Jay-Z Boycotts Cristal Champagne

Updated May 16, 2021, originally posted on June 16, 2006

Rapper and club owner Jay-Z will not be drinking his formerly beloved Cristal champagne anymore. Nor will any of the patrons of his hip hop clubs: he's pulling Cristal from the menu and replacing it with Dom Perignon and Krug. Furious after hearing comments from a Cristal spokesperson about how rappers loving the champagne constituted "unwanted attention" for the venerable champagne house, Jay-Z says the company is racist.

The AP reports that Jay-Z said, "It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frederic Rouzaud views the `hip-hop' culture as 'unwelcome attention. 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."

This reminds of the Cadillac Escalade situation. When Cadillac execs introduced the Escalade, they were marketing the car to affluent, upscale yuppies. But the car quickly became the vehicle of choice of affluent young hip hop stars and became associated with a "MTV Pimp My Ride" kind of style. But Cadillac just rolled with it -- and sales are high, despite high gas prices.

We think Louis Roederer should go into spin-control mode and reach out to Jay-Z with an apology, like Hermes did when a store employee offended Oprah in the infamous Oprah/Hermes/Paris debacle. Although we have to say that our favorite champagne right now is Perrier Jouet. Perhaps Beyonce might whisper that name in Jay-Z's ear.

2021 Update: Note: Jay-Z later purchased Armand de Brignac through a 50% stake in 2006 and another 50% in 2014. He has since partnered with Moet. He talks about the Moet deal in this CNBC interview.

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