'Muff men' | 

Russell Crowe joins Ed Sheeran and Ronan Keating as he invests in Donegal’s Muff Liquor Company

Russell Crowe© WireImage

Rachel McLaughlinSunday World

Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe has revealed he has invested in Donegal’s Muff Liquor Company, alongside a host of celebrity pals.

Ed Sheeran, Jimmy Carr and Ronan Keating have also been tipped as fellow ‘Muff Liquor men’ who are backing the premium spirits company.

Muff Liquor Company, co-founded by Inishowen woman Laura Bonner, is launching its Irish whiskey, gin and vodka in Australia this March.

New Zealander Crowe has been a Muff fan ever since his visit to Ireland last August. He was introduced to the Irish Potato Craft Gin while on a break from filming ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ in Dublin and Wicklow, and he immediately wanted more.

The ‘Gladiator’ movie star revealed to Sydney radio station NovaFM why he backed the venture with his drinking buddies.

“I found this product in Ireland and I put together a little group of guys. I said try this, do you like it, should we get involved in this?,” he said.

The venture is registered in Dublin as MLM Distillery Investments.

“I can proudly tell you that I have bought into the company and I am a Muff liquor man,” Crowe revealed, much to the amusement of NovaFM presenters Fitzy and Wippa.

The investment is set to be an exciting boost for the Donegal village of Muff, which the company is named after, and big plans are now expected from the proudly-Irish company.

Now that Crowe is an investor, he is already promoting the amazing story of the original Muff liquor maker worldwide.

The company was inspired by Laura Bonner’s grandfather, Inishowen man Philip Mc Clenaghan who was a potato farmer and underground poitin maker.

“In the county of Donegal there is a little town called Muff. That is the name of the town,” Crowe told NovaFM.

“Back in the day, this guy called Phil Mc Clenaghan is a potato farmer, but on the weekends he would experiment with what else he could do with potatoes. So he became a bootlegger and he used to make a thing called poitin.

"It’s like a liquor based on potatoes and it’s extremely strong. If you’ve had the real stuff it’s sometimes a little more than an alcohol. It feels more like magic mushrooms, not that I have any experience of that.

“He used to sell his liquor in old cough medicine bottles. Friday would come around and all the people of the town would come past his place to pick up something for the weekend.

“His granddaughter, a girl called Laura Bonner, she looked at what her grandfather created and she decided to legitimise the company.”

Laura launched the potato-based spirits business in 2018 alongside her Manchester-based business partner Tom Russell. The company has been growing worldwide ever since.

Crowe already hinted at his link to the company before the New Year when he tweeted a photo of a bottle of Muff gin, writing: “Getting ready for 2023.”

The tweet prompted jokes and giggles from fans who are not accustomed to hearing ‘Muff’ in the context of the Donegal village.

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