Jay Z has purchased Armand de Brignac Champagne through a newly formed company according to the New York Times.
After years of including references to the brand that carries an “Ace Of Spades” logo on its bottle in his lyrics, Jay Z acquired the company from Sovereign Brands, a wine and spirits corporation that debuted Armand de Brignac Champagne in 2006 together with the family-owned house Cattier.
“We are proud to announce that Sovereign Brands, a New York-based wine and spirits company owned by the Berish family, has sold its interest in the Armand de Brignac (‘Ace of Spades’) Champagne brand to a new company led by the globally renowned Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter,” the company said in a statement.
The head of communications for Sovereign Brands hinted that the rapper initiated the deal with his offer. “We have had a wonderful relationship with Jay Z throughout the years since he first discovered Armand de Brignac,” Yvonne Lardner said. “He became interested in owning the brand and made us an offer we simply couldn’t refuse.”
The Armand de Brignac Champagne brand was introduced to market in 2006 on the heels of controversy in the Hip Hop community over comments made by the managing director of Louis Roederer, the company behind Cristal. When asked about the association that Cristal had with the Hip Hop community in an interview with The Economist that year, Frederic Rouzaud said, “That’s a good question, but what can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.”
Afterwards, Jay Z quickly announced a boycott of the brand in his 40/40 club and referred to the comments as racist. “It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frederic Rouzaud views the ‘hip-hop’ culture as ‘unwelcome attention,’” Jay Z said. “I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands including the 40/40 Club nor in my personal life.”
Just months later, Jay Z featured the gold bottled Armand de Brignac champagne in his video “Show Me What You Got,” effectively debuting the brand to the American market and raising speculations that he was unofficially sponsoring what was then an almost entirely unknown brand. The “Show Me What You Got” bottle premiere also led many to point out similarities the design had with a far cheaper brand and bottle of champagne called Antique Gold.
Shortly after the release of the video, Businessweek found that Armand de Brignac was indeed produced by the same family behind Antique Gold and that the new gold bottle borrowed design elements from the very similar Antique Gold packaging. Additionally, writer Burt Helm pointed out that Sovereign Brands, which denied any official affiliation with Jay Z at the time, had previously marketed a brand of alcohol called 3 Vodka with rapper Jermaine Dupri.
Jay Z has referenced “Ace of Spades” frequently in his lyrics. After the “Cristalgate” incident he took to his Blueprint 3 single “On To The Next One” to address the controversy. “I used to drink Cristal, the muh’fucker’s racist / So I switched gold bottles, on to that Spade shit,” he rapped.