Pronghorn, Diageo‘s spirits incubator arm, has made its first investment in the non-alcoholic category in the US with a move to back RTD cocktails group Mocktail Club.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Black-owned drinks business investor said the cash injection will speed up Mocktail Club’s growth in the non-alcoholic segment.

Washington-based Mocktail Club sells a variety of “premium” RTD non-alcoholic cocktails to the US market, which are “inspired by global travel”.

Its range, which includes the Capri Spritz, Havana Twist, Bombay Fire and Manhattan Berry, is sold in Whole Foods Market, Giant, Safeway, Target and Erewhon Market.

Dia Simms, co-founder of Pronghorn, said: “Pronghorn’s mission is simple – to create a template to diversify any industry.

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“We recognise that the non-alcoholic sector is growing at an incredibly fast pace, which is why we are thrilled to support a Black woman-owned brand like Mocktail Club that is set to disrupt the non-alcoholic sector through its distinct flavours.”

Pauline Idogho, founder of Mocktail Club, said the investment would help the business “scale up and become more accessible across the nation”.

Set up in 2020 and launched in 2022, Pronghorn has been backed by Diageo since 2021.

Last month, the group snapped up its first Japanese whisky brand Shinju Spirits for an unknown sum.

Founded in 2019 and already holding backing from US incubator Rogue Baron, the business sells its original and aged whiskies in the US, UK and EU.

The remainder of Pronghorn’s portfolio is largely dominated by Tequila and US whiskey brands. These include, Los Hermanos Tequila, Red Hazel whisky and Old Hillside Bourbon, among others.

Speaking to Just Drinks in February, Pronghorn portfolio director and former Diageo executive Connor McKenna said the incubator looked “to be an effective template for how you can diversify any industry, starting with the spirits universe and starting with the Black community.

“We have a two-pronged approach. On one side, our team focuses on trying to spread the entrepreneurial pipeline. From an impact standpoint, our ten-year goal is to invest in 57 brands. That’s providing founders with access to capital, network and know-how to try and be successful in the industry.”

At the time, McKenna said that 23 of those investments had been made. Since taking on Shinju Spirits and Mocktail Club, that number has increased to 25.