The shelves are filled with spirits either endorsed or started by celebrities, especially from the hip-hop world. Sean P. Diddy Combs promotes Ciroc vodka, Lil’ Kim endorses Three Olives Purple Vodka, and Roc-A-Fella Records, the rap label created by Damon Dash and Jay- Z, released Armadale vodka in 2002, just to name a few. And Dr. Dre has been announcing the coming of Aftermath Cognac for the last few years. Spirits is a mega business. So it’s no wonder that artist/producer Pharrell Williams has just entered the field.
Williams recently introduced an ultra-premium cream liqueur QREAM WITH A Q, which is targeted to women. For the venture, he teamed with global spirits powerhouse Diageo, which in 2007 had revenue of $14,968 million. It is the world’s leading premium spirits, wine and beer company. Its brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray and Guinness.
QREAM comes in strawberry cream and peach cream varieties at $29.99 per bottle. It is a first-of-its-kind liqueur—its 99% lactose free at 12.5% ABV. (Alcohol by volume or ABV is a standard measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is contained in an alcoholic beverage.)
"A cultural ambassador and style visionary, Williams had a vision to create something new for women that encourages them to "live deliciously" and invites them to treat themselves royally. With QREAM WITH A Q he saw the opportunity to bring his creativity to an underserved market," explains Anna MacDonald, director of Liqueurs Marketing at Diageo.
What makes QREAM different says MacDonald is not only the flavors but also its main audience. "QREAM WITH A Q is unique for a number of reasons. It is the first time Pharrell Williams has created a beverage, after successful forays in music, clothing, art and design," she points out. "With QREAM, every detail was crafted to celebrate women - from the elegant design of the bottle, inspired by royalty, to the delicious flavor and silky lightness of the liquid, to how the brand will be marketed. Williams also had his hand in every element of QREAM’s development, from the taste and bottle design to the marketing and advertising."
Williams, who launched his music career as part of the duo the Neptunes, is a Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter/producer. He is also part of the alternative rock group N.E.R.D. On the business side, he has several clothing brands, Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream, as well as a limited edition jewelry and accessories brand he designed for Louis Vuitton. In collaboration with French furniture makers Domeau & Peres, Williams designed a collection of chairs called “Perspective.” He recently teamed up with Domeau & Pérès and Brooklyn Machine Works to create limited edition ‘Velo’ bikes. Additionally, he is a partner in Bionic Yarn, a two-year-old textile firm based in New York dedicated to developing environmentally sustainable fabrics using recycled plastic bottles. The company has corporate partnerships with companies including Cole Haan, End Star, Moncler, The Gap and Timberland.