Russell Crowe drawn to Donegal liquor company through ‘fantastic’ origin story

Hollywood star Russell Crowe said he decided to invest in a Co Donegal liquor company after being drawn to its “fantastic” origin story.

The Gladiator and LA Confidential actor attended the formal opening of the new home for The Muff Liquor Company, along with broadcaster Ryan Tubridy and former Boyzone member Ronan Keating.

Crowe and Keating are among the investors in the company, which has recently signed a distribution deal for the US market.

Crowe said he was “thoroughly impressed with what I’ve seen” at the new building.

“Hopefully this is the beginning of a long series of successes for you, for your company,” he told chief executive of the company Laura Bonner.

Crowe said he was first attracted to the company because he loves a great story.

Muff Liquor Company opening
Ronan Keating, Russell Crowe and Ryan Tubridy attend the opening of the new brand home for the Muff Liquor Company (Liam McBurney/PA)

Ms Bonner’s grandfather Philip, a potato farmer, began experimenting with making vodkas and gin using his own recipe.

After first trying it out on family and friends, it developed to the stage that every Friday afternoon a queue of locals would pass through his farmhouse to pick up a jar of his spirits before the local dance.

“When I heard the story of old Phil and what would happen on a Friday afternoon, I just got really attracted to it,” Crowe said.

“And then I tried the product, and that really sealed the idea for me that I had to get involved.

“It is a great product and the story is a fantastic story that will travel from place to place, from country to country. And I just wanted to be part of that.”

He added: “It’s a romantic idea, isn’t it? A potato farmer looking at what he can do with his rotten potatoes, comes up with a recipe for a drink that appeals to people, and on a Friday afternoon a few drop in and fill up their receptacles, I just think it’s a brilliant story of community,” he said to laughter.

Muff Liquor Company opening
Actor Russell Crowe attends the opening in Muff, Co Donegal (Liam McBurney/PA)

Tubridy, who hosted the opening, became friends with Crowe through interviewing him as the former host of RTE’s The Late Late Show.

He said: “We wouldn’t pedal muck, this is good stuff. I think people like the fact that there’s a story with it, it’s not just a drink. So I like that too.”

Keating said: “Russell and I had been chatting for quite some time about getting involved in different liquor brands, it had become a trendy thing.

“I got a call one day, he was here in Ireland shooting a film, and he just said ‘I’ve found it’.

Muff Liquor Company opening
(Liam McBurney/PA)

“‘Found what?’ ‘I found what we’ve been looking for’.

“‘The Muff men’ was created and it’s been a hell of a lot of fun. When Rusty calls, we step up to the plate.

“To see this come to fruition, we’ve been talking about it for nearly three years now, to see what the Bonnar family have done.”

Crowe also took time to pose for photos with locals gathered outside the new building.