With the recent trends of celebrities toting spirits as a part of their trendy, exciting and glamorous life, be it the high-end prize or a product targeting a specific demographic, it has become a recognizable trend in the spirits industry. Not only would you hear about Sean “Diddy” Combs waxing lyrically about Ciroc or the Entourage crew drinking Avion Tequila, spirits have become a delicious treat and to a certain extent, the guilty pleasure of today’s pop culture.
The colorful subtext of the cultural influences that we might have been exposed to may also be a good indication as to why spirits, “the hard stuff,” seem more approachable, liberating, and intoxicating than wine as the beverage of choice for Pop culture in its quest to influence the different demographics of the cultural scene.
Celebrity involvement also seems to be a benefit to consumers in that it brings about the room for growth and improvement of products that are available in the market, as well as entrepreneurship. Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges began his rap career by endorsing Henessy, however as his knowledge and appreciation of Cognac changed, so did his desire to become personally involved in the production of fine cognac. He had since then teamed up with Birkedal Hartmann, a reputable Cognac house to produce Conjure. According to Corey Bunnewith, the NE Brand Ambassador for Conjure Cognac, “Ludacris has 52% ownership in Conjure and is very involved in the process of creating and marketing the cognac.” Ensuring that the product is worthy of endorsing, Bridges had handcrafted the signature Conjure Blend with Cognac ranging from 30 to 40 Eaux de Vie from Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne and Borderie. The exceptional touch of Birkedal Hartmann was to age this blend in the fifty years old Limousin oak barrels.
Considering the traditionalist market for fine spirits such as cognac, it is a calculated risk that Bridges is taking; however it is one that is showing promising growth. Although it has seen incredible growth in urban markets through “off-premise” or retail sales, the established “on-premise accounts are starting to buy into the label” according to Bunnewith.
In today’s culture of social networking, brand management and conscious media exposure, there are many channels of communications where pop culture influences the perception of spirits. The emergence of the successful figures as spokespeople for higher-quality brands offers the opportunity to take a step away from the inebriated counterproductive “Snookies” of the world and towards the inspirational ideal that finer living conveys. With a proper image and education, alcohol makes the magical transition from abused to appreciated.
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