Diageo and Diddy Form Partnership

Diageo, the world’€™s leading premium drinks business, and Sean Combs today announced that they have furthered their relationship by creating a new joint venture that has purchased luxury tequila brand DeLeón.

The joint venture, a 50/50 global partnership between Diageo and Combs Wine & Spirits, builds on a strategic alliance formed by Diageo and Combs Enterprises to develop and grow the Cîroc ultra-premium vodka brand. Since the alliance began in 2007, Cîroc has grown from just 50,000 cases a year into a nearly 2 million case brand. The DeLeón joint venture will benefit from Diageo’€™s strong distribution network, supply chain, and marketing capability and Sean Combs’€™ access to influencers and proven track record of marketing luxury lifestyle brands.

DeLeón is a 100% blue weber agave boutique tequila brand with a loyal following in Hollywood and the U.S. music industry. The brand appeals to an important audience of status-conscious consumers who choose spirit brands as part of their luxury lifestyle. The acquisition of DeLeón will accelerate Diageo’€™s share of ultra-premium and above ($40+) tequila, which is the second-fastest growing tequila segment in the U.S., according to Nielsen.

‘€œThe joint venture with Combs Wine & Spirits and its purchase of DeLeón is Diageo’€™s latest step toward returning to a leading position in tequila in North America,’€ said Larry Schwartz, President, Diageo North America. ‘€œExpanding our relationship with Sean Combs into tequila was a natural choice given Sean’€™s ability to galvanize support for luxury brands, as we’€™ve seen with our work together on Cîroc. Ultra-premium and above tequila is a very exciting segment ‘€“ we already have a strong brand there with Don Julio and are pleased to complement that offering with DeLeón.’€

‘€œCelebration is a cornerstone of all my businesses, and this joint venture is a natural extension of that portfolio,’€ said Sean Combs, Chairman, Combs Wine & Spirits. ‘€œDeLeón is an outstanding brand that appeals to those who love exceptional tequila in a distinctive bottle. Together with Diageo, we will take DeLeón to new heights.”

Brent Hocking, founder of DeLeón tequila, added: ‘€œIn creating DeLeón, I brought the skills of fine wine-making and natural barrel aging to the art of tequila. The result was a spirit unparalleled in purity and taste. I am entrusting DeLeón Tequila to the capable hands of Diageo and Sean Combs as both have demonstrated a commitment to luxury and quality which reflects my own commitment to the DeLeón brand.’€

DeLeón has five variants with current suggested retail prices that range from $120.00 to over $1,000.00 per bottle. The brand has been distributed in 18 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

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