Constellation Brands’ acquisition of Austin Cocktails supports continued growth in the fast-growing RTD segment and reinforces the company’s ongoing commitment to female representation within the industry.
VICTOR, N.Y., April 7, 2022 – Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B), a leading beverage alcohol company, announced today that it acquired the remaining interest in Austin Cocktails, a rapidly growing, female-founded ready-to-drink cocktail company out of Austin, Texas. Best known for creating premium, award winning bottled and canned craft cocktails, Austin Cocktails was started by two sisters who launched the brand as an homage to their late grandfather, Fred. Fred’s focus on family and his love of good spirits inspired the co-founders, Jill Burns and Kelly Gasink, to create high quality bar-proof drinks in convenient, ready-to-drink (RTD) formats.
The acquisition follows a 2018 investment in Austin Cocktails as part of Constellation Ventures’ Focus on Female Founders initiative and reinforces the company’s commitment to support female leaders across the industry and meet evolving consumer preferences. Austin Cocktails is currently distributed in 28 states and grew 135% in depletions in calendar year 2021 as RTD trends continue to rise in popularity among consumers. The Austin Cocktails brand will be integrated into Constellation’s Fine Wine & Craft Spirits Division along with brands such as High West and The Prisoner Wine Company.
“Austin Cocktails and its co-founders, Jill and Kelly, are at the forefront of understanding market trends toward premiumization. The quality of their drinks is unmatched in the ready-to-drink category,” said Mallika Monteiro, executive vice president and chief growth, strategy and digital officer, Constellation Brands. “We’re thrilled to have Jill and Kelly join our team and to leverage Constellation Brand’s scale and reach to support the continued rapid growth of Austin Cocktails’ outstanding products.”
“As female founders operating in an environment where women entrepreneurs are significantly under-funded, we feel a sense of tremendous accomplishment to have built Austin Cocktails and recognize the additional implications of our success. Constellation’s commitment to female founders is helping change the landscape of the industry and beyond,” said Gasink.
“Constellation’s ventures team worked closely with us, providing top-tier resources and guidance, demonstrating their commitment to innovation, and making this initiative a success,” remarked Burns. “We are proud to build on this and further develop our products alongside some of the most iconic beverage alcohol brands in the world.”
When Burns and Gasink brought their product to market in2014, the ready-to-drink category was small and ripe for innovation and growth. Long before the recent boom of RTD’s, they began to craft and package cocktails with natural ingredients and premium spirits that have full-strength alcohol content (12-15% ABV) and provide the clean taste and body of a freshly made, craft cocktail. Inspired by their grandfather’s tradition of dropping everything at 5 o’clock during the harvest months to enjoy cocktails with friends and family, the brand’s focus on bringing “cocktail time” back to life in a new way for today’s consumers is right for our times.
“At a time when many have felt isolated over the last couple years during the pandemic, we find people are more appreciative of life’s essentials – time with family and friends,” said Burns. “We think our grandfather would be proud of the company we built around a tradition that celebrates making time for joy and connection.”
Female-founded companies accounted for only 2% of venture capital investments in 2021, which was the second consecutive year that the number of female-founded companies receiving funding decreased1 Constellation’s Focus on Female Founders initiative, announced in 2018, aims to directly increase representation and access to funding by investing $100 million in female-led or female-founded companies by 2028.
Analyses show female-founded startups that get funded are more likely to succeed and deliver higher value than male-founded companies2. Female-founded companies also hire more women and help close the pay gap3.
1 According to data from Pitchbook, an M&A, private equity and VC database
2 According to June 2018 BCG Why Women-Owned Startups Are a Better Bet
3 According to Kauffman Fellows
ABOUT CONSTELLATION BRANDS
At Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B), our mission is to build brands that people love because we believe sharing a toast, unwinding after a day, celebrating milestones, and helping people connect, are Worth Reaching For. It’s worth our dedication, hard work, and the bold calculated risks we take to deliver more for our consumers, trade partners, shareholders, and communities in which we live and work. It’s what has made us one of the fastest-growing large CPG companies in the U.S. at retail, and it drives our pursuit to deliver what’s next.
Today, we are a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine, and spirits with operations in the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, and Italy. Every day, people reach for our high-end, iconic imported beer brands such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Corona Premier, Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra, and Pacifico, our fine wine and craft spirits brands, including The Prisoner Wine Company, Robert Mondavi Winery, Casa Noble Tequila, and High West Whiskey, and our premium wine brands such as Meiomi, and Kim Crawford.
But we won’t stop here. Our visionary leadership team and passionate employees from barrel room to boardroom are reaching for the next level, to explore the boundaries of the beverage alcohol industry and beyond. Join us in discovering what’s Worth Reaching For.
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