Jay-Z sells 50% of Ace of Spades to LVMH
Jay-Z celebrating with friends at his Roc Nation brunch in 2020 (Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

It’s the Roc is in the (LVMH) building. On Monday, February 22, Moët Hennessy announced a partnership with Shawn Jay-Z Carter via the acquisition of 50% of his high-end Champagne Armand de Brignac — or Ace of Spades as the rapper refers to it because of the gold bottle.

“For years we have been following the fantastic success of Armand de Brignac and admiring their ability to challenge some of the rules of the Champagne category,” Philippe Schaus, President & CEO of Moët Hennessy, said in a release posted on the champagne’s website. “Often referred to as ‘Ace of Spades,’ Armand de Brignac breaks barriers and reflects contemporary luxury, while preserving the traditions of the Champagne terroirs,” he continued. “Today, we are incredibly proud to be partnering with them and believe that the combination of our Champagne experience and international network coupled with Shawn JAY-Z Carter’s vision, the strength of the Armand de Brignac brand and quality of its range of prestige cuvées will allow us to take the business to new heights across the world.”

The New York Times reports “the deal gives Jay-Z the organisational support and distribution power of a global drinks “machine,” as Schaus called it, while LVMH gets the cool clout and lifestyle marketing savvy of a pace-setting Black cultural leader at a time when the luxury sector’s racism is under particular scrutiny.”

This isn’t LVMH’s first foray into Roc Nation’s roster. Rihanna (who is also signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label) became the first Black woman at the helm of a LVMH Maison and the first woman, Black or otherwise, to launch an original brand at the conglomerate in 2019, though her Fenty clothing brand is now paused. 

As the Times points out, “the investment from LVMH, which has an all-white leadership team, gives Jay-Z an increased presence in an old, elite, European industry.” But it’s been a long time coming. In 2006, Carter purchased Ace of Spades with a partner after an executive from Cristal’s parent company made disparaging remarks about its Black clientele (rappers like Carter elevated the champagne to aspirational affluence). He purchased the remainder of the brand in 2014. 

The gold bottle with its spade branding has made appearances in Carter’s “Show Me What You Got” video in 2006, in the music video for “Mood4EVA” from Beyoncé’s Black Is King, and at the 2020 Golden Globes where the Carters skipped the red carpet but showed up to the Moet-sponsored event with two bottles. They even shared it with Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston asked the Carters for a spin of their champagne, later sending them each a case. 

Schaus summed up the partnership for the Times, saying: “In your understanding of the world of tomorrow, we believe you created a new consumer for champagne.”

thoughts?