Building an Empire – Charles Barkley gives back to his home in Alabama with Redmont Vodka.

Charles Barkley, former NBA basketball player, and current television analyst has expanded his portfolio investing in Redmont Distilling Company in his home state of Alabama. 

His hometown of Birmingham (Alabama) embraces him as their favorite son as he brings business and employment with the distillery and its spirits. Birmingham is also considered one of the top food destinations in the country and one of the best cities in the United States to visit. Perfect timing as Birmingham affectionately referred to as “The Magic City,” prepares to host the World Games 2022, an Olympic-style event to feature competition in 34 sports with athletes from more than 100 countries. As the official vodka of The World Games 2022, Redmont Distilling Company is ready for its introduction to the world and will be releasing special edition bottles to commemorate the games.

Redmont Distilling Company, the first legal distillery in Birmingham since prohibition, recently opened its new Avondale (Birmingham) distillery. Barkley became a majority owner in August 2019, with the business now minority-owned and led by a woman.

However, Redmont Vodka is more than just an endorsement deal for Barkley. 

“I wanted to put my name on a business and own that business,” he says. “I had to explain to distributors that I just didn’t put my name on a vodka but that I am a majority owner of the distillery.” 

“I have wanted to buy a business located in Alabama for several years. I still have family there and my financial advisors are in Birmingham. So I wanted to invest in my community,” explains Barkley. “Then this opportunity came up with Redmont and I am very happy that I invested in the distillery.” 

Barkley really enjoys spirits, especially vodka, and originally planned on marketing Redmont Vodka only in the region. As its success grew, distribution was expanded first in the southeast with plans to reach every state. 

He is also proud that the distillery is minority-owned. “It is important for minorities to own businesses as entrepreneurs and not depend on working for others. That is a big deal and very important to me.” Redmont Distilling Company also supports minority-owned businesses in all areas of operations.

The World Games 2022 will be the 11th World Games and will feature 34 official sports in 54 disciplines (including wheelchair rugby and tug of war), which will be contested at 30 venues across the Birmingham area July 7-17.

Along with Redmont Distilling Company named as the official vodka of the World Games, Barkley will serve as an honorary co-chairman of the World Games, along with singer Randy Owen, lead singer for the country band Alabama.

“The World Games will be great for Birmingham. The city is very significant to the state and the country,” says Barkley. “We have a great mayor, Randall L. Woodfin, who is young and doing wonderful things for the city. He is one of the reasons I wanted to be involved with the business community in Birmingham. He actually encouraged me to invest in Redmont.” 

There is an opportunity for someone to win the World Games experience including a travel voucher, World Games tickets to selected events and meet Charles Barkley at the opening ceremony in Birmingham. To be considered, a video of the person experiencing Redmont Vodka with hashtag #RedmontChallenge needs to be uploaded on social media.Eleanor Estes serves as Chief Executive Officer and her husband Claude Estes as Company Manager and Chief Financial Officer in the distillery.                    

“I am thrilled that we are minority-owned and led by a woman,” says Barkley. 

Redmont Vodka is corn-based, making it gluten-free, and distilled eight times through advanced carbon filtration systems. Its aim is clarity in taste, color, and smell. Redmont features the purest reverse osmosis water to blend its vodka to 40 percent ABV 80 Proof.

“I wanted our vodka to be unique and smooth with a clean taste,” says Charles Barkley. “We conducted a taste test comparing our vodka to the No. 1 vodka (Tito’s), and our vodka tasted better.”

The distillery was named after Birmingham’s Red Mountain to honor the history and culture of the city and as an inspiration for founders Stephen Watts, Jake Hendon, and Jonathan Guidry. Red Mountain offered three elements necessary to make iron, including limestone and coal, as well as the red ore formed more than 400 million years ago. As the only place in the world where all three were found in such proximate abundance, the city of Birmingham was founded in 1871.

Watts, Hendon, and Guidry began to distill Redmont Vodka and Vulcan Gin in 2015 in small batches at its Birmingham distillery. The vodka hit the shelves in early 2016 and found local success, which led to Barkley’s interest. 

The revitalization of downtown Birmingham has transformed several historic buildings into restaurants by local chefs. Five-time James Beard finalist Rob McDaniel, who grew up 80 miles from the city, opened the contemporary Southern grill Helen inside a 1920s shotgun-style building. The Essential has been opened by Southern-bred chef Victor King and pastry chef Kristen Hall. They have partnered with farmers to serve vegetable-heavy dishes, homemade pasta, and delicious desserts.

Urban Supply reimagined a century-old warehouse in the Parkside neighborhood as a mixed-use development with restaurants, bars, shopping, and fitness studios. City Walk BHAM will add markets, green spaces, and food trucks in the city under Interstate 59/20.

Charles Barkley played 16 seasons and became an 11-time NBA All-Star, an 11-time member of the All-NBA Team, and the 1993 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP). During the NBA’s 50th anniversary, Barkley was named one of the league’s 50 Greatest Players and one of the 75 Greatest Players in NBA History for the league’s 75th anniversary.

“I really appreciate the people of Alabama. They have been so supportive of me and the vodka and gin,” explains Barkley. “They have been amazing and I believe Birmingham is ahead of the curve when it comes to spirits, food, and culture.”

Redmont Vodka is available online and in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Texas. Visit and follow on Facebook @ redmontdistilling, Instagram @ redmont_vodka, and Twitter @ RedmontVodka.