Drake and Brent Hocking’s return on investment in Virginia Black beverage is exceeding expectations. Drake and Hocking partnered with Promixo Spirits to launch Virginia Black in June of 2016. Hocking is an ex-finance banker that has enjoyed previous success in launching alcoholic beverage brands. In 2008, Hocking founded the DeLeón tequila brand. Hocking sold his ownership in DeLeón to Sean Combs and British beverage company Diageo in 2013.
In its first year, Virginia Black sold 30,000 cases globally. It is projected that Virginia Black will double the number of cases sold globally in its second year on the market. Virginia Black is sold in numerous countries around the world in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is presently available in the countries of Canada, Burundi, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Ghana, South Africa, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Ireland.
Hocking added, “The one thing that’s surprising is Drake’s international reach.”
Noted Canadian alcoholic beverage retailer, Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), records Virginia Black as having the highest selling week in the retailer’s history at 4,650 bottles.
Drake sought to venture with Hocking after witnessing the successful development and sale of DeLeón. Drake acquired an equity stake in Virginia Black using his own money for the investment.
Speaking about cultivating his professional relationship with Drake, Hocking stated, “We were like-minded. Over a couple years getting to know each other deciding if we wanted to work together, I told him what I saw on the marketplace next with the whiskey category, the hole I saw, and the style of the brand I wanted to bring out with Virginia Black.”
Drake and Hocking have a deal with the distillery, MPG of Indiana, to produce Virginia Black. The bourbon whiskey is produced from corn grown in the state of Indiana. Virginia Black has less alcohol content than whiskey beverages typically contain. It is 80-proof or about 40 percent alcohol content compared to the 90-100-proof content typically present in other whiskey beverages.
Drake recently released a commercial to showcase Virginia Black, co-starring his father Dennis Graham.
A black glass bottle designed with a gold plaque houses the beverage. The bottle design is designed to look like luxury champagne packaging to generate greater appeal to more varied demographics. Hocking stated, “I look to create beautiful bottles that people would be proud to showcase on their bars at home.”
Drake and Hocking plan to produce a portfolio of alcoholic beverages in partnership. They plan to introduce their next alcoholic beverage brand towards the end of 2017.
Forbes Magazine ranks Drake as the fifth richest hip-hop recording artist in the world with an estimated net worth of $90 million. Drake currently has additional business ventures with Apple, Sprite, and Nike.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]