After months of legal back and forth and general contention, Jay-Z and Bacardi have come to a resolution regarding the rapper’s D’ussé Cognac brand—the drinks company will buy a majority stake reportedly worth about $750 million. Sounds like a nice bit of dirt is off of Jay’s shoulder.
In 2012, Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter) partnered with Bacardi to launch D’ussé, and the brand has become a cultural phenomenon in the years since as well as a respected Cognac on its own merits. There are only two expressions available, VSOP and XO, both immediately recognizable in their bottles emblazoned with the Cross of Lorraine. But earlier this year Carter decided that he wanted to be bought out of the company, and that Bacardi was legally obligated to do so. The main issue was around money, as it so often is, with Carter claiming in a lawsuit that Bacardi was lowballing him—they offered $500 million, and he believed the number should be closer to $1.5 billion. So yes, there was a bit of daylight in between those figures.
Under the terms of this new agreement, Jay-Z will continue to be a part of the brand, and be close to another billion dollars richer than he already is. A recent press release tried to paint a shiny, happy picture on the outcome for all parties involved (and that may indeed be the case, as the Cognac brand is the best performing in the category according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis from 2021). “Growing D’ussé over the past decade from an idea to one of the fastest-selling spirits in history has been a blessing,” said Jay-Z in a statement. “The next phase of this journey will further cement D’ussé’s legacy as one of the world’s most respected brands. I am excited to renew this partnership with Bacardi.”
It looks like D’ussé mentions may continue to work their way into Jay-Z songs, because although Bacardi now controls more than three-quarters of the brand he will “retain a significant ownership stake,” according to a press release. That also means we might see some more extremely high-end bottles hitting the market, or coming to auction, like the 2021 release of a 1969 vintage in celebration of his 50th birthday (it sold for more than $50,000 via Sotheby’s). As Hov made it very clear almost 30 years ago, you can’t knock the hustle.