John Wayne’s Son Ethan Talks About the Duke’s Unfinished Dreams

by Liz Holland
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John Wayne was an iconic force during Hollywood’s Golden Age. The actor and filmmaker’s starring roles in western and war movies made him a household name. However, the Duke was a multi-dimensional man with an array of passions outside of acting. One of his passions was liquor, specifically bourbon, according to his son Ethan Wayne. In honor of his late father John Wayne’s unfinished dreams, Ethan is launching a liquor line. 

Ethan Wayne joined Fox Business for a chat on Friday to speak about the specialty liquor. Joining him was founder and CEO of Duke Spirits, Chris Ramonski. 

Ethan explained to Fox Business how he knew the Duke had a passion for spirits. “Well, my father had many different interests, but he was busy,” Wayne said. “He’d make two films, he was gone 6 months per year… Then he’s gotta come back and deal with family. Three wives, and other business.”

Ethan Wayne Says New Liquor Is Timeless

The actor’s son continues, “So, [between] spirits, and mining, and ranching, and farming, he just didn’t have time to get to everything. When we got into our archive…I saw all the bourbons, tequilas, wines and champagnes that had been stored there for 40 years…We looked at it, we knew what he [John Wayne] liked, and we thought it was appropriate to bring something to market that was timeless over trend.”

He explains of the newly launched liquor, “I think that’s what you’ll find in this bottle, you’ll have authentic quality spirits. Whether it’s whiskey, or whether it’s tequila.”

Meanwhile, Chris Radomski opened up about the process of recreating John Wayne’s favorite in an authentic way. He tells Fox that when Ethan shared what he had uncovered in the archive, it presented a unique opportunity. Duke spirits was able to taste the spirits that John Wayne himself kept. “There really was a definitive profile, like anything else made 30,40,50 years ago– it’s just done differently,” Ramonski dishes. He adds, “I was in the wine industry a long time and we were able to sort of re-engineer given what we had, and the evidence, to do something a little bit different. I think it’s really reflective in the bottle. I like to drink it.”

Duke Distillery Tequila To Support John Wayne Cancer Foundation

Ethan Wayne later chimed in with a cheeky comment to sell the liquor. “I think you should buy bourbon now, because at the rate that our government is printing money, this bourbon will become more valuable over time,” he jokes. Chris Romanski chuckled in response, adding at the end of the interview, “It’s our pleasure to [fill] the legacy, and do something a little bit different.”

The distillery launched a limited line of tequila that supports the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, an organization whose mission is to “bring courage, strength, and grit to the fight against cancer.”

You can find out more information about how to support the foundation as well as the Duke’s other liquors on the Duke Distillery website here.

Outsider.com