When hip-hop billionaire Jay-Z partnered with spirits company Bacardi in 2011 to produce the brand D’Ussé, it looked like a promising venture. But now it seems the Roc-a-Fella Records co-founder is not satisfied with the deal; he is suing Bacardi over its lack of financial clarity involving their 50/50 partnership, D’Ussé LLC.
About D’Ussé and Bacardi
D’Ussé, a cognac brand made at Château du Cognac in France, produces just two cognacs: D’Ussé VSOP and D’Ussé XO. D’Ussé VSOP is aged at least four and a half years in the Château de Cognac cellars, according to the D’Ussé website.
D’Usse is popular, Kanye West even shouted out D’Ussé during a controversial interview he gave on Drink Champs recently.
“This D’usse is brought to you by my brother Hov,” Ye said at one point. “Courtesy of The Throne. Part 2 coming soon.”
According to research company Statista, D’Ussé sales have increased over the past five years. Sales of D’Ussé VSOP cognac in the United States increased to 548,000 nine-liter cases in 2020. In 2015, sales were 59 thousand cases.
Founded in Cuba, Bacardi Limited is one of the world’s largest family-owned spirit companies. In 2021, the company had global revenue of about $4.6 billion, according to career research company Zippia.
About the Lawsuit
The lawsuit was filed by Hov’s company SC Liquor, TMZ reports. The suit is demanding Bacardi open their books so that the mogul can see exactly how much he’s making with D’Ussé.
Jay also wants access to the production warehouses, D’Ussé barrels, bottles, and all other info regarding Bacardi’s inventory-keeping process, Complex reported.
According to the court papers, SC Liquor needs to “monitor the conduct of [Bacardi’s] business to protect SC’s rights” as a partner.
Jay-Z, whose net worth is $1.3B, has yet to issue a statement about the lawsuit.
Jay-Z Liquor Brands
Jay-Z launched Armand de Brignac champagne brand in 2006. In 2021, he sold a 50 percent stake in his Armand de Brignac (also known as “Ace of Spades”) to luxury goods conglomerate LVMH for an undisclosed amount. Jay-Z co-launched the brand after becoming disillusioned with the hip-hop favorite Champagne Cristal.
Jay-Z and other rappers repped Cristal in the late ’90s and early 2000s by using it in music videos and shouting it out in. Then in 2006, Frederic Rouzaud, then managing director of the Champagne Louis Roederer winery, makers of Champagne, made comments that Jay-Z condemned as racist.
Rouzaud was asked by The Economist in an interview if the rap world’s affiliation with Cristal could hurt the brand, Rouzaud answered: “That’s a good question, but what can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it.”
″[T]hose comments forced us to build our own thing,” Jay-Z said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” soon after. Thus, the Armand de Brignac deal was born.