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Diageo acquires German aperitif Belsazar from Distill Ventures

Published:  15 March, 2018

Diageo has acquired premium aperitif Belsazar from Germany’s Black Forest for an undisclosed sum.

Launched by entrepreneurs Maximillian Wagner and Sebastian Brack in 2013, Belsazar is the first company to be acquired by Diageo through Distill Ventures.

The acquisition provided Diageo with an “exciting opportunity” to strengthen its participation in the aperitif sector and expand Belsazar, which will sit within Diageo’s Reserve portfolio, across Europe, said Diageo.

“As consumers shift towards more casual occasions, demand for lower ABV cocktails and long drinks are increasing and Belsazar fits this occasion perfectly,” said David Gates, managing director, Diageo Futures.

It had been “very exciting” to follow Belsazar’s development and Diageo was now looking forward to “delivering the next phase of the brand’s growth”, he added.

Independently run but receiving funding from Diageo, Distill Ventures described the acquisition as an “important milestone” for the business, which Belsazar joined in 2014.

“Today is the first day of an exciting new chapter for Belsazar as we integrate into Diageo’s portfolio of world-class brands,” said Wagner, adding its ambition had always been to share the aperitif with as many people as possible.

Distill Ventures has since its launch in 2013 “significantly grown” its portfolio and expanded into North America, said Wagner, adding Belsazar was “performing strongly” in its key markets – Germany and the UK.

Following the acquisition, Wagner and Brack would remain actively involved, working with Diageo to ensure the brand’s future success, said Gates.

In its German heartland, Belsazar is available in over 750 on-trade outlets, while in the UK it is available in a number of on-trade locations, including Soho House, Hakkasan and Chiltern Firehouse.