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Mary J Blige and Diddy back Reserve Bar initiative

E-commerce platform Reserve Bar has pledged US$5 million until 2024 to support minority and women-owned alcohol businesses, with Mary J Blige and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs backing the initiative.

Sean Combs with Ciroc
Rapper Sean Combs is backing Reserve Bar’s Spirited Change initiative

In March 2021, US alcohol platform Reserve Bar revealed its new Spirited Change initiative, which sought to boost diversity and inclusion in the industry by offering marketing assistance to minority- and women-owned suppliers.

The scheme was revealed at the same time as Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits’ purchase of an equity stake in Reserve Bar for an undisclosed sum.

Reserve Bar created Spirited Change to create opportunities and ‘level the playing field’ by taking steps to uplift diverse communities and business owners.

Alongside Blige and Combs, other investors to join the initiative include Kevin Durant, Rich Kleiman, Emmet Dennis and Jonathan McBride.

Female representation ‘unacceptable’, says Mary J Blige

Blige said: “Investing in Reserve Bar’s Spirited Change Initiative was an easy decision for me.

“When I was first creating my wine, I was told less than 5% of the spirits industry represents Bipoc and/or female entrepreneurs. That statistic is unacceptable.

“We need to make actionable change within the industry and begin to empower, support, and provide tangible resources to minority entrepreneurs as a first step toward inclusion and equality. I look forward to working with my fellow investors to make that happen.”

Kleiman, Dennis and McBride are part of Reserve Bar’s Spirited Change advisory board, which also includes Reserve Bar co-founder and CEO Lindsay Held, and Dia Simms, CEO of Lobos 1707 Tequila and mezcal, among others.

Reserve Bar said that since July 2020, the initiative has supported 62 brands, providing more than US$700,000 worth of marketing services, resulting in roughly US$1.3 million in sales.

Reserve Bar has dedicated a section of its website to Spirited Change companies to raise awareness and boost sales of the brands.

Earlier this year, The Spirits Business explored how major investments will shape alcohol e-commerce.

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