Diageo Purchases German Vermouth Brand Belsazar

Diageo today announced the acquisition of Belsazar GmbH, an aperitif from Germany’s Black Forest.

Belsazar was launched by entrepreneurs Maximillian Wagner and Sebastian Brack in 2013. It’s the first company acquired by Diageo through Distill Ventures, an accelerator for new spirits brands.

Belsazar strengthens Diageo’s participation in the aperitif occasion. “As consumers shift towards more casual occasions, demand for lower-ABV cocktails and long drinks are increasing and Belsazar fits this occasion perfectly,” the company says in a release.


Belsazar is made from grapes including, Pinot Noir, from South Baden, at the edge of the Black Forest. It’s infused with herbs, and finished with a dash of fruit brandy. The liquid ages for up to three months, developing a range of aromas. There are four Belsazar varieties: white, red, dry and its signature rosé.

Belsazar was created as an aperitif served with tonic and as part of classic and modern cocktails. Belsazar’s founders Maximilian Wagner and Sebastian Brack will remain actively involved, working with Diageo towards the brand’s future. 


Since launching in 2013, Distill Ventures has grown its portfolio and expanded into North America. Independently run, Distill Ventures receives funding from Diageo, and draws on industry expertise and professional networks to identify, invest in and accelerate aspiring drinks brands.


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