Diageo Invests In Australia’s Starward


By Richard Thomas

Distill Ventures, the venture capital division of British drinks giant Diageo, has made its second major investment by putting money into Australia’s Starward Whisky.

Based in a former Qantas Airlines hangar in Melbourne, Starward had been seeking AU$10 million in capital this year to fund expansion plans. The amount Distill Ventures has put into Starward remains undisclosed, but is not believed to exceed the AU$10 million figure.

Distill Ventures was started in 2013 by Diageo in conjunction Independents United, an innovation and marketing consulting firm. Earlier this month, the division invested £10 million in a Danish whisky distillery, Stauning.

The activities of Distill Ventures combined with Diageo’s $115 million investment in a Kentucky distillery for Bulleit Bourbon and its’ cancellation of multiple expansion projects in Scotland might signal a move to diversify the company’s whiskey holdings. Were that the case, however, the decision to trade Bushmills to Jose Cuervo last year in exchange for some secondary tequila brands in the midst of an Irish whiskey boom stands as contradictory to such a strategy.

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