The most well-known alcoholic beverage associated with an MMA fighter is without a doubt Conor McGregor’s Proper No. 12 whisky. Josh Barnett, a former UFC heavyweight, appeared to have forgotten to mention McGregor’s business when talking about his own whisky tale.In 2019, Barnett collaborated with the renowned Sespe Creek Distillery to produce the Warmaster bourbon. The former fighter for the Pancreas, Pride, Strikeforce, and UFC claims that Sespe Creek contacted him while he was already searching for distilleries.Barnett seems to have found the notion of a whisky brand appealing because celebrities had not yet entered the market. But ‘The Warmaster’ omitted to mention Proper No. 12 whisky, which Conor McGregor drinks. On a recent episode of the El Segundo podcast, the 45-year-old said:
I started doing this in 2019.” Surprisingly, I was already attempting to build relationships with several distilleries when they contacted me because I wanted to sell whisky. Celebrities have released alcohol in the past, but it was always vodka and other drinks, and they essentially did nothing more than white label products, where someone else made the juice and you applied your own label.
When Josh Barnett credited Conor McGregor’s Proper No. 12 for paving the way
A year before Josh Barnett and David Brandt, Ph.D., the founder and distiller of Sespe Creek Distiller, met, Conor McGregor created Proper No. 12. The Notorious would later sell Proximo Spirits the majority of his whisky business for an astounding $600 million in 2021.
McGregor opened the door for boxers to enter the alcohol industry, and Barnett once complimented him for that. It wasn’t strictly about mimicking McGregor, but rather realising that fighters in general enjoy whisky, claims ‘The Warmaster’. Former UFC heavyweight told The Bourbon Review previously:
“Well, to be really honest, I have to credit Conor McGregor for his ability to stray into the realm of spirits. The idea that “hey, by the way, professional fighters drink and they like whisky, and they are also involved with things outside of fighting” was all that was required. This was especially true for me, as someone who has been drinking whisky for a long time, as I have always wanted to release my own whisky into the world. Working with Sespe has provided me with the chance to do so alongside individuals who care so much about the process and who also have their very own method to doing so; it’s forward-thinking.