Bruce Willis a diehard Belvedere man

John McClane, actor Bruce Willis's action hero character in the "Diehard" movie trilogy, took a lot of chances. But, he could always forget about them once the director yelled "Cut!"

Willis's newest character also is taking a chance. It's his real-life role as a spokesman for Belvedere, the French wine and spirits maker that is having a financial dip.

He has signed a four-year "strategic agreement" that allows the company to use his image for advertising purposes in exchange for giving him a 3.3% share of its capital as part of a long-term investment, as reported in The Wall Street Journal.

It's a particularly interesting arrangement in that Belvedere, the world's No. 7 vodka producer, is operating under bankruptcy protation while it restructures a $760 million debt.

Belvedere, however, has a better prognosis for improving its financial situation since it introduced the bargain-brand Sobieski to its U.S. pipeline.

In the fall of 2007, Sobieski -- a quality spirit packaged in a plastic bottle that helps cut its cost to the below-$20 range --i was ranked the No. 1 premium vodka by the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) in a blind tasting of 108 vodkas, the largest review of vodkas in its history, and earned both a gold medal and Best Buy Award.

Go here for one of my reports on Sobieski, and look for a live link to my tasting notes as well.

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