L-R: Shane Barrington, Cameron Low, Ben Zervaas, Jess Conti, George Grigoriadis and Danny Grant

80Proof Australia has announced it has received backing from Cadmon Ventures, a full service corporate advisory and investment banking firm.

The equity raising deal, which recently settled for an undisclosed amount, will allow 80Proof to build out existing product lines both domestically and internationally, as well as increase staff numbers, marketing efforts and product development with large new strategic partners.

This is the only outside investment that 80Proof has received. It will help the company expand on the explosive success it has seen in the past year with what it describes as ‘innovative and forward-thinking’ alcohol products.

Founded in Melbourne by nightclub owners Jess Conti, Danny Grant and Georgie Grigoriadis in 2021, 80Proof’s journey began with the launch of Wet Pussy Shot, a pre-made bottled version of the cranberry-flavoured shot common throughout Australian clubs. Since then, the company has expanded its portfolio with two further bottled shots – sour apple-flavoured Sour Puss, and passionfruit and vanilla-flavoured Pawn Star. The line has been a viral sensation, contributing to serious social media attention and revenue growth for 80Proof.

Grigoriadis and Grant said when they originally took the product to peers in the industry, there was an overwhelming amount of support.

“We were shocked but excited. Then we thought if we’ve had this much of an impact on these venues, we wondered what the impact in bottle shops would be like,” they said.

In mid-2021, 80Proof acquired Boujee Wines and simultaneously brought its creator, Shane Barrington, on board as a strategic partner. Barrington, an industry veteran who also co-founded online bottle shop and alcohol delivery service Tipple, has been focused on expanding 80Proof’s digital footprint and off-premise growth ever since, which started to capture the attention of venture capitalist (VC) firms Australia-wide.

Barrington said: “We had people reaching out everywhere. It was amazing, we sat down with a few VC groups to discuss our plan for the future of our company, the brand and how they thought they could contribute, ‘til finally it just clicked.”

As part of the deal, Cadmon Director, Ben Zervaas, will be joining the 80Proof board as a Non-executive Director.

“When we met the team at 80Proof we knew that their vision for the company was beyond the success of their first pre-made shot products,” Zervaas said.

“The difference between the team here as active promoters, nightclub and bottle shop owners is that they truly understand how and why these audiences buy, which is something that is lost in a lot of big corporates. We are really thrilled with the direction the team is heading and look forward to continuing to support their future growth.”

The 80Proof team has already hinted that 2022 will see some exciting developments, with Grigoriadis saying: “Watch this space!”

Grant added: “We are working on some really great synergies, concepts and products and are excited with our new partners to release these to the public in 2022.”

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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