Diddy and his Combs Wines and Spirits LLC are taking Diageo to court, citing the spirits company has neglected his DeLeón tequila brand, a joint venture between the two. According to The Wall Street Journal, Diageo has directed its attention to two other tequila brands, one of which is the George Clooney-led Casamigos.
Included in the suit, Diddy notes Diageo exhibits racial discrimination by placing DeLeón in the “urban” category and also referring to the tequila as a “Black brand.”
In response, Diageo has disputed the allegations. A spokesperson highlighted the matter as “a business dispute,” and they are saddened “that Mr. Combs has chosen to recast this matter as anything other than that.”
According to court filings, Diddy and his company are seeking Diageo to comply with the terms of their 2013 joint agreement and additional statements to develop written agreements on further business.
The court docs also highlight a history of Diddy having complaints to Diageo, including out-of-stock products, limited distribution, and botched redesign. Additionally, in 2010 and 2021, Diageo allegedly did not provide agave to DeLeón during a shortage of the ingredient.
The DeLeón relationship flourished after the success of Diddy and Ciroc. The brand was purchased when it was little known, but Diageo already had Don Julio and would eventually add in Casamigos. All the while, the popularity of tequila skyrocketed in the American market, reaching over $11 billion in sales in 2022. Casamigos controls the market share for tequila purchases at a segment-leading 12%. Diddy’s DeLeón comes in at 28th, just .4% of all sales. Furthermore, DeLeón was only available in 3.3% of outlets as Don Julio was 36% and Casamigos was 34.4%.
“For more than 15 years, we’ve had a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with Mr. Combs on various business ventures, making significant investments that have resulted in financial success for all involved,” the Diageo spokeswoman said to the WSJ. “We are disappointed our efforts to resolve this business dispute amicably have been ignored, and that Mr. Combs has chosen to damage a productive and valued partnership.”
Last week, Diddy unveiled Diddy Direct, a groundbreaking platform designed to assist retailers and consumers in easily discovering, inquiring about, and purchasing any of the popular spirits from his Combs Spirits portfolio. This includes the entire range of CÎROC Vodkas, CÎROC Spritz, CÎROC VS, and DeLeón Tequila variants. With the recent introduction of the limited edition Cîroc Honey Melon, Diddy Direct provides a convenient way for consumers to locate and buy these products.
To launch Diddy Direct, Diddy has partnered with DJ Khaled in a digital ad campaign. In a humorous golf-themed short film, the two celebrities showcase their friendship, with Khaled demonstrating his superior golf skills. The campaign debuts on social media today and will be rolled out across various platforms.
“This platform is a game-changer for the spirits industry, and we’re proud to offer consumers and retailers direct access to our portfolio of premium spirits,” said Diddy. “With Diddy Direct, we’re setting a new standard for direct to retailer & direct-to-consumer experiences and bringing the best of Combs Spirits directly to anyone, anywhere in the country.”
Diddy Direct is a platform providing valuable information to consumers and retailers regarding the availability and locations of their preferred Combs Spirits products across the United States. The platform features a user-friendly interface with search functionality based on location and specific products. It also incorporates an interactive national map, allowing users to locate local businesses and distributors easily. By verifying their age, users can navigate the site effortlessly and swiftly find the desired products, along with detailed information on where and how to obtain them anywhere in the country.
You can learn more about Diddy Direct here.