The tour bus may not have had horns on its Silverado grill, but that didn’t stop John Rich from enjoying his tour to Fort Bend County last weekend.
John Rich, half of the country award-winning duo Big & Rich was in town over the weekend, celebrating the launch of his Redneck Riviera Whiskey. Rich visited three Spec’s Beer Wine & Spirits stores, personally meeting and greeting fans with whiskey tastings and bottle signings on Saturday. The tour included a stop at the Spec’s in Richmond.
Rich wrapped up the one-day event that night with a performance at the Redneck Country Club in Stafford, where the Amarillo native’s fans not only included members of the military in the audience, but a special shout out to a Korean War veteran who was invited on stage to sing Amazing Grace. Rich’s hits included “Comin’ To Your City” (written by Big & Rich, now in it’s 11th year as the theme song for ESPN’s College GameDay), and an encore of “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy.”
The crowd was more than happy to welcome the native Texan back home.
Launched in 2014, Rich’s Redneck Riviera is all about “America’s work hard, play hard brand,” Rich said.
His privately held lifestyle brand also showcases footwear, apparel, hospitality and food.
Redneck Riviera Whiskey is a joint collaboration between Rich and Eastside Distilling, a small batch whiskey described as having a “vanilla honey smoothness and a subtle finish.” It will be distributed first in the six Gulf Coast states of Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, and also North Carolina.
“Our goal for this blend was to make the smoothest sip of whiskey anywhere,” Rich said. “All American blended – even the glass it’s made in, is made in America. For me to be able to bring my brand of whiskey to my home state is a big deal and when you talk about a chain like Spec’s – I really have to thank Jim Detmore, who runs Spec’s. He gave me 30 stores to work with.”
In the Houston area alone, Rich said over 100 cases of the whiskey were sold in one day.
Rich admitted that when creating his own brand of whiskey, he wanted something that was similar to Crown Royal, but wanted an “American blended whiskey,” so he spent most of 2017 working with distiller Mel Heim of Eastside Distilling to develop the “smoothest sipping whiskey of any on the shelf.”
Portions of sales will benefit Folds of Honor, an organization that provides educational scholarships to the children and spouses of fallen and disabled military service members.
“I’m hoping to be a big part of what they’re doing for many years. We give money back to our veteran’s families. Last year Folds of Honor gave out over $60 million in college money to those kids,” he said.
“John Rich is a proud American working diligently to support our veterans and their families,” said Diane D. Nemecek, Regional Development Manager for Folds of Honor. “John is generously donating a portion of the proceeds from his whiskey, Redneck Riviera, to the Folds of Honor. Big & Rich welcomed Folds of Honor recipients to the stage at several concerts and allowed them to share a little about themselves, their service member and how the Folds of Honor has impacted their life. We are so grateful to John for his support and look forward to a beautiful partnership. Our mission is to honor the sacrifice of those who serve this great nation by educating their legacy and the assistance he is providing will help us in our quest to leave no family behind.”
While a philanthropist, Rich is ever the marketer. “I get asked all the time, where do I find Redneck Riviera products: The boots, the apparel, the whiskey? Go to redneckriviera.com.”
The Redneck Riviera Whiskey Tour is ongoing. As for Big & Rich, what’s next?
“We got 70 cities booked this year and we’re about 10 shows into it,” Rich said.