Status Quo star Francis Rossi to head Glen Rossie whisky

STATUS Quo lead singer Francis Rossi usually only gets this excited when he puts out a single or album and watches the charts for success.

Now he admits his first non-music business venture is making his "left foot waggle" as he becomes chairman of an historic whisky brand.

Rossi has bought a stake in the 196-year-old Glen Rossie whisky and become its chairman in the deal with The Brand Cellar, a company specialising in acquiring older brands.

Glen Rossie was owned by failed drinks firm First Quench which went into administration last year, and when The Brand Cellar approached veteran rocker Rossi, he said he did not need much time before he took the opportunity.

He told The Scotsman: "I can feel my innards getting tingling. I'm elated by it. This is something different.

"The idea of me being a chairman, it's like, 'Oh yes'.

"I can't say it's not about money. I don't pretend I don't love money. This looks like a good investment.

"I grew up in retail so the idea of the turnover I get quite excited about.

"When a record comes out we see what the sales are. You see the position in the chart and it's an affirmation of success. I do love the thrill of the sale."

The 60-year-old, originally from Forest Hill, London, said he was first introduced to the whisky sometime in the past decade when a bottle of it was placed on the band's tour bus by a caterer who thought it was funny. Rossi said he first thought it was a joke, a bottle with nearly his name on it.

Glen Rossie made regular appearances on tours with the band, known for singles such as Marguerita Time and 28 studio albums including Thirsty Work.

The Brand Cellar approached Rossi about a possible deal on the whisky and a chance meeting in a hotel in Melbourne, Australia, while on tour earlier this year led to his involvement.

He said: "All of us in rock and roll have tried venturing into business.

"I know Floyd did it, U2 did it. We all think we know what we're doing because we earn some money. But we're not businessmen. I didn't have to go punting for it and it's not like I have had an idea. They have come to me. It was quite easy deciding.

"These guys are going for it, now, and that's similar to making records."

Rossi said his new brand was "not cheap p***", thin or watery and he liked the viscosity and density of it.

Keyboardist and bass guitarist Andy Bown always got Rossi to "smell things and Glen Rossie smells rather pleasant," he said.

He added: "Whisky generally can make me shudder. This tastes like whisky but it doesn't make you shudder. I can't drink loads of anything, but it's something nice to sip late at night. I just like the idea of a drink with my name on it."

The Scotch will be relaunched in a new-look bottle carrying a label in the shape of a plectrum, in a nod to Rossi's music career spanning nearly five decades.


CELEBRITY brands are nothing new, with Loyd Grossman, below, Paul Newman and Linda McCartney some of the most well-established food choices.

Newman's Own brand has raised over 136 million for more than 100 charities over three decades. Actress Jane Asher developed her own cake decorating for her children before it became a franchise.

Other celebrity food has included Frankie Dettori's Italian foods, Terence Stamp's wheat-free bread and pasta, Barry Norman's pickled onions and Harry Hill's fairtrade peanuts.