SB meets… 50 Cent, Branson Cognac
Family inspiration, recognition for Black-owned spirits producers, and 2023 trend predictions were just some of the topics covered in our recent interview with Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson.
Curtis Jackson, better known as rapper 50 Cent, secured a Master medal for his Branson Cognac VSOP Royal in The Cognac Masters 2022.
In the inaugural GSMC Yearbook, which features interviews with the top medallists from The Global Spirits Masters Competitions 2022, the In Da Club rapper explains how his son inspired his move into the spirits world, his ambition to deliver aspirational products, and the spirits trends he thinks will be big in the coming year.
What does it mean to you to win a Master medal at The Global Spirits Masters Competitions?
I’m honoured that Branson VSOP Royal achieved this distinguished award, especially given the wide range of well-known brands competing. These competitions confirm to me that we are presenting top-quality Cognac blends at an excellent value to our customers.
Tell us the story of your brand.
Sire Spirits is a wine and spirits company I created to leave to my son, Sire, in the future. The first two brands we have launched are Branson Cognac and Le Chemin du Roi Champagne, which translated to English means ‘The King’s Path’. I am the sole owner of Sire Spirits, and have carefully curated these brands, from the selection of the Cognac and Champagne to the most minute packaging detail. My philosophy is to provide products that have the best possible quality at fair and competitive price points.
What do you think sets your brand/expression apart from others?
Our products are aspirational. They are representative of celebrating the finer things in life, and are consumed by people who actually know the difference between a good Champagne or Cognac and something that is mass-produced and hyped up.
Our products are now also synonymous with winning, as approximately US$400,000 of our Champagne was used by the Houston Astros after winning the 2022 MLB World Series. The celebration was one of the most expensive in sports history.
What does excellence in spirits production look like to you?
Excellence in spirits production requires me to consistently deliver products that exceed the expectations of both consumers and industry experts who professionally review and rank spirits products.
How are you innovating in terms of product development?
We are always innovating, from offering unique bottle designs, to different sized formats and even launching a luminous Champagne product made widely available in on- and off-premise settings.
What consumer trends are informing your activity in 2023?
For me, consumer premiumisation is a key driving force for growth in 2023. By that, I mean that consumers are focusing more on three things: flavour, quality, and appealing packaging. When you are able to deliver products that hit on all three, you have the potential for sustainable growth.
How are you working to make your spirits production and distribution more sustainable?
Sustainability has governed many of our packaging decisions, from using recycled materials, to shipping products without outer boxes, and even encouraging the reuse of our bottles as candle holders, decorative art, or decanters that can be re-filled.
What can we look forward to seeing from you in 2023?
We are developing an hors d’âge Cognac that will be released in a crystal decanter designed by one of the most renowned glassmakers and jewellers in the world. We are launching a non-vintage brut Champagne at US$50 to US$70. I’ve been to France twice in the past six months, and have narrowed it down to two possible blends.
What aspects of the spirits industry excite you most right now?
I am encouraged, inspired, and excited to finally see Black-owned wineries and distillers receive acceptance and support in the industry. Our professional sports-partnership programme is just one example of this. In the past year, Sire Spirits closed official partnerships with professional sports teams in the NBA, NFL, and the MLB.