Drinks Americas has made use of its tie-up with Interscope Geffen A&M Records by becoming the latest drinks company to team up with a well-known rap artist in the US.

The drinks company said yesterday (25 February) that it has launched a new beverage venture with Dr. Dre. The partnership will see Drinks Americas introduce a super premium Cognac selection, followed by a sparkling vodka, which is currently in development. The alliance will also see Drinks Americas enter the imported premium Tequila category in the US.

"This is the next of several steps as Drinks assembles a range of global iconic brands and trademarks that will build substantial long term shareholder value," said Drinks Americas' president and CEO, Patrick Kenny. "We are thrilled to be working with Dr. Dre, a true icon, as an owner and our partner in brands that will reflect his tastes and personality. Unlike hiring a celebrity to help grow an existing brand, Dr. Dre is an equity owner of the brands and will be involved as our partner at every stage of the process.

"Our plan is to be in key markets as 2008 unfolds with a superior Cognac followed by selected premium spirits category entries. Building volume with these products will take time, but the instantly recognisable branding, coupled with superior quality products, and Dre's partnership start us with a competitive advantage, and a corresponding boost in value to our shareholders."

In June last year, Drinks Americas announced that it had entered into the partnership agreement with Interscope Geffen A&M, part of Universal Music Group. The deal, for which financial details were not released, will allow the two companies to "identify, develop, commercialise and market jointly-owned alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage products in collaboration", Drinks Americas said at the time.

Interscope Geffen A&M said it would work to sign and negotiate with selected artists, and to assist in the marketing and promotion of the new beverages. The record label will also market and promote Drinks Americas' current portfolio, which also includes Willie Nelson's Old Whiskey River Bourbon.