Distill Ventures backs five drinks brands
Diageo-backed Distill Ventures has invested in five drinks brands, including pre-mixed Tequila-based cocktail maker Pimentae.
The ‘spring consort’ of producers being supported by Distill Ventures (DV) are: Casa J Tequila, American whiskey Lodestar, Pimentae, low-alcohol brand Tanica, and Black-owned flavoured Tequila Idle Hands.
The startups will receive investment of up to US$500,000, as well as nine to 12 months of acceleration and support.
The Distill Ventures team will support the companies across all areas of brand building, from storytelling to testing, and learning to improve their product.
After graduating from the programme, brands can seek further funding from Diageo or other sources.
Ara Carvalho, portfolio and R&D director, Distill Ventures, said: “We’ve learned a lot from our first 18 months of running the programme – and moving to a cohort system illustrates DV acting on some of those learnings.
“We believe it is the best method for us to offer bespoke, hands-on guidance, along with funding at all stages of growth, while ensuring that the founders lead their brands through the journey with the support of the other founders in our spring cohort.
“We are always looking for ambitious, innovative founders who have a quality liquid product and hold a clear vision for their brands, and we are incredibly excited to be working with these five brands.”
Ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail brand Pimentae was founded by two women: Alice Parmiter and Wynter Karo. The London-based brand offers ‘bar-quality’ bottled and canned cocktails that highlight the complexity of Tequila.
Blanco Tequila Casa J was launched by Mexican Sofia Paloma Juarez, who aims to ‘modernise the tradition of Tequila’.
The ‘approachable’ Lodestar is a pre-launch American whiskey from cousins and entertainment industry veterans, Anna Axster and Wendelin von Schroder, who seek to welcome more women into the category.
Woman-owned low-ABV brand Tanica is the creation of Adriane McDermott and Kate Napier, who mixed Australian botanicals with low amounts of alcohol to replicate their favourite cocktails.
Idle Hands is a pre-launch flavoured Tequila founded by Black entrepreneur Asher Flowers, who intends to bring the agave spirit to a new generation of drinkers.
In the past year, DV has invested almost US$5 million in entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities as part of its Pre-Accelerator programme.
The company has backed brands from across the world, including Californian sparkling cocktail Vervet, American apéritif Atōst, Vascano Tequila, Caribbean spiced rum Kromanti, and RTD producer Lot42.
Applications for Distill Ventures’ next cohort are open until 30 June.
Kamuti Kiteme, managing director, inclusive investments, Distill Ventures, added: “We would urge ambitious and passionate entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities to apply.”