Jeremy Renner - The Sweet Life - Sweet Grass Vodka
Elevated sat down with award winning actor, producer, musician, expert renovator, and entrepreneur, Jeremy Renner, diving into his latest endeavors, new perspective on life, philanthropy, and newest hat, vodka brand founder.
How has life been treating you lately, tell us about your overall perspective?
The accident reshaped my life, urging me to embrace gratitude each day. Life now is wonderfully lean, focused, and simplified. It’s not easy, but nothing that is worthwhile in life is ever easy. The clarity in my life since the accident; what I allow, what I repel, and what I manifest is so clear to me and more importantly to most of the people around me. I’ve bid farewell to bad days, cherishing every moment as a gift. It has taught me to find joy in the simplest of things and appreciate the beauty of life.
You recently announced you are a partner and founder in Sweet Grass Vodka, out of South Carolina. How did this come to be?
Jarrod and I were introduced in 2022 through my agency. They knew what I was looking for in a business partnership and how important it was for my personal values to align with the type of business and product I wanted to represent. Jarrod and I spoke a few times and it was quickly apparent that we had a natural connection and a shared vision. It’s not just about the product itself, it’s about how the company is run. In talking with Jarrod, I felt that all of the boxes were checked for a meaningful and successful collaboration. There were a lot of things that were very congruent with moral coding and family values, the cornerstone of what Sweet Grass Vodka is all about.
Tell us why Sweet Grass is special, what makes it unique in the Vodka market?
One of the many things I love about Sweet Grass Vodka is that it’s a premium vodka - a potato vodka, which is the cleanest. There’s no sugar and additives. Essentially, the vodka is made from three ingredients-potatoes, water and yeast- all locally sourced and of the highest quality. I love the authenticity to how the product is made and what it represents. From the carefully curated and locally sourced ingredients to the single strand of sweetgrass in every bottle that pays homage to South Carolina’s rich history. Everything is done with purpose, elevating the quality of the experience alongside the high-end product itself. It’s won three master-tasting awards and its price point is something that makes it accessible to most adults. It’s a high-quality spirit at a very good consumer price.
Have you always been a huge vodka drinker, as your spirit of choice?
With regards to spirits, Vodka is what I drink. That’s just a personal preference of mine. It’s clean, clear, no sugar, no additives, no bubbles, no hangover. When vodka is made well, it’s versatility makes it perfect for a daytime, pre-dinner or evening drink. Although it can be enjoyed straight on ice or in a dirty martini, the spirit is typically mixed with other ingredients or crafted into a cocktail. This vodka is able to seamlessly transform for any occasion so you’re never getting bored with it.
What do you love about the taste of Sweet Grass?
One of the things I love about Sweet Grass Vodka is that we made it. I also love its smooth, refined, crisp taste as it makes the best martinis or if you’re anything like me, I enjoy my Sweet Grass Vodka straight-up on ice.
What do you love about the mission behind Sweet Grass?
In my mind, Sweet Grass Vodka is a lifestyle. It’s about choosing who you surround yourself with and the types of experience you share with those individuals. The brand represents friendship and making the most of the limited time we have here on earth. I’ve really enjoyed listening and learning about the spirits business, Sweet Grass Vodka specifically. I’ve found distilling to be like sculpting or baking in that it’s a wonderful science to explore. It’s a very exciting business to be in and I can’t wait to expand upon what has already been built.
You have also released some incredible music in recent years. Tell us about your upcoming album and music releases?
I’ve always loved music. I’ve been playing, writing, recording music for over 40 years now, it was never intended to be shared, it’s something I’ve always done just for me. I’ve only recently decided to share some of it and found placement for a few songs in film and television alike.
What do you love about making music?
Music is personal, it’s an outlet emotionally. One of the things I love about music is that I can just pick up my guitar and sing and be completely satisfied. I don’t need a script, I don’t need other people, cameras, I don’t need anything other than myself, my guitar or keyboard. I appreciate the artistry and emotion embedded in music. It’s an art form that amplifies the beauty of our shared humanity. I believe music has the power to transport us, evoke emotions, and unite us in a shared human experience.
The accident became quite a shared journey of recovery that transcended borders. I was inspired by the incredible outpouring of compassion and felt compelled to share my journey of life, death, and recovery thru music . The seven songs on the album are a musical narrative of my first year of recovery. Each of the songs reflects a chapter of my experience, weaving together emotions, struggles, and triumphs. Through this music, I hope to not only express my gratitude but also inspire others to find strength and resilience in their own journeys. If my story of recovery has helped people, maybe this can be a soundtrack of inspiration.
How has your acting background applied to life as an entrepreneur?
I’ve found that the pillars of truth and honesty are the bedrock of all my endeavors. From business decisions, including movies or spirits to personal interactions, I strive for authenticity in every facet of my life. Without truth and honesty, I can’t get behind it. This is also why my work is NEVER work…it’s just an extension of who I am or what I love.
You also just launched a nonprofit, tell us about this?
My show Rennervations (released March 2023 on Disney+), is what inspired me to launch the RennerVation Foundation. I believe in the power of community and in making my Rennervations show, I witnessed firsthand the transformative effect this can have on individuals, particularly children.
Children are the future, and we have a collective responsibility to nurture their potential. By providing them with opportunities, whether through education, mentorship, or access to resources, we empower them to dream big and reach for the stars. Experiences shape character, instill discipline and open doors to a world of possibilities. I recognize that not every child has the same privileges or opportunities. The RennerVation Foundation is set up to help provide foster kids, vulnerable and underserved youth with opportunity. We are working with wonderful foundations including Big Brothers & Sisters, Boys & Girls Club, The 4-H organization to help fill their needs. We are also working on establishing new programs including a Summer and Winter camp that will provide a secure setting and an enriching camp experience for kids. These camp experiences are designed to give the kids purpose and joy, strengthen their emotional development, and allow them to experience adventure and exploration.
What motto do you live by?
“If it was easy, everyone would do it…”
By refusing to add artificial flavoring we have to rely on fresh, local ingredients to achieve our exceptionally smooth taste. It starts on the field, where hardworking families grow the potatoes that eventually will become Sweet Grass Vodka. In every bottle is a strand of South Carolina grass - a piece of Charleston in every bottle. Sweet Grass Vodka is 100% continuously distilled, highest quality potato vodka founded using a Polish family recipe.
As seen in Forbes in 2021, Sweet Grass Vodka won a Master Award in three separate categories for Organic, Micro-distillery and Smoothest as well as “Best Premium Distillery.” In 2022, Sweet Grass Vodka was crowned “Best Domestic Vodka” by the Fifty Best. Most recently, Sweet Grass Vodka won a gold medal at the 2023 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
To learn more about Sweet Grass Vodka please visit https://sweetgrassvodka.com/.