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Pronghorn invests in Ten to One Rum

Diageo-backed incubator Pronghorn has made its first investment in Caribbean rum brand Ten to One, co-owned by American singer Ciara.

Ten to One Rum founder Marc Farrell with singer Ciara
Ten to One Rum founder Marc Farrell with co-owner Ciara

Pronghorn is a company dedicated to helping the next generation of Black entrepreneurs, executive leaders and founders in the spirits industry. The company aims to generate US$2.4 billion in economic value for the Black community by 2032.

The 10-year initiative was co-founded by industry experts Dia Simms, Erin Harris and Dan Saborn. Diageo North America is the anchor investor for Pronghorn.

Harris said Ten to One was the first of 57 investments that Pronghorn will make in Black-owned spirits brands over the next decade.

“Pronghorn’s goal is to cultivate the next generation of Black entrepreneurs, executive leaders, and founders within the spirits industry,” Harris explained.

“Diverse representation in entrepreneurship will drive innovation, and Ten to One is a leading example of that through its continued reimagination of the rum category.”

Pronghorn’s aim is to act as an incubator and accelerator, and to make capital investments in Black-owned brands while helping them to leverage ‘industry-leading’ knowledge and resources.

According to Pronghorn, fewer than 1% of spirits brand acquisitions in the US have been Black-owned. The Black community accounts for 12% of alcoholic beverage consumers in the US.

Ten to One was founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and former Starbucks senior vice-president, Marc Farrell.

“Continuously challenging expectations has been core to our brand’s DNA from day one and proven to be a major ingredient in preserving on a path to success – even against the backdrop of a global pandemic,” said Farrell.

“There remains an enormous opportunity to change the way people taste, experience and talk about rum, and with the incredible support of the Pronghorn team, we will not only be able to expand our footprint to other major metropolitan hubs, but also introduce consumers to new occasions for which rum should be considered the spirit of choice.”

R&B singer-songwriter Ciara joined the rum brand in October 2021 as an investor, co-owner and director.

“Pronghorn’s team are spirits industry game-changers,” Ciara added. “It’s rewarding to see these creative minds rally around a brand and a mission that I am so passionate about and enable a path to excellence that uplifts and supports Black entrepreneurs.”

According to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis data cited by Pronghorn, the US market for super-premium-plus rum brands is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 12.6% from 2021 to 2026, and will grow two times faster than the total spirits industry over the next five years.

Earlier this month, Pronghorn joined the Distilled Spirits Council of the US’s Partner Membership Program.

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