Rep Phillips’ political career under fire after raunchy ad campaign for Canadian whisky

Rep. Dean Phillips’ Checkered Past: Raunchy Ads and Political Aspirations – 

Rep. Dean Phillips, a 2024 Democratic presidential hopeful, faces scrutiny over his past involvement in a raunchy ad campaign for Revelstoke, a spiced Canadian whisky, back in 2000.

Phillips, who transitioned from overseeing his family’s booze business to a political career, is now vying for the presidency, having launched a Democratic primary bid against President Joe Biden in October 2023.

Background and Controversial Marketing Tactics:

In the early 2000s, Phillips served as the president and CEO of Phillips Distilling Company, inheriting the role after earning an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s business school.

The controversy surrounds a marketing campaign for Revelstoke, which employed strippers and used questionable portrayals of women to promote the whisky. The ads, deliberately designed to be ‘politically incorrect,’ mocked Canada and targeted men aged 20 to 35.

Details of the Ad Campaign:

The ad campaign, as reported in a February 2001 Strategy article, ran in men’s magazines Maxim and Stuff, adopting a libertarian approach reminiscent of earlier, less cautious advertising eras.

The ads humorously suggested scenarios where ‘massive consumption of whisky’ was deemed necessary, such as dealing with overweight, undesirable women at the bar. The campaign also featured derogatory comments about Canada.

Phillips’ Business Background and Political Career:

Dean Phillips is often credited with bringing Belvedere vodka from Poland to the United States, showcasing his business acumen. In 2018, he made political waves by flipping a Republican seat blue in Minnesota, earning him the moniker of the ‘charming liquor heir.’

Following President Trump’s 2016 win, Phillips entered politics, leveraging his business background.

Shift to Political Arena and Presidential Aspirations:

Phillips’ political career gained momentum, leading to his current bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

His decision to challenge President Biden stems from concerns about Biden’s age, with Phillips hoping to gain traction in New Hampshire, where he won’t directly compete with Biden on the ballot.

Current Presidential Race Dynamics:

Despite Phillips’ presidential aspirations, recent polls in New Hampshire show Biden leading significantly, even as a write-in candidate.

Biden, at 81, is the country’s oldest president, and Phillips positions himself as a fighter for women’s bodily autonomy, especially in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Response to Past Ad Campaign:

In light of the scrutiny, a spokesperson for Phillips’ presidential campaign stated that the congressman disapproves of the controversial ads and would not endorse them today.

This acknowledgment comes as Phillips endeavors to reconcile his past business decisions with his present political identity.


Rep. Dean Phillips finds himself navigating a complex landscape as he contends with past controversies while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

The revelations surrounding the raunchy ad campaign underscore the challenges Phillips faces in aligning his business background with the evolving expectations and sensitivities of the political arena.

As the presidential race unfolds, scrutiny over candidates’ histories continues to shape public perceptions and influence electoral dynamics.

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