Ian Crystal – the CEO, and co-founder of Evolution Spirits Inc. – died Friday while attempting a dangerous backflip during a Dead & Company concert at Citi Field. Crystal, 46, fell from the fifth-story balcony, plunging 30 to 50 feet to his death. The liquor CEO reportedly landed on concrete and was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police responded to the scene at around 9:00 p.m. Friday, moments after Ian Crystal’s deadly stunt. “Upon arrival, officers observed EMS personnel attending to a 46-year-old male who was suffering from injuries consistent with a fall from an elevated position,” a police spokesperson explained.
Crystal flipped over the balcony ledge before plunging to the concrete below. One witness claimed that “he was unresponsive and he hit the ground head first. There was no way he survived. He was way too drunk. You could smell it.” The witness continued, saying that Ian Crystal’s “brother came downstairs and found out he jumped… his brother was with him. He was crying.”
Police did not confirm whether Crystal was high on drugs at the time, though they said it was possible he was intoxicated. An unnamed security guard told reporters that “the people [were] inebriated, the people [were] intoxicated” during the Dead & Company concert. It wasn’t immediately clear if drugs were a factor.
One witness claimed they “saw someone fall from [the] ledge… we see something fall and we heard him hit the ground. It’s terrible. I wish I didn’t see it happen… It kinda killed the mood.” Police cordoned off the section of Citi Field right next to the right entrance. Dead & Company was not performing during the incident. It was reported that Crystal fell during the intermission.
Ian Crystal founded Evolution Spirits in 2014, according to his LinkedIn page. It was created to support the National Geographic Channel show, Chug. The primary product, Monkey Rum, was a huge success for the company. Monkey Rum is “a 91-rated, barrel-aged Caribbean Rum made [with] natural ingredients and designed to sip.”
Apart from being a CEO, Crystal was a “global brand builder,” who was “skilled at creating, launching, marketing, selling, and investing in consumer beverage brands,” according to his LinkedIn profile. He had “20 years in various FMCG leadership roles including innovation, brand development, entertainment marketing, brand management, and content creation.”
Ian Crystal managed several liquor brands throughout his life. He managed ABSOLUT Vodka, Malibu Rum, and Stoli Vodka, his LinkedIn page outlined. He also served as the lead on collaborations with major celebrities like Jay-Z, Brooklyn & Spike Lee, and Ne Yo.
According to his friend Neal Weinstein, Ian Crystal was “one of [those] who was always down for the next adventure or for a long conversation that could go deep or off the rails in the best way. Left a long list of people that will miss you. Glad to have known you buddy.” Weinstein posted the emotional sentiment to Facebook alongside a photo of the two together. In the photo, the two friends were biking through woods, one of the “adventures” Weinstein mentioned.
Eric Myers commented on the post, saying that the incident at Citi Field was “so devastating.” Myers said that Crystal was “so filled with life and happiness. Ian will be truly missed by so many. May he Rest In Peace.”
Another friend, Chris Dopherty, said that he was “such a treasure. I’m devasted as I know all of our friends are.”
According to Juan Torres, who knew Crystal from a building Crystal used to live in, the CEO was a “good dude, quiet. We never had an issue with him. He was a cool guy. Torres admitted that Crystal “was healthy” and “always working out.” He said he “[remembers] every morning when [he] could come in, [he’d] see [Crystal] running.”