A new diversity, equity and inclusion business for the spirits industry is readying its launch for December.
The initiative, which is called Pronghorn after the American antelope, is so named as a metaphor for the endurance required when running long distances rather than winning in a sprint race, illustrating that the premise for the business is to plan for the longterm.
Pronghorn co-founder and CEO of Lobos 1707 Dia Simms told MarketingDaily that the cheetah may be the fastest sprinter, but “when you go for the long distance, the pronghorn will win every time”.
Simms explained: “It’s really designed as a template for diversifying the ecosystem of any industry.”
Pronghorn co-founder and chief marketing officer of Lobos 1707 Erin Harris revealed that the plan is for Pronghorn to start with a 10-year programme aiming to increase diversity and inclusion for Black people in the US spirits industry and, in turn, generate £1.7 billion (US$2.4 billion) in economic impact.
Efforts will include investments in 57 Black-owned brands, and working to place 1,800 new Black employees into major brands such as Moet-Hennessy, Diageo and Brown-Forman.
“Between that, there are 11 super-charging elements to make sure (brands) have what they need to be successful through the entire ecosystem of the spirits industry,” said Harris.
“We have identified 166 Black-owned spirits companies that could use this funding and those supercharging efforts,” she added, but lamented: “We haven’t been able to find one Black-owned bottling company.”
Co-founder and Wheelhouse Labs president Dan Sanborn explained: “We’re also looking at how we build bridges to a future pipeline of talent.”
Diageo came on board last May as an anchor investor, but, Simms hinted: “they will not be the last”.