Porn Pros Turn To Liquor—For Second Career
Cindy Taylor knows her days in her current job are limited.
While her alter ego of Jesse Jane is one of the most popular porn stars in the industry, the hard truth is that the adult entertainment industry's audience has tastes that change regularly. And there's always someone looking to knock the leaders off of their perch.
"I like to go out and drink with my friends," she says. "But a lot of my friends can't drink tequila because the taste is too strong. I thought 'vodka has a lot of different flavors' so I wanted to make a tequila that's sweet."
For the past seven months, Taylor has been working with a distillery in the Mexican city of Tequila to create the line, which includes a blue agave silver tequila along with apple, mango, almond and café caramel flavored varieties. The drinks are expected to hit shelves in roughly two months.
Taylor will appear in ads for Diosa, but since Digital Playground owns the rights to anything 'Jesse Jane' is associated with, she'll be using her real name.
Taylor is unique as a porn performer who's also the owner of an adult spirits company, but she's hardly the only porn presence exploring the liquor business these days.
Vivid Entertainment has teamed with White Star Marketing to roll out its own line of spirits. The first, Vivid Vodka, was debuted at this week's Nightclub and Bar 2011 convention and trade show (as was Diosa).
The adult entertainment company will receive a royalty from sales of the vodka, something that may be only have a mild impact on its bottom line, but could be more valuable for marketing purposes.
"They liked the business plan," says Sam Marasco, president of White Star. "They saw it as an opportunity to generate some revenues off of their brand name, which they've spent a good amount of time managing and building."
In the works since last year, Vivid Vodka will roll out May 1 in Las Vegas. And it likely won't be the only spirit to carry the company's name.
"Our game plan is to introduce the vodka product immediately and at the same time try to lay plays for additional spirits in the future," says Marasco. "We think the name is fantastic."
Even porn legend Ron Jeremy is getting in the liquor business with Ron de Jeremy rum. Like Vivid, it's a licensing deal. A pair of Finnish entrepreneurs who are working with a Panamanian distiller to create the beverage reached out to the actor. But it's Jeremy's face that appears on the bottle.
"I don't want to be an owner," says Jeremy. "I get a royalty check. That's it. But we're hoping it will be the same model that Sammy Hagar went through." (Hagar's boutique tequila line was eventually bought in 2007 for $80 million by Gruppo Campari, the world's seventh-largest spirits company.)
Porn and liquor actually have a history together. Actress Savanna Samson turned heads in 2005 when her Sogno Uno wine received a 91-point ranking from Robert Parker.
And studios and performers generally have good relationships with high profile bars and clubs around the country, due to events they throw or dancing engagements—something that can boost distribution quickly.
Southern Wine and Spirits, the nation's largest alcohol distributor, has agreed to carry Ron de Jeremy. And Taylor has meetings set with the company to discuss Diosa. Clubs, meanwhile, are clamoring for the stars to host launch parties in cities around the country.
"We have so many relationships with all these club owners, both nightclubs and strip clubs," says Taylor. "Unlike other (liquor) companies that need to get their foot in the door, we're already there. I've got lots of clubs calling, wanting me to come and have these big Diosa parties there."
Because she owns the company—and, she says, has invested the majority of her savings into Diosa—Taylor's covering her bets. That means Jesse Jane won't be retiring soon.
"I always said I was going to retire in two or three years," she says. "Digital Playground wants me to sign a new five-year contract (and) I'm more than likely going to sign it. That way, if I mess up, I'll have something coming in for five years. It'd be nice to have a guarantee."