Why Jay-Z Created the Armand de Brignac and Roc Nation Champagne Brand

In On Monday, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter sold a 50% stake in his Armand de Brignac champagne brand to luxury goods conglomerate LVMH for an undisclosed amount. But Carter didn’t initially set out to create his own high-end champagne business, not even his entertainment company, Roc Nation.

“It was not this plan to build this great media company,” he said Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” referring to Roc Nation, which in 2019 was worth an estimated $ 75 million.

“I wanted a record deal and when we couldn’t get it, we built our own,” Carter said.

Similarly, Carter got into the champagne game because he thought he had no other choice.

Carter had helped widely popularize the French brand of champagne Cristal in the late 1990s and early 2000s by using it in his music videos and putting it in his songs. But in 2006, Frederic Rouzaud, then managing director (now CEO) of the Louis Roederer Champagne winery, which is the maker of Cristal, made comments that Carter deemed racist.

When asked by The Economist if an association with rap could harm Cristal, Rouzaud said: “That’s a good question, but what can we do? We can’t stop people from buying it.”

Rouzaud later issued a statement saying the company had “the utmost respect and concern for all forms of art and culture,” according to The New York Times. But Carter boycotted the brand.

“[T]”The comments forced us to build our thing,” Carter said on “Squawk Box” on Monday.

The same year, Carter featured bottles of Armand de Brignac champagne, known as “Ace of Spades” due to its label, in his “Show me What You Got” music video. Carter also partnered with Armand de Brignac with a 50% stake in the brand (terms of the deal have not been disclosed).

In 2014, Carter bought Armand de Brignac’s remaining stake for an undisclosed amount, making him the first rapper to own a champagne label. The brand sold more than 500,000 bottles in 2019, according to CNBC.

And today, “yes, today is a happy day and I feel very vindicated,” Carter told “Squawk Box” about the deal with LVMH.

But the United States still has “a long way to go towards inclusion,” he says. I am the “highest ranking African American owner of a luxury product, so there are many [of] room to go from here. “

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