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Toby Keith, Mezcal Endorsement Pioneer

With Wild Shot, Toby Keith capitalizes on a Mexican spirit’s rising cachet

I’ve been hit with wine; I’ve been hit with vodka, hit with tequila, and I’ve been hit with whiskey,” says country music star Toby Keith of the various liquor endorsement opportunities that have come his way. “All the whiskey’s already spoken for … and everyone’s got a vodka, and one of my buddies does tequila. … [But] there was no one doing mezcal.”

There’s no doubting Keith’s horse sense. In the six months since he released Wild Shot, it has become the best-selling premium mezcal in the U.S. Shot and a Beer, Keith’s business venture, has sold 10,000 Wild Shot cases this year, says Vincent Viola, Keith’s partner in the company and its president. The pair hope to sell 100,000 cases a year by 2015. Keith has the advantage of being able to sell the hooch at his 11 I Love This Bar & Grill franchises, several of which are affiliated with Caesars/Harrah’s casinos.