Distill Ventures will give backing to entrepreneurs in  the spirits industry

Distill Ventures will give backing to entrepreneurs in the spirits industry

Diageo has helped launch a new Europe-wide scheme aimed at developing start-up spirits brands.

Distill Ventures, which launched last week, is a joint initiative between the drinks group and creative agency Independents United. As part of the scheme, Diageo will offer funding of up to GBP200,000 (US$309,727) and advice to each of five selected entrepreneurs.

UK applicants can apply from now and will be selected in mid-November. The scheme is also being rolled out to Berlin, Warsaw, Madrid and Copenhagen “shortly”.

“There is a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit in the drinks sector right now,” said Syl Saller, Diageo's CMO. “We are seeing some brilliant new brands being born and built that are achieving commercial success. Our joint commitment to Distill Ventures will nurture, develop and grow the ideas and the people to create the pioneering premium spirits brands of the future.” 

A seperate “growth programme” will also be launched in mid-2014, offering new brands the chance to “scale rapidly”. Up to GBP2m will be made available to successful applicants. 

Last month, Diageo reported a single-digit rise in full-year operating profits and sales, helped by a strong performance in North America.