Gun Control, Matthew McConaughey, and Wild Turkey

The news yesterday was that Matthew McConaughey, a native of Uvalde, was at the White House to make a plea for gun control. You couldn’t watch any TV news, either national or local, without seeing him at the podium in the White House with a pair of green sneakers.

From Today Show

From his remarks:

So, we know what’s on the table.  We need to invest in mental healthcare.  We need safer schools.  We need to restrain sensationalized media coverage.  We need to restore our family values.  We need to restore our American values.  And we need responsible gun ownership — responsible gun ownership. 

We need background checks.  We need to raise the minimum age to purchase an AR-15 rifle to 21.  We need a waiting period for those rifles.  We need red-flag laws and consequences for those who abuse them.

These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations to our nation, states, communities, schools, and homes.

Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals. 

These regulations are not a step back; they’re a step forward for a civil society and — and the Second Amendment. 

In Uvalde, the killer passed a FBI NICS background check to purchase his firearms. In Uvalde, the killer was known to have issues but no one acted upon them. In Uvalde, the killer entered through a door that was not properly locked. In Uvalde, the police waited until it was too late to storm the classroom even though best practices say never to wait.

Any new law or policy that is enacted in a hurry because “we have to do something” ends up as a fiasco. More importantly, they don’t prevent or solve the issue at hand.

For those that are not aware, McConaughey is now the Creative Director for Wild Turkey and has been since 2016. Wild Turkey Distilling is owned by the Italian company Campari Group. He even has helped launch Wild Turkey Longbranch in conjunction with master distiller Eddie Russell.

Anyone who has followed this blog for any amount time knows that I enjoy good whiskey and especially bourbon. Wild Turkey does make some good bourbons and ryes. I have even toured their facilities in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky where their beautiful Visitor Center overlooks the Kentucky River. Looking over my collection I see have a bottle of Russell Reserve and an older Austin Nichols-labeled bottle of Wild Turkey Rye. I respect the work of Jimmy and Eddie Russell in crafting good whiskey.

I have a personal philosophy of not patronizing companies whose spokespeople or officers wish to run roughshod over my enumerated civil rights. As such, I will not be buying any more bourbon or rye from Wild Turkey so long as Matthew McConaughey is affiliated with them. Now my personal boycott of Wild Turkey is not going to hurt their bottom line.

However, if enough people made their displeasure known, it just might. I sent them a note last night saying I wouldn’t be buying their product any longer. You can do the same by using this contact link.

If you are a bourbon or rye drinker, the choice is yours. Do you support a company whose Creative Director wants to curtail your rights or do you go to one of the many other fine distilleries instead? I have made my choice and you can make yours.

Interesting Move On The Part Of Campari

Gruppo Campari has been the corporate owner of the Wild Turkey Distillery since 2009. In a very interesting move, they have named actor Matthew McConaughey as the Creative Director for Wild Turkey and its signature bourbons. According to reports, he signed a multi-year deal that will have him writing and creating advertising spots for the bourbon brand in addition to appearing in ads for it.

From AdWeek:

Often the hire is perceived as a stunt, but Melanie Batchelor, senior marketing director of whiskey for Wild Turkey’s parent company, Gruppo Campari, says that isn’t the case this time.

“I know that [celebrity creative director] can be a title that’s talked about by a number of other companies, but our experience has been that Matthew has had an extremely high level of engagement,” said Batchelor. “He’s been involved in every single piece of the process, from writing the ads—he’s obviously starring in the ads, and he’s also directing the ads—so he’s both in front of and behind the camera.”

The ads mark the first time that McConaughey, who has also appeared in ads for brands like Lincoln, has served as a director.

“When making a movie, you have two hours to tell a story,” said McConaughey in a statement. “Here I have 30 seconds to reintroduce the world to this authentic American brand that has helped shape an entire U.S. industry: bourbon. It will be a very interesting and fun challenge.”

I will admit to thinking when I heard the news that it was a joke. However, after seeing the video short that he produced below, I’ve changed my mind. I really don’t think Master Distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell would have appeared in the video if McConaughey wasn’t serious about it and about their bourbon.

We toured the distillery after attending the NRA Annual Meeting. I remember our tour guide was a salty old former USMC drill instructor from Salisbury, North Carolina. We talked bourbon and Cheerwine. Watching the video, it reminds me of both the unique location of the Wild Turkey Distillery overlooking the Kentucky River and of the tour we had.

I guess if having McConaughey on board as creative director pays off for Campari, executives in Sesto San Giovanni will gladly be saying, “Alright, alright, alright”, with an Italian accent. I think they will also be trading their Negronis for Boulvardiers as it combines two of their signature products.