Diageo acquires aperitif Belsazar

15 March, 2018

Diageo has announced the acquisition of Belsazar GmbH, a premium aperitif from Germany’s Black Forest for an undisclosed fee.

Belsazar was launched by Maximillian Wagner and Sebastian Brack in Berlin in 2013 and is now the first company to be acquired by Diageo through Distill Ventures. 

“Partnering with entrepreneurs like Max and Sebastian, and nurturing the global drinks brands of the future is core to our strategy,” said David Gates, managing director of Diageo futures.

Belsazar joined Distill Ventures in 2014 and has performed strongly in its key markets; Germany and the UK and the aperitif is available in more than 750 on-trade outlets as of summer 2017.

Belsazar’s four varieties; white, red, dry and rosé, are made from selected grapes including Pinot Noir, which are infused with herbs, finished with fruit brandy and aged for three months.

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 grown its portfolio and expanded into North America.

Independently run, Distill Ventures receives funding from Diageo to identify, invest in and accelerate aspiring drinks brands.

Frank Lampen, CEO and of Distill Ventures added: “Belsazar was one of the first Distill Ventures investments and we’ve worked closely with the founders over the past four years.

“Diageo has a great new brand and Max and Sebastian can continue to realise their vision for Belsazar with the full resources and expertise of the world’s largest drinks company.”

Belsazar’s founder,s Wagner and Brack will remain actively involved, working with Diageo and the aperitif will sit within Diageo’s Reserve portfolio.

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