Ex-Pernod exec creates alcohol investment firm

Former Pernod Ricard executive Nick Papanicolaou has founded alcohol investment company No Sleep Beverage, which has backed five brands including Barr Hill Gin.

The 14-year alcohol industry veteran worked for Pernod Ricard for seven years, where he started the company’s New Brand Ventures incubator and previously led mergers and acquisitions for the group’s US arm.

Papanicolaou was also CEO of US spirits firm Castle Brands from 2020 until 2022, after it was purchased by Pernod Ricard in 2019.

Papanicolaou is now using his experience and bringing together a team of investors, brand builders and operators to establish his own firm, which will back emerging alcohol brands that ‘embrace culture and transcend boundaries’.

In addition to providing capital, No Sleep Beverage partners and works directly with US-based alcohol brands to help them reach high levels of growth.

“One pain point we’re trying to solve is the lack of attention entrepreneurs often get from distributors and retailers,” said Papanicolaou. “I started as a beverage entrepreneur and quickly realised the high failure rates for independent brands, yet I also saw that the major spirits corporations have their own challenges.

“We’re bringing the best resources from both sides by providing many of the services that large companies offer while maintaining the creativity and agility of entrepreneurial ventures.”

Since its fundraising close in April 2023, No Sleep Beverage has backed five alcohol brands: Barr Hill Gin, Solento Tequila, Nine Banded Whiskey, Juliet Wine and Soley Beverage.

“The No Sleep Beverage team recognises the intricacies of what makes brands so special,” said Ryan Christiansen, co-founder and CEO of Barr Hill Gin.

“In addition to their expansive industry knowledge, they’re fun to work with. It doesn’t take too many conversations with the team to see they’re bringing more to the table than capital.”

No Sleep Beverage is targeting brands across different categories and consumption occasions.

Over the next 12 months, the company plans to raise funds for six to eight more transactions in support of emerging alcohol brands.

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Author: Nicola Carruthers