Diageo acquires Belsazar

Launched by entrepreneurs Maximillian Wagner and Sebastian Brack on the Berlin food and drinks scene in 2013, Belsazar is the first company to be acquired by Diageo through Distill Ventures, Diageo’s innovation incubator company. 

Three times lighter in alcohol than standard equivalents, the vermouth drink hails from the Southern Baden region of Germany.

The company began in 2013 and the very first bottle of Belsazar was sold in April 2014.

“In Germany we started out supplying around 96 bottles a year per outlet in 2015,” Sebastian Brack told Drinks Industry Ireland when the brand was launched here last year via distributors Dalcassian Wines, “In its first year the company sold 22,000 bottles and last year this figure had risen to 60,000. Today it’s selling 240,000.”

Germany remains Belsazar’s key market but the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia are seeing increased sales, he said. Belsazar began selling in the US last Autumn.

We wanted an exclusive product for the bar and restaurant and so we’re seeking fine food occasions and are not interested in the multiples or discounters,” Sebastian told Drinks Industry Ireland at the time.

As consumers shift towards more casual occasions, demand for lower ABV cocktails and long drinks is increasing and Belsazar fits this occasion perfectly, states Diageo.

The brand’s heartland is Germany where it was available in over 750 on-trade outlets as of last Summer.

Belsazar is made from selected grapes including Pinot Noir among others from South Baden right at the edge of the Black Forest, infused with herbs to give it a unique natural character and finished with a dash of fruit brandy. The liquid is then aged for up to three months, allowing it to develop its range of complex aromas.

It was named one of IWSR’s Top Ten brands to watch in the Radius 2018 report.
Maximilian Wagner and Sebastian Brack will remain actively involved, working with Diageo on the brand.




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