This week, Mark Wahlberg officially became the latest celebrity to enter the adult beverage space by announcing an ownership stake in Flecha Azul Tequila. Famous faces have been gravitating toward the liquor landscape for the better part of a decade now, with agave spirits being an especially crowded subcategory. And you can thank George Clooney for that. Back in 2017, Wahlberg’s Perfect Storm co-star unloaded his Casamigos brand for a reported $1 billion cash out. Since then everyone from Michael Jordan to the former stars of Breaking Bad are bullish on spirits from south of the border.
But Wahlberg’s latest move is more about kindred spirits than dollar signs, according to what he tells The Hollywood Reporter. It was born over bonding with Flecha Azul co-owners Aron Marquez and (PGA pro golfer) Abraham Ancer.
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After meeting in 2019, they quickly recognized a mutual set of values, including a devotion to faith, family, hard work — and good tequila, of course. Investing his own money into the two-year-old brand wasn’t ever anything Wahlberg was asked to do. It was something he wanted to do.
Below, the Academy Award-nominated, Boston-born actor and producer opens up on a slew of subjects, ranging from Boston accents to Boston sports teams.
What got you into the tequila business?
I met [Marquez and Ancer] and realized we had so many things in common. We’re all family-oriented, self-made guys and I was just really loving what they were doing [with Flecha Azul]. And I loved their story; everything that they’ve done is so similar to what I’m trying to build on my own, one step at a time.
Are you an equity partner, how exactly does the partnership work?
Yeah, I just cut a big check and said, ‘Let me do my thing and promote you guys and your brand.’ That’s literally the extent of it.
And you guys are all into golfing, so did that help strengthen the bond?
Yep, we’re into golfing, and family and our faith and being self-made guys. So many things in common, it was a natural fit for us to partner up. We really connected on a personal level. These guys really are stars, so for me to be able to recognize their talent, their ability and their achievements and then to be able to put them on a platform and celebrate them and their success, it’s exciting to me. I’ve been in the star-making business for a while as a television producer, showcasing other people’s talents and putting them at the forefront so they can shine — it’s always been something that I’ve been really excited about.
I remember first time we did Entourage and making it all about the guys … and they deserved that. And nobody deserves it more than [Marquez and Ancer], those guys are really, really successful because of the work that they’ve put in.
There actually was an arc in Entourage where a main character invests in a tequila brand and strikes it rich. Is this a little bit of life imitating the art?
I didn’t think about it, actually. Oddly enough. I was just seeing other people — George [Clooney] who’s a friend, Dwayne [Johnson], who’s a friend — becoming hugely successful. I’m really happy for them and what they’ve created. But here are guys that are the real deal and they created something in their wheelhouse that I think is a superior product. So I thought, if those other guys have had that type of success, imagine the type of success that Aron and Abe could have — and that they deserve. It’s much more their thing than mine.
Were you a big tequila drinker before this? What were you drinking back in your Boston days?
Well, my dad was a Schiltz [beer] drinker. So let’s just be honest here: on a hot summer day in Boston I could sit on my dad’s lap and get a big chug and he was okay with that [laughs]. But when I was old enough, I was really a wine guy. Drinking wine, I realized it was so much harder to burn off all the calories — as a fitness guy. Somebody said, ‘if you drink tequila instead of wine, you don’t have to work out as hard.’ It’s not as many calories and it’s not as much fluid intake. That’s when I started drinking tequila. It’s funny because that’s when I started sampling what was out there and I tried Flecha [Azul] and you could tell the difference between really good tequila and stuff that’s curated by somebody else, who might not have the same level of experience.
And tequila is something that you feel fits in more naturally with an active lifestyle?
Absolutely. You have to find that balance. I don’t think anyone should live necessarily a bootcamp type of existence. You should be able to eat right, exercise and have your days where you unwind, eat what you want, have a couple of cocktails and then go back into the gym. I always say, ‘it’s easier to stay in shape than to get in shape.’ You get to that place where you find the balance.
I had a ‘gincident’ when I was younger, overindulging in the spirit once and couldn’t even smell it for years after. Was there ever any type of liquor that inspired a similar reaction?
I didn’t have a gincident, I had an Irish Cream attack [laughs]. I would just see a billboard in the train station for [Bailey’s] and get sick.
So, you’re from Dorchester [Massachusetts] originally, but you’ve done a good job of shedding the accent over the years.
When I [first] came out to LA, people were looking at me like I was from another planet. The accent was like nails on a chalkboard. So I worked so hard to get rid of it. Even though some of the best roles I’ve ever played, The Fighter, The Departed, Ted, A Perfect Storm — I [originally] vowed that I would never play a character from Boston. And it was too hard to commit to doing that.
Who does the accent the best?
Well let’s just say myself, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris Evans …
Yeah, but you’re all from Boston, that’s a competitive advantage.
I can’t give it up to anybody. Actually, I’ll give it up to Clooney because he was smart enough to not try the accent during The Perfect Storm. I remember when we did The Departed, people who weren’t from Boston were all thinking, why do Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon sound so different? They thought that we had the bad Boston accents and everybody else sounded authentic!
Are you feeling good about the New England Patriots, as they get ready for the playoffs?
Absolutely not. It was my fault to think that with a rookie quarterback that they’d just march right back into greatness. It’s going to take a little while. But they’ve got a better away record than a home record, so they could go do some damage. You never know.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Source : https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lifestyle/lifestyle-news/mark-wahlberg-invests-tequila-brand-flecha-azul-1235075754/#!1634