Diageo-backed incubator Pronghorn has invested in a trio of spirits companies led by Black women, including a New York-based Cognac brand.
Pronghorn has given financial backing to Acquired Taste Cognac, New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery and Rally Gin.
The incubator now has investments in 20 ‘emerging’ Black-owned brands, including nine led by women (representing 36% of Pronghorn’s total portfolio).
The three companies join six other brands founded, led or owned by a Black woman, including Ego Tequila, Abisola Whiskey, Red Hazel Whiskey and Rye, TCapri Tequila, Anteel Tequila, and Delta Dirt Distillery.
“As a female executive myself, I couldn’t be more proud to represent a company that advocates for minorities in the spirits industry,” said Conley Fitzpatrick, head of trade marketing for Pronghorn.
“More and more women are creating brands that speak to what we are looking for in spirits, and Pronghorn is committed to supporting their innovation and leadership in the industry.”
Acquired Taste Cognac is owned and operated by spirits company Mingo Imports in New York. The family-owned business was created with the aim of raising awareness around the importance of minority ownership and equity.
New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery is led by sisters Alisa Lawrence and Nilaja Young, alongside their spouses. The company produces vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, moonshine and ready-to-serve cocktails.
“We are committed to celebrating and advocating for Black women in the industry, and we feel like Pronghorn is the best partner to align with that mission,” Young added.
Rally Gin was created by Missouri-based Decoy Beverage Co, which was founded in 2020 by childhood friends Desmond Carr, Tim McCoy and Alysha Daicy.
The new investments follow Pronghorn’s celebration of its first anniversary in June this year.
At the time, Pronghorn announced it had raised US$200 million in support of the company’s goal of developing the next generation of Black entrepreneurs and executives in the spirits sector.
Ten to One Rum, co-owned by singer Ciara, was the first of 57 investments that Pronghorn will make in Black-owned spirits brands over the next decade.
Diageo North America is the anchor investor in Pronghorn.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers