In 2006, Cristal executive Louis Roederer voiced his displeasure over the hip-hop community’s association with the high-end champagne brand.
“We can’t forbid people from buying it,” Roederer told The Economist. “I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.”
Jay-Z, who had been instrumental in the popularity of Cristal among hip-hop fans, took offense. “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,” said the rapper and mogul.
He took his business to Armand de Brignac, which makes Ace of Spades champagne, buying 50% of the company in 2006 and the other half in 2014.
Now, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, or LVMH, has purchased 50% of Armand de Brignac. The deal could facilitate cross-pollination in the sports world, in which both sides are deeply involved.
- LVMH-owned Spanish fashion house Loewe sponsors captain of the World Cup-winning U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, Megan Rapinoe. Hennessy became an NBA sponsor in February 2020.
- Other LVMH subsidiaries take part in athletics, too. Dior released a Nike Jordan sneaker last summer, Tag Heuer sponsors Porsche racing and athletes like Naomi Osaka and golfer Tommy Fleetwood, and champagne line Veuve Clicquot sponsors the Polo Classic.
- Louis Vuitton turned heads in 2019 by partnering with Riot Games, sponsoring its League of Legends Championship and producing a brand line based on the game.
- Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports represents Kyrie Irving, Leonard Fournette, Marcus Rashford, and many other athletes. The company also has an ongoing partnership with the NFL for entertainment and social justice initiatives.
Though Jay-Z is no longer a co-owner of the Brooklyn Nets, should the team’s Big 3 win the NBA Finals, they will receive the Larry O’Brien trophy in a case designed by Louis Vuitton as part of a multiyear partnership with the NBA.
“Just the idea of this partnership is a signal to a more diverse way of looking at things,” Jay-Z told The New York Times regarding his new agreement with the French luxury brand conglomerate.