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Diageo marks Black History Month via Pronghorn partnership

Diageo marks Black History Month via Pronghorn partnership

 February 27, 2023

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Diageo North America is an anchor investor in Pronghorn, a standalone business venture embarking on a journey to cultivate the next generation of Black entrepreneurs, executive leaders, and founders within the spirits industry.

While Black Americans represent 12 per cent of consumers across the United States beverage alcohol category, this group is under-represented within the industry from employment and ownership perspectives. To help address these disparities, Diageo has also provided a wide range of resources and expertise to bolster Pronghorn’s investments in route-to-market strategies, trade and brand marketing, supply chain and manufacturing, among other disciplines.

Pronghorn is making a remarkable impact to transform the make-up of the industry through their investments and programming,” said Diageo North America Executive Vice President of Corporate Relations, Stephanie Childs. “We are committed to doing our part to help ensure Pronghorn continues to thrive, creating opportunities for Black entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

As Diageo North America honors Black Heritage Month, the company is inspired by the progress Pronghorn has made to address barriers and empower untapped talent and emerging Black businesses to reach their full potential. 

Here are some of the key highlights since Pronghorn's inception:

Investing in Black businesses

Over a year, Pronghorn has invested in 12 Black-owned brands, allowing entrepreneurs to grow and sustain their businesses in the years to come. These investments include Ten to One Rum, Tequila with Friends (TWF), Ego Tequila, Den of Thieves Whiskey, Hella Cocktails Co., Anteel Tequila, Common Ground Spirits, Delta Dirt Distillery, and Old Hillside Bourbon Company.

Mentoring entrepreneurs

As part of the ‘supercharging program’ a team of industry experts have been deployed to work with each founder to identify the primary areas of opportunity for their business to grow and provide a blueprint to help them achieve their business goals. Eight brands have now completed the program.

Hiring talented professionals

In partnership with trade associations, Pronghorn has secured more than 900 hiring commitments from suppliers across the industry. It is also engaging with wholesalers and retailers to support its goal of placing 1,800 Black Americans in roles across the spirits industry over a 10-year period.

Training future leaders

The Pronghorn Spirits Academy Internship Program launched students interested in careers within the spirits industry. Participants engage in structured coaching, networking and mentoring sessions while honing business skills critical for advancement in consumer goods. After a successful inaugural program, further applications were accepted for the summer program.

Hosting events for Black Heritage Month

Diageo Black Heritage Month

For Black Heritage MonthDiageo hosted several events, including a special edition of its Fireside with Founders series spotlighting Pronghorn and Rikki Kelly, founder of Ego Tequila, the first Black woman owned tequila brand to originate out of the state of Texas.

“I am proud of the unique opportunity we have at Diageo to help diversify the spirits industry ecosystem through our work with Pronghorn and its disruptive and sustainable approach to produce long-term impact beyond the industry, in the Black community and culture,” said Pronghorn lead & Co-Chair of Diageo North America African Heritage Employees at Diageo (A.H.E.A.D.) Business Resource Group, Malcolm Ellis.

Commitment to a diverse and equitable future

Diageo's commitment to shape a more diverse and equitable world is core to its Society 2030 ambition. Pronghorn is part of a broader commitment within Diageo North America supporting diverse communities and equal representation that includes:

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