ByAlisha Grauso, writer at
Editor-at-large here at Movie Pilot. Nerd out with me on Twitter, comrades: @alishagrauso
Alisha Grauso

Kingsman: The Secret Service fans know how integral the bespoke tailor business used as a front for the spy agency was to the first film. So we're doubly intrigued to see how director integrates the Kingsman's American spy counterpart, the Statesman, and its whiskey distillery front in the upcoming sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

That storyline turned into one of the coolest marketing tie-ins Hollywood has ever seen. This is the movie that bourbon built, in more ways than one.

See, the whiskey that the Statesman use as their front isn't just a plot point in the film—it's something you'll be able to drink in real life.

A Statesman Bourbon Is Coming To Shelves And Bars Near You

Credit: Brown-Forman
Credit: Brown-Forman

Similar to how Savile Row tailor Huntsman influenced the look of and created a line of bespoke suits to honor the first movie, spirits maker Brown-Forman has created a brand-new line of high-end bourbon for the sequel under its Old Forester umbrella.

I spoke with Old Forester President Campbell P. Brown, who revealed just how the idea for the bourbon came about. Turns out it was a serendipitous stroke of luck that made the partnership between Fox and Old Forester possible:

"My brother lives in London and I've got a cousin on London, and they know Matthew Vaughn. When he was talking to my cousin and brother, he said, 'Look, I'm doing the next film and I'm interested in creating an American version of that,' and he said, 'I'm thinking about a distillery.' They said, 'Funny you should mention that, our family is in the distillery business. We have this line, Old Forester, that is actually the oldest bottled bourbon whiskey in America, and the only one sold before, during, and after Prohibition.' And he said, 'That's what I want.'"

But it wasn't just working with them to create a bourbon to use as a promotional product outside the movie that Old Forester helped with. The distillery—which has been around since 1870—also helped with the look and tone of the film, as well.

Bourbon Flavors Every Bit Of This Movie

Credit: 20th Century Fox
Credit: 20th Century Fox

As a good portion of the movie takes place in a distillery setting, Brown and his crew gave input into set and prop design—everything from the sets themselves to the whiskey bottles used.

"We shared with them some old bottles that we had from our inventory that were from the 1800s and early 1900s and gave them a sense of what labels looked like, and bottles. We shared with them what a distillery might look like and how barrels are made and warehouses. That inspired what is now showing up in this film which is a really wonderful perspective of an American distilling operation through the eyes of a really creative British director."

Credit: 20th Century Fox
Credit: 20th Century Fox

The finished prop that you see in the movie was heavily influenced by the input from Old Forester, and what ended up in the movie returned that influence on Old Forester in the bourbon it created in conjunction with the film. Getting it right was important. The bourbon, Brown says, is practically a supporting character in and of itself:

Statesman bourbon is a character in this film. It's talked about, it's consumed, it's handled, it's poured, it's shared...It's all based around this bourbon. It's a communicative piece in this film.

I don't know about you, but I think that's just about the coolest damn tie-in campaign I've ever seen for a movie—and as a movie marketing nerd, I've seen a lot.

The goal is to break out the first few cases of Old Forester Statesman just in time for the Kentucky Derby, but it will be available everywhere shortly thereafter. If you're 21 or older, go out and try it—Brown told me it's a great bourbon, a high end 95 proof that goes down buttery and finishes with a peppery kick. If you're not 21 years of age, well...just file that info away for later use.

I'm now even more excited to see how it all comes together in . I loved the first film and the quintessential British feel of it; it will be fascinating to see what Vaughn does for its American cousin.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is in theaters on September 22.


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