Snoop Dogg poses with a cocktail made from his new gin.
With a career spanning nearly 30 years—and over 35 million albums sold—Snoop Dogg is undoubtedly a living legend in the world of music. His emergence as a prominent figure in the beverage industry has been less obvious. But in recent years, the prolific hip-hop star has cropped up as the celebrity face of both beer and spirit brands. Last year he even launched his own label of wine. And there’s one booze in particular with which he’s most commonly associated. It all stems back to his first smash hit single: Gin And Juice from his 4x platinum debut album, Doggystyle.
So it was hardly a surprise late last year when Snoop announced the arrival of his very own line of the liquid: Indoggo (pronounced like ‘indigo’). The real question is what took him so long. Turns out, he was just waiting for the proper partnership to emerge. He found just that with Keenan Towns and Marc Weisberg, founders of Trusted Spirits. In a world suddenly spilling over with celebrity brands, theirs is the first company to fully develop and market products with the stars themselves, who enjoy co-ownership. In other words, expect to hear a lot more from them in the months to come.
But for now, let’s get back to Snoop. To conceive something truly his own, the superstar opted to essentially combine gin and juice in the bottle. The light-bodied liquid is distilled five times with botanicals traditional to the category—juniper, coriander, and orange peel—before it is infused with an all-natural strawberry flavor.
And so Snoop, who himself generally prefers other forms of intoxicants, has crafted something that’s accessible to him and others who perhaps don’t often sip spirits neat. Let’s just let him tell you more in his own words…
Tell us about the thought process that went into developing Indoggo.
I definitely wanted it to be fruity, so that you didn’t have to add no chaser to it. Make it gin and juicy, more or less, so that when people get it, you just add the ice and you feel like it’s already there—no components needed. It’s already shook up for you, you know what I’m saying? You can add juice if you want to. But I prefer it without [served solo on the rocks].
You’ve been a high-profile spirits spokesperson for years. What made you want to create your own line of spirit?
Those other brands really didn’t really do things that I know how to do. They didn’t speak to what I was trying to speak to. I just wanted to have something that I could do, considering: I knew it, I was a fan of it, I was a consumer of it. Why not capitalize by creating with some great people who know how to make it and how to market it and how to distribute it. We just put a team together that could execute the greatness of something like this. And it’s a perfect representation of me in a bottle.
Gin and Juice came out in 1993, so is this pretty much a product 30 years in the making?
Definitely, it’s been branded very well. What I did with the gin market by being able to associate myself with brands like Seagrams and Tanqueray [allowed me to] branch out to create my own thing—not as competition but to be another option, another piece to the puzzle because there’s no such thing as competition when you’re working with good material. [I love] being able to have something that’s close to me, that symbolizes my career and symbolizes a great taste in the gin world.
You grew up in 1970s and 1980s Long Beach. Was gin popular in that scene?
Gin was always boppin’ in the hood, before rappers started making music…It was a hood classic, that’s why I was speaking on it, because it was in my hood and it was in a lot of other people’s neighborhoods and it wasn’t getting the respect it deserved so we just felt like putting a spotlight on things like that. And 30 years later it’s still worthy of me being connected to it and creating my own version of it.
Was there inspiration for this from the older generation?
It definitely came from the older people, because you couldn’t get alcohol. You’re seeing the adults drinking the gin—they drunk it with pineapple juice, with cranberry juice, with orange juice. And then it all came to fruition when you get older and you was able to drink and you experimented with it and it wasn’t as hard as a beer, wasn’t as strong as a cognac or a brown liquor, it had a smooth twist it. The way we was presented it, it always had a juice mixed with it.
So the gin and tonic revival of the past few years hasn’t really won you over?
I get down how I throw down: any way accordingly. Gin is always great, no matter what you make with it. But I prefer it with Minute Maid fruit punch, or some cranberry juice.
What’s your ideal setting for enjoying a cocktail?
Probably would be on the back porch, gazing at the sun with a lake with fish in it, with no fishing. Just looking at the lake, sipping a glass.
Which of your albums would you most closely relate to the production of Indoggo?
The Blue Carpet Treatment because it was a seasoned album, I was a veteran, I understand the dynamics of the business. It’s the same thing with this: I’m a seasoned veteran of gin, I understand the business and I’ve got a super team around me. It’s worldwide, it’s global—it’s a new flavor for Snoop Dogg.
You’ve had the opportunity to share your gin with Martha Stewart. Has she helped you become a better bartender?
My drink is simple, I don’t do all that shaking and bullsh*t. That’s for Martha to be doing. That’s too much work, I’m just trying to get drunk, you know? [But] if I was making a drink, she would give me three or four different ways to make it better with ingredients. One of the things I appreciate with her: she’s always in that mode as far as giving me knowledge and information on shit that I don’t know, that I need to know.
Is there anything you don’t enjoy drinking?
I won’t f*ck with whiskey. It ain’t my thing. It’s just too strong for me. I’m too smooth for that sh*t.
Did you pick up any notable hobbies during lockdown?
I went back into making music again. I’ve got a bunch of projects that are about to come out. Me on it, me producing it, the whole nine; Mount Westmore—Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Too Short, E-40—supergroup coming later this year. We got three albums now: volume 1, 2 and 3. Volume 1 should be out in March, then we’ll be putting out another six months later.
Touring has obviously been off the table over the past year. Has that been especially difficult for you?
Nah. Before I was Snoop Dogg — I was in jail and all that sh*t. This is not a long period at all. It’s actually cool because you get a chance to evaluate and see what you did right when you were on stage last time. So I’m looking at this as study time—a reflection period—for me. You can’t watch your highlights when you got a game tomorrow.
Snoop Dogg prepares his Remix cocktail with Indoggo Gin
Brad Japhe is a freelance journalist specializing in food, beverage, and travel. He moonlights as a beer and spirits consultant, hosting monthly craft