Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Celebrity Sips

What Jay-Z’s Got... (Served With A Twist...)

Jay-Z’s slick video “Show Me What You Got” hit airwaves, last fall, and got chins wagging. On the heels of Cristal champagne snubbing loyal rappers singing its praises, the hip-hop mogul sent a little “up yours!” message of his own.

The Economist quotes Federic Rouzaud (Managing Director of Cristal producer Louis Roederer) inferring discontent with the less-than-classy rap industry as clientele, “We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.”

Multi-platinum recording star, music producer and nightclub owner, Jay-Z retorted that Rouzaud’s comments were racist, and boycotted the brand, banishing Cristal from his famous 40 / 40 club and replacing it with little-known (though, now, infamous) Armand de Brignac, produced by a small, French, 200 year-old family-owned vineyard.

When Jay-Z highlighted the gold bottle bearing the “Ace” logo in that first video off Kingdom Come, released last fall, rumors started flying. Many speculated that Jay-Z owned the champagne company, which ignited intrigue in both the hip-hop and liquor industries, as demonstrated in these articles in Prohiphop and Business Week. More serious (and decidedly less pop-culture friendly) publications, such as the Washington Post dismissed the hulla-baloo but none-the-less had something to say about it.

I decided to follow up and find out, for myself, what the current status is. Does Jay-Z own the brand, or merely a fan? How exactly are “Ace” and the rap star related? Scott Cohen, Director of Marketing for Armand de Brignac, was kind enough to reply to my inquiry and give me this response:

"Obviously we were very happy to have Jay show our brand in his video for “Show Me What You Got” last year; it’s certainly led to great things for the product, although we cannot meet the demand due to the very limited, all hand-made production process. Despite all of the attention, we would not compromise the quality of the brand in order to produce higher volume. Jay-Z is not affiliated with the brand (in terms of ownership or paid endorsement) at this time, and we have not been informed of any forthcoming videos in which he plans to show off Armand’s bottle."

But... here is a little Sipster Secret...

Despite all this whirlwind of media speculation as to which champagne Jay-Z drinks, I learned (from a source I swore to keep anonymous) that the Def Jam CEO isn't even partial to bubbly.

His drink of choice? Belvedere Vodka. When it comes to a cocktail, THAT is what Jay-Z's got...

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