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Ryan Reynolds' Aviation Gin sold to Diageo for up to $610 million

Actor Ryan Reynolds has scored another hit with the sale his Aviation Gin to Diageo for as much as $610 million. 

Diageo said on Monday the deal includes an initial payment of $335 million, with a further payout of up to $275 million based on sales of the product over a 10-year period. Aviation Gin is owned by Davos Brands and Reynolds, who Diageo said will maintain "an ongoing ownership interest." The gin will join Diageo's lineup of gin brands including Tanqueray, as well as other spirits such as Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky.

The spirits maker generated online buzz last year after the "Deadpool" star tweeted an ad for the drink poking fun at a Peloton commercial much criticized as promoting negative body images and unhealthy marital dynamics. The Aviation promo features the actress from the original Pelaton ad staring blankly into the distance as she is consoled over martinis at a bar by a couple of friends. Says one friend, "You're safe here." Reynolds tweeted the ad with the line, "Exercise bike not included."

Emerging gin brands have grown in popularity, according to trade publication The Drinks Business, which noted last year that more than 400 new gins have hit the market since 2016. Most of those newcomers are premium gins like Aviation, which consumers are using in cocktails such as negronis, martinis and gin and tonics.

"A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation Gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit," Reynolds said in a statement. "We're so excited for the next chapter of Aviation Gin, which, I promise, will require just as little reading."

The super-premium gin segment doubled its share of gin sales from 2014 to 2019, and is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 18.5%, Diageo said in another statement. Aviation is one of the fastest-growing brands in what Diageo terms the "super premium" gin segment in the U.S., doubling its sales last year. 

The purchase is expected to close by the end of 2020. 

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