Distill Ventures expands US team with brand search role

Diageo-owned investment unit Distill Ventures has added Gregorio Santiago Braga to its North American team as brand search and accelerator executive.

Based in New York, Santiago Braga will hunt for the “brightest, most innovative” entrepreneurs across the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks categories in the US.

He will also work closely with Distill Ventures’ existing portfolio of founders “to nurture and scale their drinks brands”.

In addition, Santiago Braga will network at trade shows and ensure that entrepreneurs are maintaining best practices across the Distill Ventures portfolio.

Santiago Braga has worked as a business strategy and finance professional in consulting and product development.

Prior to joining Distill Ventures, he served as a finance consultant for Mexico-based spirits firm Buen Viaje Mezcal and as a creative project manager for wine producer E&J Gallo’s brands.

Santiago Braga is also the founder and CEO of non-alcoholic drinks brand Botanical Proof.

“We are confident that Gregorio’s combination of business strategy, finance consulting and beverage product marketing experience will bring great value to our existing brands,” said Gonzalo De La Pezuela, founder and managing director, Distill Ventures North America.

“His role will be integral to fostering relationships with new companies as we continue to expand in North America and beyond.”

The appointment of Santiago Braga follows the recent hire of Evis Savvides as operating partner for Distill Ventures’ North American team.

To date, Distill Ventures has invested more than US$75 million in more than 15 drinks brands, including: Seedlip, the “world’s first” non-alcoholic distilled ‘spirit’; Danish whisky distillery Stauning; Australian whisky producer Starward; German apéritif Belsazar; and American single malt whiskey Westward in September 2018. Currently, Distill Ventures’ range of non-alcoholic brands accounts for a quarter of the company’s portfolio.

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