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Bacardi has created a new limited edition bottle of rum with the musical trio Major Lazer. Courtesy of Bacardi

Bacardi Is Making Rum With Major Lazer

May 24, 2017

Rum maker Bacardi has hired another celebrity to help it sell more liquor.

On Wednesday, the spirits maker said that it has hired DJ and producer Jillionaire of the musical act Major Lazer to serve as the company's "Minister of Rum"—a creative role that Bacardi says goes beyond simply a brand endorsement. To provide further proof that this collaboration isn't just about a celebrity endorsement, Bacardi said it is going to start selling a limited-edition Major Lazer bottle of rum in a collaboration with the musical act, which also includes record producers Diplo and Walshy Fire. The new rum is the first-ever collaboration for Bacardi in the brand's 155-year history and the first limited edition offering since Bacardi Superior Heritage, which debuted five years ago to mark the company's 150 year anniversary.

The Bacardi Major Lazer rum will start to appear on retail shelves in the U.S. next month for $19.99, while an international launch is planned for September.

"Jillionaire is a cultural influencer and a rum aficionado who will be completely immersed in everything we do from creative to drink strategies, culture moments, and more," said Bacardi creative chief Zara Mirza.

Alcohol beverage companies are known for inking deals with celebrities to generate buzz for their brands, relationships that can be lucrative for both the liquor and the public figure that's attached to it. Many of the more recent deals involve an equity stake of some sort, so the celebrity can benefit from the beverage's sales for as long as it stays on shelves. Past partnerships along those lines have included rapper and entrepreneur Sean "Diddy" Combs' Ciroc vodka joint venture with Diageo (deo).

The pacts have also taken a more personal evolution beyond simply appearing in a quick, 30-second commercial. Bacardi on Wednesday said Jillionaire traveled to the company's distillery in Puerto Rico and had a hand in developing the new rum, which features tasting notes of tropical fruit, cedar, and almonds. Bacardi has also been working with Swizz Beatz as its "global chief creative for culture," another pact that dips into the world of art and beyond traditional manufacturing and marketing of liquor.

The broader beverage world has seen increased creative relationships percolate between artists and brands. Other notable collaborations include pop star Justin Timberlake's appointment to serve as Bai Brands' "Chief Flavor Officer" (Bai is now owned by Dr Pepper Snapple (dps)) and Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey's creative director role for bourbon brand Wild Turkey.

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