Meet The Spirits Industry Vets Helping The Black Community Generate $2B In Economic Value In The U.S
By Shanique Yates
Diageo is on a mission to diversify the spirits industry!
According to a press release, the global leader in beverage alcohol has teamed up with industry veterans Dia Simms and Erin Harris in order to build an inclusive and diverse economic initiative with the goal of creating the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs, executive leaders, and founders in both a sustainable and scalable way.
Pronghorn is the name of the all-new partnership and it will create a standalone business with a primary focus on expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion within the spirits industry.
“Diversifying the industry accelerates innovation and competitiveness, and our strategic approach to recruit, retain and advance the Black community and communities of color within the industry alongside Diageo North America couldn’t be more necessary and timely,” said Pronghorn co-founder, Erin Harris in a statement. “We understand first-hand the importance of being motivated and the critical need for ownership and participation at every level of the category.”
A press release also reveals that while the Black community represents 12 percent of consumers across the U.S. beverage alcohol category, their representation within the industry through the employment and ownership perspectives are few and far between.
“It’s important that the Black community is represented on both sides of the bar, from brand creation to boardrooms and everywhere in between,” continued Dia Simms, Pronghorn co-founder, in the statement. “We’re proud to partner with Diageo to make sure that the Black community has a seat at the table. And anywhere there isn’t enough room at the table we’ll build a bigger table.”
As a founding partner of the initiative, Diageo will address inequities within the industry and the lack of equitable representation among the Black community in the spirits industry by encouraging entrepreneurship, recruitment, and retention.
“We’re honored to work alongside industry veterans and visionaries as they work to create a blueprint to effectively diversify an entire industry,” said Debra Crew, President, Diageo North America. “We recognize that the Black community within the category has been underrepresented and there are few sources of funding available. Our aim is to swiftly fuel change in the right direction with the qualified and motivated guidance of the creators of Pronghorn.”
Pronghorn’s latest initiatives fall right in line with Diageo’s most recent announcement of Society 2030: Spirit of Progress, a global 10-year action plan to help create a more inclusive and sustainable world.