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Diddy Breaks Into the Vodka Market

By Allen Starbury   /   Published 10/24/07

Diddy announced Wednesday (October 24) during a press conference that he is diving into the vodka business. The music mogul and business entrepreneur revealed that he has inked a multi-year deal to develop the Ciroc vodka brand in which he would share 50% of the profits.

Diddy says the deal is so important that it "will have my daily attention." He plans to open a marketing office at his midtown Manhattan headquarters, so that he can devote time to the brand.

The agreement will be worth more than $100 million for Diddy's Sean Combs Enterprises over the course of the deal, depending on how well the brand performs.

Diddy will oversee the marketing of the brand -- including where it will be available and will also get it into the hands of the "movers and shakers" to help its growth.

"They're looking for something that tastes like their lifestyle," Diddy said. "It's that trendsetter, that hipster, someone who's looking for luxury and looking for something better."

The ultra-premium vodka has grown from 1.6 million nine-liter cases sold to 4.8 million nine-liter cases in the past five years, according to Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

So, with those kinds of numbers, Diageo is ready to get its piece of the market share. The average retail price of a bottle of Ciroc is about $34 (€24).

The brand, according to the Associated Press, launched in 2003, and is already performing well. So far, in 2007, sales of their vodka rose 21 percent while volume, or the number of cases sold indirectly or directly to consumers, grew 17 percent.

Diddy first goal as marketing chief is to raise awareness for Ciroc, and eventually make it a household name.

He mentioned that he plans to make it "the official vodka of New Year's Eve," and will organize tastings around the country so that drinkers can sample it.

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