Constellation Brands is well known in the beer and wine industry. (especially after buying Ballast Point Brewery for $1 BILLION). Now Constellation is taking a major step forward in driving the industry to be the way they want it. Instead of waiting to buy established brands (and paying a premium) Constellation, through its venture capital group Constellation Brands Ventures, intends to invest $100 million in female-led start-ups by 2028. And thereby get a stake in possible breakout brands at a much lower premium.
As a linchpin of the new Focus on Female Founders program, the company aims to support female-founded or female-led businesses in the beverage alcohol space and adjacent categories.
Constellation said women-led businesses are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship in the US and generate two times the revenue per dollar versus the average non-women-owned businesses.
Funding recipients of the initiative will have access to Constellation’s staff and hands-on mentors as well as its expertise in brand-building, supply chain, governance, finance, and building relationships with distributors and retail partners.
Mallika Monteiro, Constellation Brands chief growth officer, said: “Our Focus on Female Founders programme reinforces our commitment to supporting the advancement of women within our company, within our industry, and in our local communities.
“This programme is designed to make meaningful investments in female-founded and female-led businesses doing disruptive and innovative work across beverage alcohol. Broadening our focus on this critical demographic will drive incremental growth for our business, enhance our relevance, deepen our consumer knowledge base, and broaden our pipeline of ideas and talent.”
The news comes as New York-headquartered Constellation reveals it has invested in two specialty beverage companies: Austin Cocktails and Vivify Beverages.
Constellation Brands chief operating officer Bill Newlands said: “Women are an underrepresented demographic in the beverage alcohol industry and we are committed to doing our part to help change this.
“As consumer demographics, needs and choices continue to evolve, we believe the focus and point of view that women-led businesses bring to the table will help drive transformative innovation and accelerated growth for our business and, more importantly, for the beverage alcohol space at-large. And we are very excited to jump-start this effort with two fantastic companies, Austin Cocktails and Vivify.”
The Focus on Female Founders application and evaluation process aligns with Constellation’s ventures strategy of investing in emerging, unique and distinctive brands. Constellation Brands Ventures continues to look for brands that have a point of differentiation in the market; companies that want to welcome Constellation Ventures as an active minority investor; organizations looking to grow beyond their current markets; and entrepreneurs who want to grow their business with the support of Constellation’s investment, mentorship and involvement.