New York, NY – October 2, 2018 — Distill Ventures, the world’s first independent drinks accelerator devoted to building the best and brightest drinks brands of the future, is pleased to announce the addition of new talent to its growing North American team. Heidi Dillon Otto, a longstanding brand marketer, innovation leader, and entrepreneurial strategist in her own right within in the food and beverage industry, has been named Portfolio Director, North America. Heidi will lead Distill Ventures’ Non-Alcoholic drinks practice in the U.S., an industry first that was introduced globally in July 2017, while spearheading overall brand marketing strategy in the U.S. and serving as an advisor and mentor to the entrepreneurs within the Distill Ventures North America portfolio, particularly those on the West Coast, where she will be based.
With her expertise in Non-Alcoholic drinks and the lifestyle occasions surrounding them, Heidi will continue to grow the company’s North American practice, both by seeking out passionate entrepreneurs creating new and different offerings and in working to grow and nurture Distill Ventures’ existing portfolio of Non-Alcoholic brands. including Seedlip, the world’s first Non-Alcoholic spirit.
Over the course of her branding and marketing career, Heidi has worked with several startups – including Brand New Brands’ incubator, Somersault Snack Company and Wonderbag Global – from inception through launch and in-market success. She also created and managed consumer marketing programs for well-known companies including Clif Bar Inc’s LUNA brand and Starbucks, and served as a brand director of innovation and new categories for organicgirl. In these previous roles, Heidi’s focus ranged from building brand authenticity to leading consumer and trade marketing and product innovation development. Her experience throughout the natural and organic food and beverage industry paired with her roles at startup companies make her an ideal fit to continue to unlock growth for the Distill Ventures portfolio of brands.
“We are thrilled to welcome Heidi to the growing Distill Ventures team here in the U.S.,” said, Gonzalo De La Pezuela, Founder and Managing Director, Distill Ventures North America. “Heidi’s deep marketing, beverage and startup experience will be of great value to the entrepreneurs within our portfolio. Additionally, there is an abundance of opportunity in non-alcohol drinks, a sector Distill Ventures has long thought to be the most exciting and dynamic category in drinks, and we are confident that Heidi’s capabilities will help us increase our growing presence within this category.”
About Distill Ventures
Established in 2013, Distill Ventures is the drinks industry’s first accelerator for new and growing brands whose aim is to support entrepreneurs to develop, scale and sell the drinks brands of the future. Through a combination of cash investment, mentoring support and access to a network of experts, Distill Ventures works with founders to help brands go further, faster. Distill Ventures operates across many drinks categories, and invests at all stages, from pre-launch (or “seed” businesses) through to those requiring significant expansion capital. The accelerator is operated independently, and has a partnership with Diageo, who provides the investment funding, as well as access to their global network of experts.
To date, Distill Ventures has invested more than $75 million in 15+ drinks brands including: Seedlip, the world’s first non-alcohol distilled spirits brand; Stauning, one of Europe’s standout new whiskies from Denmark; Starward, a distinctive Australian whisky, exclusively matured in Australian wine barrels; Belsazar, a German aperitif that exited into the Diageo portfolio in early 2018; and Westward, a leading, award-winning American Single Malt whiskey inspired by the Pacific Northwest’s craft beer traditions. Further information on Distill Ventures and details on how acceleration works for drinks brands is available at www.distillventures.com.