By Dylan Deprey
Steven “Big Stevo” Love was no stranger to the party.
Whether he was next to Coo Coo Cal during the explosion that was “In my Projects,” or promoting artists and shows across the Midwest as “It’s Just Money Ent.,” he was in good spirits with good spirits.
As his name and connections widened, so did his interests outside of artist promotions. In 2016, Prevè Vodka reached out for a stake in the company and some of that “Love Flare.”
“We were at shows, nightclubs, and concerts. Everybody’s drinking. It just made sense because it’s my audience anyway,” Love said.
He built on the established brand. Along with premiering in some of Milwaukee’s finest cocktail lounges, he scored a deal with Sam’s Club. It was one of the first local black-owned liquor brands to seal the deal.
After parting ways with Prevè, a nationally-recognized Baton Rouge rapper reached out for Love’s Midas touch.
Boosie had a name, fan base and flavored vodka recipe. He needed Love to handle the branding and promotions. They built the brand from the ground up, and released Boosie Juice in 2017.
The brand did millions in nationwide sales, and competed with the major brands, which was unheard of at the time.
“It translated because what I was doing with artists in the music game, we took that and applied it to the liquor and spirit industry,” Love said.
He recently launched Boosie’s Mercadier cognac brand in 2019. While he enjoyed the success through the entire process, he wanted to elevate to the next level. It was his turn to build his own brand from the ground up.
“It’s like I went to college and learned the process to help people build.” Love said. “It was time for me. I was making a lot of people money, and it was time to focus on my own brand.”
While in France working on his wine brand, “Midnight Love,” he attended a spirit conference with his business partner Alexander. They met two tequila distillers, and hit it off.
He said he knew he had to pursue his own tequila brand after his deceased mother came to him in a dream. All it took was a trip to Mexico, some recipe tweaks and Love’s eye for bottling and a distribution deal.
Ricarda Amor tequila will officially be released on Friday, June 19, 2020.
“I wanted to release it on Juneteenth, around Father’s Day,” Love said.
Ricarda Amor is available in Blanco (white) and Añejo (aged). He said the smooth flavor tastes well on its own or mixed, for those that want a Margarita or Tequila sunrise for that special occasion.
Love said after working hands-on with chemists and distillers in Mexico, it was all about quality—no cutting corners.
“A lot of people do things and they shortcut it or bootleg it, but not me because I only wanted great products,” Love said. “That’s why I go to the source. The grapes in the wine, are from France. The cognac is from Cognac, France, and the agave is 100% from Mexico and distilled there.”
Outside of distilling and packaging, Love also has a deal with Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), the second biggest spirit distributor in the US. This gives him the freedom to continue his other ventures, instead of running from store to store selling his brand.
He continues to promote local and national artists. From their own flavored spirits to special scents, Love said it was always about looking forward.
“Ricarda Amor is the start, we’re just trying to make moves for Milwaukee,” Love said.
For more information visit www.lovescelebritybrands.com