United Spirits Limited (Diageo India) has announced an investment of ₹31.5 crore to acquire a strategic minority stake in Nao Spirits & Beverages Private Limited (Nao Spirits). Once the investment is made, Diageo India will hold 22.5% of the company‘s share capital on a fully diluted basis, and a call option to acquire the remaining shares according to pre-established principles.
Nao Spirits was launched in 2016 by Anand Virmani, with the dream of bringing a plant-infused Indian gin to the world, with brands like ‘Greater Than’ and ‘Hapusa’. In a statement, Diageo India said Greater Than, India’s first craft gin, is made with nine medicinal plants from India and around the world, and is the only London Dry Gin in South Asia recognized by the Gin Guild, UK. Hapusa luxury gin is one of the few handcrafted gins in the world to be made with filled Himalayan juniper and unique botanicals such as fresh turmeric, Gondhoraj bark and raw mango, originating from India , to create a bold, earthy gin, the company added.
Diageo India said Nao Spirits presented it with an opportunity to strengthen its stake in India’s fast-growing premium gin segment. As consumers turn to experimentation, repertoire and casual drinking occasions, demand for local yet authentic craft brands is growing, the company added, and said Nao Spirits’ brands are well positioned to meet these trends.
Hina Nagarajan, MD and CEO, Diageo India, commented: “ AAs a company built from founder-led brands, we are excited to take our first step in India to support bold and innovative entrepreneurs. Over the past three years, the Indian market has witnessed the emergence of several craft gin players and Nao Spirits has been a game changer in the category. Our team is deeply committed to supporting Anand Virmani, Aparajita Ninan & Abhinav Rajput, who will continue to run the business, for delivering Nao’s vision to place Indian craft gin among the world’s most coveted craft spirits .”
Anand Virmani, Co-Founder and CEO of Nao Spirits & Beverages, said, “We are thrilled to partner with a company like Diageo that has been supporting craft spirits brands. This investment is a validation of the hard work, creativity, courage and passion of our team. As we seek to chart the next phase of growth for Nao Spirits, Diageo India’s investment will help us scale our business, improve efficiency and gain access to mentorship from an industry leader, which will be extremely valuable. The investment will be financed from internal cash resources of Diageo India.
March 13, 2022