If you're going to Houston this weekend to watch the Panthers tangle with the Patriots, there are a few things you can do to get pumped for the big game. You can go see the Rockets battle the Nets, catch a show in the theater district or take a private tour of the Houston Zoo. But one thing you might not be able to do is sip some Cristal — unless you plan to bring it yourself.
The invading army of heavyweights, high rollers and ballers coming to Houston for Sunday's Super Bowl has sent area businesses scrambling to stock the high-end champagne. As a result, distributors in and around Houston have seen their stash of Cris completely wiped out, prompting those in search of the much-rapped-about bubbly to look out of town (and in some cases, out of state). Spec's, the largest liquor distributor in Houston, said it sold out of Cristal weeks ago and that it doesn't plan to restock before kickoff.
The high-priced champagne, lionized by such rappers as Jay-Z, Ludacris, Chingy and the Notorious B.I.G., has been selling out by the case, with clubs and restaurants buying as many as seven cases at a time.
While increased demand for Cristal in Houston is causing the pinch, the champagne's limited global supply isn't helping either. The vineyards in France that yield Cristal can only produce a limited amount of the beverage each year.
Anticipating the rush, the city's finest bars and restaurants have already scored their stash, so rest easy. The wine manager at Vic & Anthony's, an upscale Houston steakhouse, prepared for the coming festivities by ordering as much Cristal — the particularly good 1996 vintage, to be exact — as his distributor would allow. If that's not enough, the restaurant will look to surrounding cities and even other states to bring in more of the champagne.
Your best bet at getting a taste of the high-end bubbly? Stop by one of the rumored Super Bowl parties hosted by Snoop, Beyoncé, Outkast, Jay-Z or P. Diddy.
Speaking of Diddy, you can also catch him at the Super Bowl halftime show, where he will be joined by Kid Rock, Nelly and Janet Jackson. The big game takes place on February 1 at Reliant Stadium.