Together for nearly 13 years and married since 2019, these beloved television stars-turned-small business owners Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton Morgan are now taking their mutual appreciation for a quality beverage to market with their newly-launched MF Libations.
With the rollout of their MF Blackberry gin and the MF Bonfire Smoky Rye whiskey, the Morgans are bringing a taste of their welcoming community in the Hudson Valley to shelves all across the United States, with plans to bring their MF Libations to their international fans soon enough.
So, how did this happy couple ultimately get involved with creating this new brand?
“People had approached you a number of times for bigger brands, as being like a brand ambassador or doing tie-ins and endorsements,” Hilarie tells me via Zoom while speaking directly to Jeffrey sitting beside her. He continues, “But nothing that I had any control over, you know what I mean? It was like We just want to put your name on something and I didn’t feel very comfortable with that. We had talked about it a long time ago – it might be something cool for us to do.”
Hilarie goes on to share that she and Jeffrey first met in a bar, which she says made this leap together into the beverage industry feel like it was meant to be.
Jeffrey adds about the origin of MF Libations saying, “We had talked to this company years ago and then during the pandemic, Hilarie was making her masks and I was delivering to hospitals around and this company got back ahold of us, Vale Fox, and they had turned their distillery into a hand sanitizing making facility. They wanted it distributed, so they had called Hilarie and it grew from there.”
Hilarie continues, “We’re really lucky being small business owners in the Hudson Valley. We’re working with local makers, so we have the local Vale Fox Distillery, Harney & Sons which is another local company whose supplying the tea for our whiskey, we used local videographers for our photo shoots. It’s very important to us that we continue to use as many Hudson Valley makers as possible, so when this does go out to the world, it gives people a taste of what our home is.”
With the Morgans referring to their Upstate New York home surroundings with their two kids as “Mischief Farm,” a place where Jeffrey says they even grow and hand-pick the blackberries that ultimately go into their MF Blackberry gin, I wondered what is each of their favorite spots around the farm to ideally enjoy their new MF Libations options.
Jeffrey shares first, “I prefer the Rye on its own, maybe an ice cube, and by a fire of some sort, because I’ve always got a fire going, whether it’s in a fireplace or outside in one of my 20 fire pits that’s on the farm at any given time.”
Hilarie then reveals, “We both really love the whiskey a lot because it stands on its own two feet, but for me, being in the garden and making potions in the kitchen. I love our Blackberry gin because it mixes so well and so beautifully in mixed drinks.”
A few weeks ago, the Morgans put out a first batch of their MF Libations as limited edition signed bottles, selling out that batch in just one day. With their actual inventory heading into stores now across the country, they are confident that by Mother’s Day, their MF Blackberry gin and their MF Bonfire Smoky Rye whiskey should be available in stores all across the United States, a date that they mention will mark the 13th anniversary of the day they met.
Being partners in life and now in business, I decided to ask the Morgans why they think their spouse makes for a quality business partner in this new endeavor of theirs.
Jeffrey starts by saying, “She’s the brains of the operation, obviously. She’s very detail-oriented, where I’m more big-picture guy. This goes with all of our life, not just this business. She’s on top of everything at all times, so I can’t do better than this as a partner.”
Hilarie follows up with, “Jeff knew immediately what he wanted. The second we were talking about flavors, he knew that like the bonfire, smoky element was something that we had to do because that represented our farm, it represented our lifestyle. The creative choices with our brand, he’s very, very heavily involved in. I do the minutia, like legal documents and things like that, and he deals with taste-making, the creativity, the imagery, the labels on our bottles are hand-written by Jeff. We wanted to use his handwriting so that people felt like they were getting something directly from us.”
Just one year ago, Hilarie guest starred on Jeffrey’s hit AMC series The Walking Dead, playing his character Negan’s dead wife Lucille in a special flashback episode. Knowing that The Walking Dead series will soon end its 11-season run, though Jeffrey will continue on as Negan with a new spinoff series titled Isle of the Dead, I asked this on-screen/off-screen couple if there might be some possibility of more flashbacks scenes between the two of them in future episodes.
“I would love it,” Jeffrey says immediately. Hilarie quickly adds with a laugh, “We just keep getting older and older.”
Jeffrey continues, “It’s hard to keep going back in time, especially me. I’m completely silver now, but you’re right, and fans especially have said we would love to see more story with Lucille and Negan pre-apocalypse. I just read the first two scripts of Isle of the Dead this morning and they’re really good. They’re really, really, really good. I can’t believe how lucky that I am that I get to keep doing this and do it in New York and be home.”
As I wrapped up my playful conversation with the very engaging Morgans, I wondered what made this new business adventure with MF Libations feel like the right bet for them at this moment in their lives.
Hilarie responds, “It’s really easy to slap your name on something that you are not a part of creating and then get a paycheck at the end of the day, which is totally cool, we’re just doing it the exact opposite route where we’re like No, we’re going to dump a bunch of money in and see if it pays in the end and I think we’re excited about the gamble. We’ve always been gamblers. We wouldn’t put it out if we didn’t think it was awesome.”