Sales have skyrocketed since Diageo in 2007 partnered with hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, who has described himself as a hybrid brand manager, chief marketing officer and spokesman.
“In the African-American community, he has a lot of influence,” said Megan Metcalf, editor of Wine & Spirits Daily. “He did a good job of reaching out to them, and from there it sounds like they had more Anglos in other markets jumping on board.”
Sales jumped 41% to $6.8 million in the year ended Oct. 3, according to SymphonyIRI, which excludes Walmart, club and liquor stores, and bars and restaurants. Diageo says the brand grew 552% from 2007 to 2010 and has replaced Belvedere as the second-ranked vodka in the “ultra-premium” category.