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Distill Ventures appoints new CEO

Diageo-backed spirits accelerator Distill Ventures (DV) has promoted its North America managing director, Heidi Dillon, to chief executive.

Heidi Dillon, chief executive of Distill Ventures
Heidi Dillon is the new chief executive of Distill Ventures

Dillon has led Distill Ventures’ US business since 2020.

She will take over the chief executive role from Distill Ventures co-founder Frank Lampen, who will remain involved in the company as chair.

Distill Ventures said Dillon has played a key role in building its non-alcoholic business, and helped ‘shape perceptions’ of the category.

Her most notable contribution was the support she provided for Seedlip’s growth in the US, before the brand joined Diageo’s portfolio, as well as the launch of Ritual Zero Proof.

Dillon also led the creation and launch of Distill Ventures’ Pre-Accelerator programme, which provides funding to entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds. To date, 15 brands have received investment from the programme.

Dillon said: “Over the last decade, DV has demonstrated its strengths in spotting trends early and finding great founders and brands. We’ve proudly supported companies that are creating entirely new categories like non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ and new world whiskies.

“As CEO and together with the team, we will strengthen our commitment to elevating diversity and gender representation. Putting the changing consumer at the heart of all of our thinking enables continued innovation and transforms the way we interact with the spirits industry, driving the next decade of growth.”

Distill Ventures will celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer. The company employs more than 500 people across the US, Japan, Europe and Australia.

The firm has facilitated five acquisitions by Diageo, including Seedlip, Australian cold brew coffee liqueur Mr Black, Japanese rice whisky Kikori, and German vermouth Belsazar.

Lampen added: “Diageo has also been a vital partner – they are uniquely placed to understand opportunities within the global drinks market and have proven their willingness to embrace innovation and new ways of thinking.

“Our global team of 30 drinks experts is ready to shape the next 10 years under Heidi’s leadership and incredible team building skills.

“With her clarity of vision, commitment to DV and her position as a role model for inclusivity and driving change, I look forward to supporting her as we shape both DV’s future and the global drinks industry.”

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