Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Diageo looks Starward for second major Distill Ventures investment

Published:  16 December, 2015

Distill Ventures has made its second major investment in a matter of weeks.

The Diageo-funded accelerator programme for entrepreneurs in the spirits sector has taken a minority stake in Australia's New World Whisky Distillery, which produces single malt whisky brand Starward.

The investment is part of Starward's wider funding round this year, which has sought to raise AU$10 million.

The size of Distill's investment has not been disclosed.

The New World Whisky Distillery launched in 2009. It is based at a former Qantas maintenance hangar in Melbourne.

David Vitale, chief executive and founder of Starward, said: "This tops off an incredible year for us, with the successful launch of our wine eask edition, and now an investment from a partner who fully supports our vision of making a modern Australian whisky and taking that across Australia and to new markets overseas.

"The team are thrilled that we can keep doing what we do best - innovating in whisky production, and introducing more and more people to what we do."

David Gates, global ead of premium core spirits at Diageo, said: "Whisky remains such a vibrant category because of constant innovation - and there are few people in whisky who embody the spirit of innovation as much as David Vitale.

"Australian whisky has rightly been gaining increasing global recognition recently and Starward has developed a uniquely positioned whisky to capture this opportunity. 


"Starward has created a truly distinctive whisky with exceptional quality at younger ages from their innovative wood policy and getting positive impact on maturation from Melbourne's constantly changing climate."

Frank Lampen, co-founder of Distill Ventures, said: "The Starward team are exactly the types of entrepreneur we love working with. The team's commitment to innovation stands out even in the fast-evolving new world whisky category.

"Their vision for the future is really exciting and this investment will enable increased production of their signature single malts and continued development of their innovation pipeline."

Launched in 2013, Distill Ventures is a joint venture between Diageo and London-based innovation specialists Independents United.

It has two different investment structures, depending on the maturity of the business requiring investment.

Its seed programme is for entrepreneurs who have recently launched or are about to launch a spirits brand.

The growth programme also allows for investments in business that have a proven sales and customer base but are needing investments to scale up and have an ambition to the become a successful global brand.

Seed investments are capped at £175,000, whereas growth-programme investments have no limits.