Diageo’s Distill Ventures steps up no-alcohol focusBy Nicola Carruthers
Diageo-backed accelerator programme Distill Ventures has branded the no-alcohol sector the “most dynamic” area of drinks innovation as it offers four entrepreneurs £10,000 (US$12,000) to create booze-free products.
In an effort to strengthen its presence in the no-alcohol sector, Distill Ventures has also launched Drinks Trends Spotlight, an educational programme for one of the “most dynamic and exciting areas of drinks innovation”.
The launch will be supported by a film showcasing top drinks entrepreneurs including Distill Ventures co-founder Frank Lampen, Los Angeles’ Alex Day and Devon Tarby of Proprietors LLC and Molly Kelley, general manager of Trois Mec, Iain Griffiths, co-founder of Trash Tiki and Rory McCoy, co-founder of Raw Duck in London.
To coincide with the release of the film, the company will offer investments to entrepreneurs keen to start or develop their own non-alcoholic brand, with the chance to work alongside the Distill Ventures partners on the project.
To date, Distill Ventures has invested more than £50 million (US$70 million) into 15 founder-led drinks brands globally, including Seedlip, the “world’s first” non-alcoholic spirit.
Despite the shift towards the no-alcohol space, the company noted its balance of research over the new two will years will focus on alcoholic spirits, the main focus of the company since its founding in 2013.
“We are thrilled to introduce the first report in this Drinks Trend Spotlight series,” said Dan Gasper, chief operating officer, Distill Ventures.
“We pride ourselves by working with the most visionary entrepreneurs in drinks world and are always looking for brands and categories that can shape the future of the drinks industry.
“I’m thrilled to announce the first of our Spotlights and our Non Alcohol category business development program, which includes both a cash investment and bespoke business acceleration.
“We look forward to hearing from independent entrepreneurs – be it bartenders, soft drink producers, or non-carbonated beverage makers—who are equally excited about this sector and keen to take the next step and turn their dream product into a reality.”
Submissions will be accepted on the Distill Ventures site from 20 June 2017 until 31 July 2017.