Partnerships like these helped Snoop become a veteran on FORBES annual list of Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Artists. This past year, we estimate that he pulled in $10 million in earnings, ranking him at No. 14. Much of that amount comes from concert sales and cameo fees, but the rapper has shilled a wide range of products, from Hot Pockets and Adidas to Happy Socks and Airbnb. Recently, he became an investor in Reddit.
In a culture that glamorizes partying and booze, the trend of rapper-endorsed alcohol brands is nothing new: Pitbull has a deal with Budweiser, Ludacris with Conjure cognac, Diddy with Diageo’s Ciroc vodka, and Birdman with GT Vodka.
But Cuca is a much smaller, family-owned brand that is recognized mostly in Brazil — and Snoop is making a strategic bet that there’s a lot to profit in the Brazilian beverage business.The artisanal cachaça maker has already won several top honors in the spirits industry. Currently, Cuca is the only cachaça with a ready-to-drink Caipirinha cocktail on the market.
Cachaça, for those unfamiliar with Brazil’s national spirit, is made from sugarcane juice and tastes similar to a cross between rum and tequila. According to a PcW report, the distilled liquor accounted for 80% of all spirits consumed in Brazil this year (that’s equivalent to 80 million nine-liter cases).
Since the 2014 World Cup, cachaça has been showing up across bars and restaurants in New York City, which means there is tremendous potential to catapult both the brand in the U.S. — and Snoop, being the consummate businessman, never loses the opportunity to be the face of a future trend.
“I love to keep the good vibes going, whether I’m with my friends or rockin’ a club as DJ Snoop-a-Delic, and Cuca does that,” Snoop told FORBES. His fondness for the country also made the partnership a natural fit: “I fell in love with the Brazilian culture and people when I was in Rio de Janeiro shooting his music video for “Beautiful.”
Cuca managing partner Phoenix Kelly-Rappa is certain that the brand’s potential for exposure will make it a household name. “Snoop’s reputation for being on the cutting edge of what is cool combined with his dedicated fan base will help create global brand awareness,” she said.
With volumes increasing 3 percent in earlier this year, according to Rabobank’s Q2 2014 Spirits Report, the U.S. spirits market continues to grow. Because cachaça is so popular in Brazil, the overwhelming amount of producers reveals a major challenge in the industry: lack of quality (that’s actually good news for Cuca, which retails for about $20). Rabobank expects bigger growth in super-premium spirits brands in the coming months.
All of the deals and partnerships he commits to are equally important, said Snoop. With the new endorsement, he’s taking a break from gin and juice to direct Cuca’s marketing campaigns. With the holidays coming up, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, the brand is primed for an imminent shakedown.
Though now an elder statesman of the rap genre, Snoop has new music in the pipeline for his fans: “I’m getting ready to release my next album early next year, which is executive produced by Pharrell. After more than two decades in the business, the ubiquitous rapper never fails to get his fans pumped up about the next party. Maybe that’s the secret Snoop’s agelessness. “I can’t wait for everyone to hear it,” he said. We bringin’ the heat.”