Remember back in 2006, when Jay-Z all of a sudden stopped singing about and sipping Cristal Champagne, and switched to the Ace of Spaces-branded Armand de Brignac...that no one had ever heard of? At least, not until Jay-Z showed it off in his video for Show Me What You Got ....
Until now, all those interested begrudgingly had to buy into the story spun by Jay-Z's camp that Armand de Brignac was just a bubbly that HOVA discovered in a New York wine shop. "That's definitely not the case," says Zack O'Malley Greenburg, author of the unauthorized biography of Jay-Z out today, Empire State of Mind. "And I've proven it in my book. The true story of it should be of interest to anyone who wants to know about business and about wine."
Greenburg dedicates a full chapter to Armand de Brignac in Empire State of Mind and, in it, all signs point to the media mogul having founded and owning a stake in the brand. The author's research took him to Champagne Cattier, where Armand de Brignac is made. "They took me to their basement, and they showed me where they store the stuff. Sure enough, there were all of these golden bottles with no logos on them." Greenburg later discovered that only months before Jay-Z introduced Armand de Brignac to the world, Cattier had discontinued its Cattier Antique Gold ($60) Champagne--which came in the exact same gold bottle as Armand de Brignac.
"What I gleaned from the speakeasies of Harlem to the cellars of France is that Jay Z doesn't want to be seen as a paid promoter, as Diddy is with Ciroc [vodka]," says Greenburg. "He wants to make money."
To learn more about how Jay-Z changed many people's taste in Champagne and so many other things, be sure to check out Empire State of Mind.
What do you think of the $200 Champagne now that you know it was just a clever marketing plan by Jay-Z? Share your thoughts below.