Spearhead Spirits, the Black-owned African spirits group, announced it has raised $3 million. Funded by Pendulum, a strategic investment and advisory platform for founders and leaders of color, the investment marks the group’s entry into the U.S. and will further power the company’s next phase of growth. Following a strong reception to the award-winning brand in European markets, the funding will allow Spearhead to accelerate its global reach, introduce new product lines and scale marketing efforts.
“With a lack of Black-owned African Spirits brands exported globally, we have made it our mission to connect the world to Africa through our spirits,” says CEO and co-founder Chris Frederick. “Our brands not only increase diversity and challenge cultural bias in the sector but being produced on the African continent allows us to show the world what Africans have always known about its culturally and resource rich continent, with products that compete on the world stage in taste and quality, as well as innovation. Pendulum’s investment will allow us to realize this vision globally; we are beyond excited about the partnership and their belief in this mission and the power of the African continent, and we’re excited to share this mission with the USA market.”
Launched in March 2021 by co-founders Chris Frederick and Damola Timeyin, Spearheadis a multi-award-winning business with a growing portfolio of premium brands that include Bayab Gin and Vusa Vodka. After noticing a lack of diverse representation in the spirits category, as well as a beverage that highlights Africa’s heritage and the quality and craft of the continent, Spearhead was born.
The essence of Spearhead’s offering is a line of premium products with true African provenance, representing the best of the continent’s craft and produce that capture the vibrancy and creativity found in all corners of Africa. The spirits are distilled with bountiful local botanicals from across the continent, highlighting unique flavors of many of Africa’s different terrains and countries.
Spearhead will also be joined by a group of strategic partners, including Kenny Burns, lifestyle specialist and long-time spirits industry executive with prior roles at CIROC and Grey Goose and equity stakes in Uncle Nearest and most recently Spearhead, and Donae Burston, founder and CEO of La Fete du Rose, the first entirely Black-owned roseì brand from St. Tropez, France.
“The celebration of the African diaspora is alive and well in the U.S., and we believe this authentic enthusiasm translates meaningfully to the spirits category, where community and storytelling are central to any brand,” says Robbie Robinson, co-founder and CEO, and Helen Wang, senior associate of Pendulum. “We couldn’t be more excited to work with Spearhead and its founders, Chris and Damola, to amplify the story of a truly differentiated platform that aims to embody and honor the diaspora. With this investment, we’re also thrilled to partner with Kenny Burns and Donae Burston, long-time industry veterans, to propel Spearhead’s growth and launch into the U.S. market.”
With 35,000 units sold since launch to market in 2021, Spearhead is a pioneering, Black-owned African spirits company with global reach. Spearhead has amassed accolades and on-trade accounts from London to New York, with a pipeline of new launches to come, including a much-anticipated rum and limited-edition flavored lines later this year.
Spearhead aims to continue to turn the dial towards fairer representation in the drinks market and redefine the industry for good. The group will also continue its investment in community development across South Africa. In partnership with the organization uMthombo, Spearhead will use this funding to help uMthombo get young people off the streets and provide them with life-skills training and a pathway to employment.