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Industry Veteran Todd Martin Forms New Spirits-Focused Investment Company

November 26, 2014

Drinks industry veteran Todd Martin has launched a new investment company called Spirits Capital Partners (SCP), which will provide equity and industry expertise to emerging spirits brands. The new company will target investments of between $5 million and $25 million, focusing on growth companies with high-margin spirits.

“There’s an opportunity to provide both capital and industry expertise to emerging, high-potential spirits brands—and nobody is dedicated to doing that,” said Martin, who is SCP’s founder and managing partner. “We offer a chance for rising spirits brands to work with a private equity partner who’s focused on distilled spirits and who has the industry expertise and the contacts.”

In forming Spirits Capital Partners, Martin has teamed up with equity partner Vince Hemmer, founder and managing director of private equity firm Silver Pine Partners and a former principal at Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR. In addition to arranging capital, Hemmer will provide expertise on legal matters, infrastructure and other areas that are non-spirits specific.

 

Martin has years of experience as a marketer, senior executive, brand acquisition leader and start-up brand builder in the distilled spirits business. Recruited from Pepsico Restaurants International in the late 1990s by British drinks firm Allied Domecq PLC, he initially served as Allied’s global chief marketing officer before becoming president of Allied Domecq North America from 1998-2001. He was also an executive director on the Allied Domecq board. The Allied spirits portfolio included Sauza, Courvoisier, Canadian Club, Ballantine’s, Maker’s Mark, Kahlua, Beefeater, Stolichnaya, Malibu, Tia Maria and Laphroaig, among others. (Allied Domecq was sold to Pernod Ricard and Fortune Brands in 2005, with those two acquiring companies splitting the portfolio.)

After leaving Allied Domecq, in 2004 Martin founded spirits brand start-up Daucourt Martin Imports, whose key brands included X-Rated Fusion Liqueur, X-Rated ultra-premium vodka and luxury vodka Jean Marc XO. In 2007, Martin sold that portfolio to Gruppo Campari for $40 million.

Martin says his new venture, whose web address is www.spiritscapital.com, is already looking at a few deals. “We’re off and running,” he says. “Our aim is to work with the highest-potential brands that need both capital and expertise.”

 

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