According to a December 29 New York Post report, entrepreneur/rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs is partnering with high-priced, rock-and-roll themed DeLeon Tequila in a business venture to expand the brand's presence. Combs previously partnered with EuroWine Gate in 2008, helping expand its French grape-based vodka Ciroc into a $100 million annual mega-brand.
DeLeon—an ultra-premium collection of tequilas distilled in Guanajuato, Mexico under the guidance of founder Brent Hocking—is known for its elaborate bottles and heavy silver closure, high prices (a bottle goes for anywhere between $200 for the blanco and $900 for the limited-edition "Leona" extra-añejo). The brand was introduced in May, 2009 (this author first tasted the blanco and reposado during Fashion Week in February of that year), and expanded over the following years to include an añejo, extra añejo, and the limited-edition Leona.
The Post article gave no additional details on the deal, or what Combs's involvement moving forward may be. For Ciroc, Combs has participated in everything from advertising, videos, and public appearances to business decisions. The move was a surprising one to many, but has proven to be largely successful for the brand, including expanding into new flavors, like the recently released Ciroc Amaretto. Before the partnership, Ciroc was little known in the U.S. outside of high-end "white tablecloth" dining in New York and LA.
In the case of DeLeon, it is already promoted as a luxury brand within the music, fashion and entertainment industries, regularly promoting Fashion Week events, private concerts for everything from classic rock to classic punk. Partnering with a contemporary music and fashion icon should help expand the brand's social identity.
The Spirits Examiner has reached out to Hocking for comment on the deal (and to verify that it's actually taking place as reported), and will update the article as additional information comes in.
UPDATE 12/31/13: The news of Sean Combs partnering with DeLeon is expected to be followed by a formal announcement next week, according to inside sources. NY Drinks Examiner will have original commentary and information available as soon as possible.
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FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author's own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author received no additional compensation or samples for this article, though he will be raising a glass of extra-añejo DeLeon tequila in a New Year's Eve toast to the news.