Constellation launches dedicated investment arm

19th August, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

Svedka Vodka owner Constellation Brands has acquired a minority stake in bottled cocktail brand Crafthouse Cocktails through its new start-up investment arm.


Crafthouse Cocktails is the first minority acquisition of the recently launched Constellation Ventures

The investment is the first project for Constellation Ventures, a newly created corporate venture capital firm created by Constellation Brands to identify small-scale investment opportunities related to “innovative concepts” and “emerging categories”.

Crafthouse Cocktails was co-founded in 2013 by renowned bartender Charles Joly, who was crowned winner of Diageo Reserve World Class 2014.

Joly oversees the production of each bottle in the Crafthouse collection, which currently includes the vodka-based Moscow Mule, Tequila-based Paloma, and gin-based Southside. Created using natural ingredients, the range is available in the off-trade in Ohio, Michigan and Colorado.

“We are moving forward in a competitive and ever-changing industry by identifying opportunities for innovation, both inside and outside the company, as part of our total growth strategy,” said Bill Newlands, executive vice president and chief growth officer at Constellation Brands.

“Constellation Ventures connects us with entrepreneurial brands and technologies, and allows us to support consumer-proven products early in their lifecycle.

“We are excited to work with the forward-thinking team at Crafthouse as they continue to grow their brand and create new opportunities for consumers to enjoy a premium cocktail experience.”

In 2013, Diageo launched business mentoring and funding scheme Distill Ventures as part of a joint venture enterprise with “innovation specialist” Independents United.

The scheme announced that it would be doubling the number of spaces available on its 2015 programme, investing up to £10 million in total.

“We know there is exciting innovation happening in smaller, high-growth companies on the leading edge of new consumer trends,” said Rob Sands, president and CEO of Constellation Brands.

“We want to support these promising entrepreneurs, like Crafthouse Cocktails, while gaining a deeper knowledge of emerging opportunities and fueling total alcohol beverage category growth.”

The specific terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

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