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To date, we've invested more than £245m supporting the founder-led drinks brands of the future. This has taken various forms, from helping Stauning build Denmark's first purpose-built distillery to helping Seedlip crystalise their vision, purpose and everything in between. Our support is bespoke to each brand's journey.

The investments are always structured to leave you in full control of your business. If your funding application is declined, it typically marks the end of your contractual relationship with Diageo and Distill Ventures. This means you'll be free to develop your business as you wish, including the right to raise funds wherever you want to, and to sell your business without constraints.

In our 10 years supporting brands, we've partnered with more than 35 brands across various categories, geographies and sizes.

While we showcase some of our current portfolio here, we uphold founder confidentiality and do not list all brands.

We don’t offer access to a sales force and route to market (RTM) as it’s the founder’s job to drive business growth and we believe finding the most suitable RTM is your choice.

However, our team and global network of drinks experts can guide on best market expansion strategies and key contacts in various global markets, including importers, distributors and wholesalers.

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.

We offer substantial funding, unrivalled drinks and business know-how and a global network, and above all, we're by your side for the journey. We focus on forging real partnerships with founders to shape their vision together, a point of difference that truly sets us apart.

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 growth plan. As all entrepreneurs have different strengths and weaknesses, the support we give is both bespoke and broad ranging.

Our over-arching aim is to help build capabilities within each business, ensuring that the strong foundations we've helped establish propel them toward ongoing success as they grow.


Each deal is tailored to a company's requirements but with consistent principles. First, we work closely with founders to develop a business plan and investment requirements. As part of Diageo’s initial investment, they will become a minority shareholder of the business. At that point we will also agree a target scale and date at which Diageo will have the option to buy the company outright. If all goes well, Diageo will then continue to meet future funding requirements up to the target acquisition point with a structure that ensures Diageo remains a minority investor regardless of the funds raised so that founders stay in control as the business scales.

Once we both agree that we want to proceed, we will work together to prepare a business plan and pitch for our Investments Board as well as conduct some basic due diligence. If that goes well and the funding is approved, we will conduct further due diligence while agreeing the investment contracts. While we’re very conscious of how much of your time the process takes up, it’s worth noting that you will need to dedicate material amounts of time and headspace to the process pre-Investment Board to ensure you come along with a clear plan, investment ask and vision for your brand.

Yes, Diageo provides all investment and is the sole exit partner. Every equity deal includes an option for Diageo to acquire the business in the future.

No, we invest in companies of all sizes, from pre-launch startups to established brands looking to expand. We prioritise distinctive brand stories and ambitious founding teams over size or case volume.

If you apply for further funding and are turned down, you’ll be free to develop your business as you wish, including the right to raise money from other investors, and to sell your business to another party.

Yes, Diageo takes a board seat to add strategic value from their expertise, supporting the company's overall growth.

Once Diageo starts investing, they intend to be the sole provider of additional funding to streamline the fundraising process.

In our pre-accelerator, investment is provided using SAFEs (which you can read more about here), without equity or an option for Diageo to purchase the company. Initial investments through equity funding include a minority share for Diageo and an option to acquire the business in the future.

Our Investment Board, comprising senior leaders within Diageo and DV, approves all investments based on the founders' pitches and performance.

No, further funding is not guaranteed. It depends on the company's performance and trajectory towards acquisition.

We prioritise confidentiality and do not disclose any information to Diageo without the founder's explicit consent, supported by mutual confidentiality agreements.


Each brand has a dedicated DV partner who knows your business inside out to ensure you always have what you need. In some cases, they're an entrepreneur themselves and will use their knowledge and expertise to support in the way that works best for the brand.

Across the team we have know-how in areas like brand launches, eCommerce, data & insight, long-term strategic planning, and rapid scaling across multiple markets.

We pay close attention to the hurdles spirits entrepreneurs face, working together to develop plans that quickly and fundamentally turn the dial. Alongside our network of partners, we leverage 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 developing RTM strategy and supporting founders in the selection of markets, channels and distributor network

Brands in the Pre-Accelerator are part of a 9-12 month program that provides them with seed investment alongside mentoring. Our intent investing in larger, more established brands entering into an equity deal  is to keep supporting that company through to exit – but there are times where things don’t work out and Diageo stops investing in a company. This process can take anything from 5-10 years on average but there are cases where brands have gotten to scale faster.

We currently have portfolio brands in 5 countries so you are able to participate remotely.


We're a team of 35 seasoned drinks experts across seven countries with head offices in New York and London. We're diverse in our approach, experience and expertise, we live and breathe drinks and are united in our passion to make your brand the best it can be.

Many of the team are fully remote so geography isn't an issue for us. We make every effort to come together as a team as often as we can and stay connected digitally.

Partners to start-ups and scale-ups since 2013, we work with the world’s most ambitious founders to create the drinks brands of the future. We offer funding, unrivalled know-how, a global network, and above all, we're by your side for the journey.


You can read about our eligibility criteria here.

The Pre-Accelerator is an extension of the DV program. We built it specifically to give smaller and emerging brands a smoother, faster runway into the program – a space where you can test and learn before setting hard commercial goals and ambitious growth plans. It’s also where people who are new to the drinks industry can learn about crucial industry standards and practices, like the 3-tier system, distribution, and liquid R&D, without the pressure of annual sales targets.

A business incubator caters to startups at the idea stage, offering support during product development. Accelerators, however, target brands with clear products, aiding their growth with expert mentoring and funding.

Distill Ventures' Pre-Accelerator focuses on helping founders from underrepresented communities grow their drinks brands, giving them a boost into the drink's world.

We’ll support you in bringing a plan to life by working towards a mutually agreed series of test-and-learn goals. The results will inform a pitch we'll help you build for our Investment Board. There you'll aim to secure a bigger equity investment and work with DV and Diageo as long-term partners. 

Depending on what you want to achieve in the Pre-Accelerator, support or know-how from Diageo might benefit you so we would involve them. It's up to you.

Initial investment is in exchange for a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) which basically means no equity is exchanged at the point of investment. The SAFE note would convert to an equity stake at the next investment round. Regardless of the size of investment, we remain a minority investor, so founders stay fully in control as the business scales. 

Each Pre-Accelerator brand is paired with a dedicated DV partner who knows your business inside out. They offer tailored support and access to the wider team's know-how in PR, brand launches, e-commerce and more.

Recognising unique strengths and weaknesses, our support is both bespoke and broad ranging. On top of personal support, you'll gain access to our online resource hub featuring case studies, campaign trackers and interviews with fellow entrepreneurs, made with entrepreneurs in mind and updated regularly.

You can apply through our web application form here. The questions are designed to give us insight into your thinking while sparing an exhaustive interview process. Don’t worry if you’re only just getting started — we’re most interested in learning about your vision, your ambition and passions. We can’t wait to meet you!