At Constellation Ventures, we are connecting people, technology and brands to move forward in a competitive and ever-evolving industry. While high-growth potential and the ability to scale are table stakes for our venture capital, we believe that innovation is about connection, and we look to work with companies that produce products at premium price points and have brands that help fill the gaps in our portfolio.

One such example is Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. An initial minority investment was made in Nelson’s Green Brier in 2016. After more than three years of collaborating, sharing consumer insights, and gaining deeper knowledge of two of the top trends in the spirits category—craft and whiskey—Constellation further solidified its goal of broadening its higher-end spirits portfolio by increasing its interest in the Nashville, Tenn., based distillery. Nelson’s Green Brier produces a variety of award-winning offerings under the Belle Meade™ Bourbon brand and is set to release a Tennessee whiskey later this year. The majority stake by Constellation allows for Nelson’s Green Brier to continue to operate with its existing management team and its employees running the day-to-day operations, while leveraging Constellation’s wine and spirits division’s market reach, distributor relationships, and consumer insights to help nurture and develop their distinctive brand. Whiskey is a red-hot category and we believe this investment promises unparalleled opportunities for growth.

We are also seeking to increase women’s role in the industry—not only as consumers, but as founders, entrepreneurs, and as businesspeople. In 2018, we committed to invest $100 million over the next 10 years in female-founded and female-led start-ups in the beverage alcohol space. And the investment goes beyond just dollars. We are offering a collaborative experience with entrepreneurs, supporting all marketing and brand-building efforts, insights and analytics, and route to market and distribution opportunities.

Thus far, we’ve invested in two female-founded businesses that have set the bar for several new relationships ahead.

  • Austin Cocktails offers five premium bottled cocktails made from natural ingredients. Their array of recipes includes Cucumber Vodka Mojito, Ruby Red Cocktail, Perfect Bergamot Orange Margarita, Peppered Maple Blood Orange Bourbon Cocktail, and New School Gin Mule, which cater to the discerning mixed-drink consumer.
  • Vivify Beverages brings flavorful, “better for you” options that fulfill unmet consumer needs in the beer aisle. The company’s first two premium alcohol beverage products are innovations in sparkling. Bravazzi Hard Italian Soda and Itz Spritz, a gluten-free spritzer, have strong potential for growth, already gaining traction in key markets across the country.

Our investment in female founders has been met with positive response, and we look forward to future collaboration through this initiative.

“Ventures provides Constellation with opportunities to make strategic bets on what’s going to drive growth in the future. The very nature of what we do means we’re pretty plugged in to the industry and the latest consumer trends. We’re able to bring these insights to other groups within Constellation, as well as to our Venture investments.”

Jennifer Evans, VP Ventures

IRI, Total U.S. Multi-Outlet + Convenience 52 weeks ending January 6, 2019

In 2018, we committed to invest $100 million over the next 10 years in female-founded and female-led start-ups in the beverage alcohol space.