario NEW YORK TIMES


A trademark application for the term “bootleg whiskey” had been filed under Dylan’s name. Among those who noticed the news was Marc Bushala, 52, a lifelong fan and a liquor entrepreneur whose bourbon brand, Angel’s Envy, had just been sold for $150 million. Bushala said he immediately spent weeks “obsessing over this concept of what a Dylan whiskey could be.”

So he reached out, and after being vetted by Dylan’s representatives, Bushala – who speaks branding jargon like “flavor profile” and “name exploration” in an earnest Midwestern accent – talked to Dylan by phone, and proposed working together on a portfolio of small-batch whiskeys. As he saw it, there was just one problem: The name “bootleg,” while an apt Dylanological pun, wasn’t quite right for a top-shelf liquor. Might Dylan, Nobel laureate, be open to some name exploration?

“It was a little bit daunting,” Bushala said of his pitch. But it worked. Next month, he and Dylan will introduce Heaven’s Door, a collection of three whiskeys – a straight rye, a straight bourbon and a “double- barreled” whiskey.

They are Dylan’s entry into the booming celebrity-branded spirits market, the latest career twist for an artist who has spent five decades confounding expectations. Dylan is not simply licensing his name. He is a full partner in the business, Heaven’s Door Spirits, which Bushala said had raised $35 million from investors.

“We both wanted to create a collection of American whiskeys that, in their own way, tell a story,” Dylan said in a statement to the New York Times. “I’ve been traveling for decades, and I’ve been able to try some of the best spirits that the world of whiskey has to offer. This is great whiskey.” The marketing of celebrity alcohol tends to lean on the perceived lifestyle of its mascots.

“It’s about fairy dust,” said Michael Stone, chairman of the brand licensing agency Beanstalk, who is not involved with Heaven’s Door. “People are looking for some of the fairy dust to be sprinkled on them from that celebrity’s lifestyle.”

Heaven’s Door is meant to conjure a broader idea of Dylan that is part Renaissance man, part nighthawk. The label design is derived from his ironwork sculptures, with rural iconography – crows, wagon wheels – in silhouette. And in promotional photos lighted like classic movie stills, a tuxedo-clad Dylan, 76, gazes off in a dark cocktail lounge or lonely diner, glass in hand.

Like his recent albums of standards, they portray Dylan as an urbane but still gritty crooner – one who might well wind down his day with a glass of bourbon.

Dylan is entering the craft whiskey market as the business is exploding. Helped by a craze for classic cocktails, sales of American whiskey grew 52 percent over the last five years, to $3.4 billion in 2017, according to data from the Distilled Spirits Council.

But for those who have been listening closely, whiskey has been a decades-long thread throughout Dylan’s music, going back to the early outtake “Moonshiner” in 1963 and to Dylan’s version of the song “Copper Kettle (The Pale Moonlight),” on the 1970 album “Self Portrait,” which describes the distilling process in detail. (“Get you a copper kettle, get you a copper coil/Fill it with new-made corn mash and never more you’ll toil.”) Bushala said that over four or five meetings – always at Dylan’s metalworking studio in Los Angeles – and a number of phone calls, he had learned that his partner has a sophisticated whiskey palate.

Yet communication was still a challenge. Bushala and Ryan Perry, the chief operating officer, struggled to interpret Dylan’s wishes. Often they came in the form of enigmatic comments or simply glances. “Sometimes you just get a long look,” Bushala said with a laugh, “and you’re not sure if that’s disgust or approval.”


Senior Member
Dec 17, 2016
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Well, he's not doing it for the money, seems like he is honestly trying to deliver a good product. I think he's emotionally invested in his company.


Senior Member
Apr 17, 2013
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well, Dylans got the whiskey voice now, thats for sure

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