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Actor Miles Teller on why he invested in a popular Finnish drink

September 4, 2021, 12:00 PM UTC

Miles Teller is an American actor and musician, appearing in films including Rabbit Hole, Footloose, Fantastic Four, Whiplash, and the Divergent franchise.

In 2019, Teller announced that he’d become an investor in and cofounder of the Long Drink Co., maker of a gin-based alcoholic beverage inspired by a drink popular in Finland. The heritage of long drinks is tied to the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki, an event that prompted the Finnish government to figure out how to quickly serve drinks to visitors. The country subsequently commissioned a new liquor drink to meet demand.

Why I Invested-Miles Teller
Miles Teller
Courtesy of the Long Drink

• Startup: The Long Drink
 Year founded: 2018
• Valuation: Declined to disclose. The Long Drink announced it had raised $25 million in July 2021.
• Investment level: Growth equity
• Number of employees: 20
• Location: New York, N.Y.
• Other major investors: Private investment firm Neuberger Berman; PGA golfers Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Kramer Hickok; actor-singer Diego Boneta; tennis players Reilly Opelka and Taylor Fritz; and race car driver Ken Block

The Long Drink is an alcoholic beverage from Finland, now available in the U.S.
Courtesy of the Long Drink

Why he invested, in his own words

A few years ago, I was walking around downtown New York, and I went into a liquor store where a few guys were doing a tasting of the Long Drink. I tried it, and I was blown away. I thought it tasted great. And then they started telling me about the history of the drink. I went back to Los Angeles, and it wasn’t in California at that point, so I kept reaching out to the founders to ask them to send me some. We ended up having a mutual friend, and I was able to set up a meeting with the team, and at this point, they were looking to attach a public figure to the company. I said yes, absolutely. I’ve been presented a lot of different things in the past—which I almost unanimously turn down because it can feel like a cash grab or product-wise isn’t the right fit. But this checked all the boxes for me.

Selling a product isn’t something I’ve ever felt comfortable with. With films, it’s not about me, it’s about the movie. For the most part, the films I attach myself to, they have all been something I have felt a strong connection to. I feel the same way about Long Drink. There’s a history to it, and it’s nice to bring the national alcoholic beverage of a country, Finland, to America. I went to Finland to learn more, and while I was there, I tried pretty much every long drink out there. I can proudly say ours stands up with the best of them. It is important to create something that’s both traditional and unique with our Long Drink.

I’m not a hard seltzer drinker; for me, I either like a cocktail or a beer. But with Long Drink, I was instantly impressed. Gin is the one liquor that I hadn’t really had too much experience with, I don’t love it personally. But I’ve always heard from buddies of mine that the gin buzz is the best. With Long Drink, it is perfect over ice, with a lime wedge and a splash of reposado. To me, that’s the perfect cocktail. I love that with Long Drink, we have our own category of drink. And there’s also sugar-free and low-calorie options, because while alcohol isn’t exactly healthy, you do want better options. I fell in love with the original Long Drink, but if I want a healthier option—say for a role—I’d go with the sugar-free. The cranberry is nice and refreshing, and our black label is perfect if you want to kick it up a notch.

For anyone I am going to work with, whether it’s a director, or a studio or producer, or even people on my team like my agent or publicist, it is always about a gut feeling. I got a feeling that I wanted to go into business with Long Drink because I love the founders. They are wide-eyed in this endeavor, but they also aren’t afraid to put the work in, and the company is growing quickly.

The sell, to me, is trying it. That’s how Kygo, who DJ’ed at my wedding in Hawaii, got involved. He tried it and loved it, and not too long after he left the wedding, his manager called the team and said they’d love to be involved. It happened with golfer Rickie Fowler, too. There are times in this business when you maybe ask for favors, and it can be tricky. But when the product is as good as Long Drink is, it makes those conversations easier. When I see that blue can, I just start getting thirsty. It is like sunshine in a can.

This is an installment of Why I Invested, a series featuring famous investors from all different backgrounds and industries, revealing what inspired them to invest their own money in a new business.