P Diddy – Combs Wines and SpiritsCombs Wines and Spirits was founded by P Diddy (real name Sean Combs) in 2013, following on from his collaboration with Diageo for Ciroc vodka, which took him into the realm of celebrity alcohol brands. On the CWS website, it says: “Combs Wine & Spirits is an expert in delivering unique product propositions and over-serving the consumer by delivering excellence in liquid and superior packaging.” Other than that, little else is given away. Ciroc itself was launched in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2007 when Combs was drafted in to help shift bottles in the US through a 50-50 profit share with potential for him to pocket $100m. Debra Kelly-Ennis, Diageo North America’s CMO, said: “Sean Combs has a proven track record of developing high-end brands and we expect his alliance with Ciroc to follow suit.” By 2013, sales of Ciroc were up by 600 per cent, thanks to the help of Combs. It was then reported he was likely to make hundreds of millions of dollars, up from the previous $100m expectation. Combs and Diageo made a play for further celebrity alcohol brands success in 2014 with the joint acquisition of DeLeon – yet another tequila brand – which boasts an eye-watering price of $120 to $1,000 a bottle. Combs said: “With Ciroc, we tested the waters – or, I would say, we dated. Now, with this joint venture, we took this step and we got married. I think it’s organic, I think we work together so well, we have a proven track record, and I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else.” In January 2016, Ciroc sales reportedly declined by a third, during a point when sales of Diageo’s vodka range fell by nine per cent. Indeed it’s not all smooth sailing in the world of celebrity alcohol brands – on the next page, find out which singer-songwriter sued Diageo for $5m after breach of contract.
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