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Today, Diageo announces the acquisition of Belsazar GmbH, a premium aperitif from Germany’s Black Forest. Belsazar was launched by entrepreneurs Maximillian Wagner and Sebastian Brack on the Berlin food and drinks scene in 2013. Belsazar is the first company to be acquired by Diageo through Distill Ventures.
Belsazar provides Diageo with an exciting opportunity to strengthen its participation in the aperitif occasion and expand the brand across Europe. As consumers shift towards more casual occasions, demand for lower ABV cocktails and long drinks are increasing and Belsazar fits this occasion perfectly.
The acquisition is also an important milestone for Distill Ventures, the drinks industry’s first accelerator for new and growing spirits brands. Since its launch in 2013, Distill Ventures has significantly grown its portfolio and expanded into North America. Independently run, Distill Ventures receives funding from Diageo, and draws on industry expertise and professional networks, to identify, invest in and accelerate aspiring drinks brands.
Belsazar joined Distill Ventures in 2014 and has performed strongly in its key markets, Germany and the UK. The brand’s heartland is Germany, where it is available in over 750 on-trade outlets as of summer 2017. These include gastronomy bars, Michelin starred restaurants, biergardens and smaller restaurants where people are looking for light, long drinks with food. In the UK, it is available in a number of on-trade locations including Soho House, Hakkasan and Chiltern Firehouse.