Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman's affinity for Beefeater gin martinis is well known on the local scene. Soon, he may become even more famous for that fondness.
Goodman is negotiating with Allied Domecq, Beefeater's parent company, to become a spokesman for the product in Nevada. The company approached Goodman after hearing from its local distributor that the mayor is frequently photographed with martini glass in hand, publicly praises the gin and even displays Beefeater paraphernalia in his office.
"Our brand positioning is that Beefeater gin is for bold spirits, and Goodman certainly is one of those," says Jack Shea, a spokesman for Allied Domecq.
Goodman is holding out for a $100,000 paycheck, the bulk of which would go toward replenishing city coffers, which have suffered from the decline in tourism. A portion would also be devoted to treating chronic alcoholism and a small share may be set aside for education. The mayor "personally wouldn't benefit one penny," says Erik Pappa, a city spokesman.
The notion of an elected official endorsing distilled alcohol has left Las Vegas residents stirred but not shaken. The Las Vegas Review- Journal ran an informal poll about Goodman's venture on its Web site. Although a quarter of respondents thought it would reflect poorly on the city, most people thought it wouldn't raise an eyebrow in "Sin City," and many even expressed the hope that it would soon be city policy to provide free martinis for all.