Distill Ventures Accelerator

Competitions

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Location (s):

  • United Kingdom
  • Worldwide
London

Overview

Distill Ventures was born out of a realisation that there were many visionary drinks entrepreneurs with barriers holding them back and little access to resources to help them build global brands. Unlike industries like tech where this support already existed. We wanted to change that. We brought together a passion for drinks and a range of experts to fill the void. We approached Diageo as a partner, and in 2013, the world’s first accelerator for the spirits industry was born. We're the world's first independent drinks accelerator, dedicated to helping founders build, scale and sell the drinks brands of the future.

Details

Portfolio brands take advantage of our deep understanding of how the best drinks brands are built as well as our network of experts, giving companies of all sizes the support needed to succeed. We work closely with brands to develop customized support that removes road blocks and fundamentally turns the dial. Alongside our partners at Diageo, our team leverages our expertise to drive businesses forward, whether it’s establishing an online sales platform, brand building via social media, liquid development for non-alcoholic drinks, or unlocking access to control states in North America

How does the deal work?

Each deal is unique and tailored to each individual company's requirements and rate of growth. From the get-go, we work closely with founders to develop a business plan and work out what investment might be needed to achieve it. Regardless of size of investment, Diageo remains a minority investor so founders stay fully in control as the business scales.

Investments are made on the basis that – if all goes well – Diageo continues to meet future funding requirements through to a pre-agreed point where they might be interested in acquiring the business. All deals do include a call option for Diageo to buy the company outright at a pre-agreed future point.

Partnering with Diageo

One of the benefits of working with Diageo is that they're uniquely placed to understand opportunities within the global drinks market and are equally happy funding capital and stock investment as brand-building, marketing activity and global expansion.

SINCE 2013, WE'VE COMMITTED MORE THAN £60 MILLION POUNDS TO OVER 15 FOUNDER-LED DRINKS BRANDS ENABLING THEM TO GO FURTHER, FASTER

Opportunity is About:


Eligibility

Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

We invest in companies of all shapes and sizes ranging from people who are in the pre-launch phase up to established brands looking to move into new markets, build distilleries or scale quickly. There's no defined minimum or maximum size or case volume for investment, we look for a distinctive brand story and ambitious founding team above all else.

Here are some general guidelines on what we look for in future portfolio partners.

  • Alcoholic drinks of all ABVs and types
    Except beer and wine.
  • A great idea or brand
    Well thought through propositions that bring something new to the market and are created by a founding team with big ambitions and plenty of determination.
  • Rapidly growing businesses
    Brands with a clear plan for the future, looking for funding to take their company to the next level and realise their ambitions both in their home market and later on a global scale.
  • Pre-launch and early-stage businesses
    Founders looking for help getting started, or growing businesses with a clear plan that need funding to realise their founding vision.
  • Ambitious founding team
    Entrepreneurs who want to continue to drive their businesses, get to a significant size and sell in a number of years at an agreed future date.
  • Non-alcoholic
    Non-alcoholic, zero proof or low ABV spirits replacements that could easily find a home in premium bars and restaurants for a cocktail occasion.

Dates:

Deadline: The application period is open for one or more cycles a year


Cost/funding for participants:

Our investments to date range from £250k to a pre-launch start-up to over £10 million to fundamentally transform a whiskey business.

Once an investment is made, the Distill Ventures acceleration team works closely with the founding team to identify areas of focus and help build a solid plan for growth. As all entrepreneurs have different strengths and weaknesses, the support we give is both bespoke and broad-ranging.

The Distill Ventures team have a wealth of experience and knowledge from working in drinks and with independent businesses for many years. By drawing on our in-house expertise, our unbeatable global network of experts and the wealth of know-how within Diageo; we're confident in our ability to tackle all challenges that come your way.

We created Redwood Brands, a sales platform based in the US to help mitigate the inefficiencies and struggles that craft brands often face when entering the market.

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