Jeezy is a man of many talents. He’s a rapper, label owner and A&R exec. In 2013, he expanded his resume with Tequila Avión. It all began with Jeezy name-dropping what he likes to sip in one of his songs. Soon, Ken Austin (Avión’s founder) started to see an interesting trend. Sales of Avión were increasing by 400% in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Detroit and Jeezy’s hometown of Atlanta. When Austin reached out to thank Jeezy for the support, the two struck up a friendship. This resulted in Jeezy becoming the “Multicultural Advisor” to the brand.
Now Avión has a new home. Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-biggest spirits group, has snapped up Tequila Avión for $100 million. With this move, Pernod increases its stake to 84% from the 20% it took of Avión in 2011. Paris, France-based Pernod had 2013 sales of 8.6 billion Euro, or $11.5 billion. Ken Austin says having Pernod in his corner is like “being the little guy trash talking at a bar while his huge friends stand waiting behind him, daring anyone to take a swing.”
Avión was launched in New York and California less than a month before its first appearance on HBO’s “Entourage” in 2011. After the show aired, people would go into liquor stores in Chicago, Florida, Texas and many other states looking for Avión, not even knowing if it was real. Demand for the product was huge. Pernod Ricard helped Avión with distribution, putting it on shelves across the US.
Avión comes in five flavors (pictured below). Avión Silver, which retails for about $45, was voted “The World’s Best Tasting Tequila.” Avión Expresso was a gamble that paid off for the company. Some people like a little tequila in their morning cup of coffee, it seems.
It is not clear if Jeezy has an equity stake in Tequila Avión or not. But he is hands-on with the product. Check out Jeezy’s recent visit to Hot 97′s “Ebro In The Morning” show below. He talks about how he designed the bottle and casing for Avión’s Reserva 44. At $150 a pop, Reserva 44 is the most expensive tequila the company sells. There are only 800 cases of Reserva 44 made per year.
Jeezy’s fifth studio album, Seen It All: The Autobiography, is due in stores on September 2nd. The video for the disc’s first single, “Me OK” premiered on WorldStarHipHop last week.