Spirits News: Three Spirit Lands seed investment; Diageo goes further in tequila

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Three Spirit Lands CircleUp Seed Tower

The “First Functional Herbal Social Elixir” has a new funder.

This week, London-based alcohol-free spirits maker Three Spirit announced the closing of a $ 3 million Series A funding round led by CircleUp Growth Partners that aims to help seed the brand in the United States and put up its domestic manufacturing operations, as well as supporting scientific research.

Citing the group’s data-driven approach to brand building, Three Spirits co-founder Meeta Gournay called CircleUp a “dream partner.”

“The team’s knowledge of the beverage, soft drink, consumer and wellness industries is unparalleled,” she said in a press release. “Being a UK-founded company, CircleUp is uniquely positioned to support Three Spirit from our strong start in the US and to accelerate the brand in a thoughtful and meaningful way. “

Created by Tatiana Mercer, Dash Lilley and Gournay, the brand is part of a new wave of beverage startups – along with Seedlip and Ritual Zero Proof – seeking to redefine “alcohol-free” in the context of complex and sophisticated analogs of spirits. . In this blend, Three Spirit’s approach claims to be a little different: rather than mimicking the look and taste of a distilled spirit, or removing alcohol from the liquid, its botanical drinks are designed to be used in cocktails or sipped straight, with the addition of active adaptogenic ingredients to improve mood and make drinkers feel “more social.” The brand produces three functional SKUs – Livener, Social Elixir, and Nightcap – available for $ 39 per 16.9 oz. bottle.

Arriving in the United States in January, Three Spirit saw growth of 11 times its domestic sales through August, according to the company.

For CircleUp, investing represents a new path to a space that sits somewhere between major categories and trends. The group’s previous investments in functional drinks – Koia, Liquid IV – have been primarily positioned as health and wellness games, while Three Spirit (by its own description) is a social tonic aimed at space. ” between drinking and not drinking, ”according to the brand.

The PE company also has a stake in the traditional alcohol business, having led a $ 3.5 million round of tequila Los Sundays earlier this summer. It is also an investor in the non-alcoholic beer maker Partake.

“Helio, our proprietary data and information platform, has identified the unique demand for alcohol alternatives and wellness consumer products, which sets Three Spirit apart from other non-alcoholic spirits in this emerging category. Said Karen Howland, CEO of CircleUp. “We are delighted to welcome Meeta, Tatiana, Dash and the rest of the Three Spirit team to the CircleUp community and we are delighted to be part of the journey to bring spirits to the non-alcoholic beverage market. “

The new funding will also be used for the development and launch of Three Spirits’ next innovation: a “functional alternative wine / RTD” line.

“New product development is at the heart of everything we do at Three Spirit,” adds co-founder and chief alchemist Dash Lilley. “This fantastic partnership will help us accelerate and evolve our plans for exciting new products that will hopefully redefine what is possible in the non-alcoholic wine space as well as in adult RTDs.”

Diageo reinforces its commitment to tequila and opens its first carbon neutral distillery

Consumers are clamoring for more tequila, and Diageo is listening.

The spirits giant sports two of the category’s most prominent and best-selling labels – Don Julio and Casamigos, each acquired over the past decade – but with the market exploding and rival Bacardi playing an important role with His $ 5.1 billion purchase from Patron, Diageo is keen to add more producing muscle.

According to a report in The Spirits Business, the company will invest more than $ 500 million to boost tequila production in Mexico, as this category currently accounts for 8% of total organic net sales. This includes the opening of a third manufacturing plant in the municipality of La Barca, in the state of Jalisco.

According to the report, the new facility will create more than 1,000 local jobs and align with Diageo’s sustainable development action plan, titled “Society 2030: Spirit of Progress”.

Álvaro Cárdenas, President, Latin America and the Caribbean, Diageo, said Reuters that the announcement “is the most important investment we have made in Latin America and the Caribbean in the past 10 years”. Diageo’s net tequila sales increased 79%, with the category now accounting for 8% of the company’s organic net sales.

“This exciting investment in Mexico will support the future growth of our category to meet Mexican and international demand,” Cárdenas said, adding that the growth has been primarily driven by consumers in North America, where the drink enjoys a “wide appeal for all consumption occasions”.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Diageo is also investing. This week, the company started production of Bulleit Bourbon at its very first carbon neutral manufacturing plant in Lebanon, Kentucky, with a production capacity of 10 million gallons per year.

818 aligns with Mexican nonprofits and changes distillery

On the business side, model Kendall Jenner hit her pace with 818 Tequila, beating her two-year sales forecast and recently expanding her distribution. However, the latest news from the company concerns its charitable work, with the announcement of 818’s partnership with the non-profit group SACRED (Saving Agave for Culture, Recreation, Education and Development).

Launched by Lou Bank in 2017, US-based SACRED focuses on improving the quality of life in rural Mexican communities where agave spirits, including tequila and mezcal, are produced. The group has contributed to projects ranging from building schools for local children to replanting agave in areas affected by environmental degradation to distributing 35,000 agave plants to families in Oaxaca. to help expand access to culture.

To mark their collaboration, 818 and SACRED created the 818 Bricks program which uses raw post-production agave fibers, waste water and adobe soil to create bricks that can be used for building projects. local construction. The non-profit organization will help with the production of bricks and the identification of infrastructure projects to donate.

In a press release, the bank said the program aims to work directly with community members by “asking them what they need.”

“I am honored to work alongside 818 Tequila, specifically on making adobe bricks from agave waste and using those bricks to support Mexican communities,” said Bank, who is also a director. SACRED Executive “It is our mission to support the people who make agave spirits, in the hope of maintaining the wisdom and multigenerational practices inherited from their ancestors who made tequila, mezcal and other spirits of the patrimony.

“As we continue our mission of finding concrete ways to support Amatitán and the wider Mexican community where our tequila is produced, we are honored to work with SACRED, who have established excellent relationships with the people producing spirits from around the world. heritage in the region for generations, ”said Mike Novy, President and COO of 818 Tequila. “At 818 Tequila, we want to create a new standard of sustainability while giving back to those who are integral to our tequila manufacturing process. Establishing a long-term partnership with Lou and his team at SACRED to build on the incredible work they have already done in Mexico is truly the driving force behind our mission.

According to a statement, 818’s affiliation with SACRED has also helped the brand switch to its new co-packer, Mexican family-owned distiller Grupo Solave, which prides itself on a ‘first on earth’ production process fueled by waste via biomass boilers and ‘both extend the life cycle of agave and reduce CO2 emissions. The distillery is a division of the Mexican conglomerate Grupo Oleomex.


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