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Distill Ventures hires operating partner

Diageo-backed investment unit Distill Ventures has added Evis Savvides to its North American team as operating partner.

Evis Savvides has joined Distill Ventures in the US as operating partner

Based in New York, Savvides will focus on planning and operations for all of Distill Ventures’ brands in North America. He will work with the firm’s existing portfolio companies to “accelerate the growth” of founder-led brands across the spirits and non-alcoholic drinks categories.

Savvides has previously held leadership roles with wine and spirits importers, wholesalers and consulting companies.

His experience includes 13 years at US sales and marketing company Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. Initially hired as a consultant, Savvides later served as the firm’s chief operating officer and then executive vice president of business development, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions.

Prior to joining Distill Ventures, he worked with Domaine Select Wine & Spirits as president, followed by SFG Consulting as a managing principal.

“Evis will support our companies by enhancing their strategic view while grounding the business plans in executable building blocks”, said Gonzalo De La Pezuela, founder and managing director of Distill Ventures North America.

“As we continue to expand in North America and beyond by supporting existing brands and new entrepreneurs that want to scale their businesses, Evis will apply his strategic and collaborative approach to play a key part in mentoring and facilitating successful outcomes.”

The appointment of Savvides follows the recent hire of Nicolas Proszenuck as investment director for Distill Ventures’s North American team.

To date, Distill Ventures has invested more than US$75 million in 15-plus drinks brands, including: Seedlip, the “world’s first” non-alcoholic distilled ‘spirit’; Danish whisky distillery Stauning; Australian whisky producer Starward; German apéritif Belsazar, and American single malt whiskey Westward in September 2018. Currently, Distill Ventures’ range of non-alcoholic brands accounts for a quarter of the company’s portfolio.

According to a new report by Distill Ventures, consumers are “underserved” when it comes to non-alcoholic drinks options despite “strong demand”.

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