MAB Capital Management, a closely held private equity group led by entrepreneur Marc Bushala, announced today the launch of Liquid Asset Brands Innovation Fund I. The $50 million fund will make equity investments of $3 million - $10 million in early stage beverage businesses and take an active role in helping accelerate the growth of the brands in its portfolio.
The announcement of the Liquid Asset Brands Innovation Fund I comes just days after the announced sale of Louisville-based Angel’s Share Brands LLC (Angel’s Envy™ Bourbon and Angel’s Envy™ Rye) to Bacardi Limited for an undisclosed amount. Bushala was a founding partner, President & CEO of Angel’s Share Brands and helped shepherd Angel’s Envy™ into one of the top ten fastest growing super-premium bourbons in the United States.
“There are great opportunities for investment in dynamic and innovative businesses in the beverage sector. Most early stage beverage businesses would greatly benefit by having value-added capital to help accelerate the growth of their brands,” said Bushala. “Liquid Asset Brands brings a wealth of expertise across all disciplines vital to the success of a young brand, including strategy, finance, marketing, sales, distribution and procurement. We have assembled an All-Star team of industry veterans to invest behind brands with great promise and help them achieve their full potential.”
“The entrepreneurial spirit in the beverage sector is thriving, but it takes more than just the will to succeed to break through,” said Tom Flocco, former CEO of Beam Global Spirits & Wine (now Beam Suntory). “Many great products don’t survive because they are either under-capitalized or under-served in one or more critical aspects of the business. You can have a great idea, but if you can’t get distribution, or you do not have the scale to support its growth, it’s an uphill battle.”
“There is a significant opportunity for a fund to create new brands, help expand interesting fledgling brands and support young leadership in the spirits business,” said Mark Montgomery, who’s company FLO.co worked closely with superstar Kenny Chesney in launching his Blue Chair Bay rum business, which set a new record as the fastest growing new company spirits launch in the history of the business. “Marc and his team have clearly established a track record for creating value, and this is the next logical step for him as a leader in the beverage sector.”
Liquid Asset Brands also intends to create and launch its own brands and is planning to open a craft distillery in downtown Chicago in 2015. The Company is in discussions with several strategic partners through the entire beverage value chain, from production and bottling to sale and distribution. “We are seeing some really exciting businesses with great entrepreneurs at the helm,” said Bushala. “I look forward to announcing our first investments very soon.”