People are apparently upset that Beyoncé dumped what’s rumored to be a $20,000 bottle of Armand de Brignac champagne into a hot tub during the filming of her Nicki Minaj collabo, “Feeling Myself.” But it is dumb to be mad at Beyoncé, because that wine didn’t really cost $20,000, and even if it did, it would have been more expensive for her not to pour it out and frolic in the bubbles.
The case against Bey is predicated on the sketchy assumption that she actually spent $20,000 on champagne instead of throwing that money off a balcony to be fought over by the starving peasants below (or donating it to a reputable nonprofit that she personally researched, or paying off your student loans, or whatever).
Beyoncé pouring my college tuition fees into a hot tub pic.twitter.com/iF0Wkqi7oX— Shady Music Facts (@musicnews_shade) May 19, 2015
Nope! A bottle of Armand de Brignac—a.k.a “Ace of Spades”—retails for about $300. The image floating around showing a $20,000 price tag for a blanc de noirs appears to be a Photoshop of Forbes’ 2014 list of the most expensive champagnes. Someone pasted a photo of Ace’s blanc de blancs (about $300) over the most expensive bottle on the list: Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1998 (which, incidentally, only costs $2,000 and is made from a completely different grape). Whoever manipulated the photo changed the name to “Armand de Brignac” and inflated the price to $20,000, but didn’t change the copy, which doesn’t describe any product Ace has ever sold.
In 2012, the company floated plans to add “a blanc de noirs made from Pinot Noir and Meunier” to its range, but that wine apparently never emerged. And even it had, it wouldn’t have been “100% pinot noir.”
The Ace of Spades is actually responsible for the most expensive single bottle of champagne in the world, though: It’s a 30-liter, “nebuchadnezzar” of Rosé that costs $275,000. It weighs over 100 pounds.
So, the bottle of bubbly Beyoncé bathed in was not priced at $20,000. And if it was, so what?
Beyoncé’s husband, Jay Z, is the entire reason Armand de Brignac can charge anyone $300 a pop in the first place. He started hyping the Ace of Spades brand in 2006, after the managing director of Cristal whined about rappers ruining Cristal’s image, and became an investor shortly afterward.
After years of rapping about Ace and shitting on Cristal, Jigga bought Armand de Brignac outright in December 2014. It is nothing for him to spare even the priciest single bottle of Ace for a Beyoncé video. In fact, it is less than nothing: the product placement alone is probably worth more to the Carter-Knowles household than the cost of producing the wine.
And what placement! In addition to the Armand de Brignac blanc de blancs Beyoncé appears to be soaking in, she’s got the rosé and the brut on deck next to the tub. That’s Ace of Spades’ entire product line in one shot, ready to be dumped into Beyoncé’s champagne soup.
Beyoncé didn’t pour $20,000 into a hot tub. She poured out negative money and soaked herself in warm, bubbly profit from the pockets of people who can afford to pay $300 for champagne. She is a business genius.
If you want to argue that Bey and Jay should spend more of their half-billion-plus net worth on charity, you might have a point (although you might also just be a whiny complainer; they’re rumored to have spent tens of thousands bailing out arrested protesters in Baltimore). Getting mad at her for “wasting” a luxury product is focusing on the wrong problem.
(Also, who knows — maybe it was water.)
[Screengrab via Beyoncé/Tidal]