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Pronghorn Aims to Add Diversity to the Spirits Industry

When people think of the spirits industry, many think of the moments that are created after consuming a drink from a wide variety of spirits. We hardly ever think about the hard work that goes into creating those brands nor the faces behind them.

Although Black Americans represent 12% of the spirits industry consumer base, they only make up about 8% of the labor force, 2% of the executives, and an even smaller percentage of ownership. Closing these gaps are necessary and will change the landscape of the spirits industry. Pronghorn is a company that is dedicated to helping usher in this change by bringing more diversity to the industry in terms of Black-owned spirits brands. The independent company is dedicated its existence to expanding diversity within the spirits industry. To accomplish this, it will cultivate and invest in the next generation of Black founders, executives, and entrepreneurs by helping them to grow in a sustainable and scalable way.

We spoke with Steven Brown, Vice President of finance at Pronghorn, who leads the financial operations for this organization. His primary responsibility is developing long-term strategies, investment plans, and operational targets, but also partnering with the founders that they invest in to help them develop their plans to move forward.

When it comes to the success of Black spirits brands or brands in general, access to capital has been a major hindrance and what most would consider a systemic bias towards Black-owned brands. It has stifled Black-owned brands in the past and much hasn't changed today. Pronghorn, along with the capital they have access to, hopes to remove some of those systemic biases and change the landscape of the industry. “Pronghorn's focus is granting that access and removing those barriers that have been put on people, black people and people of color. We just want to change the disadvantages when it comes to ownership and when it comes to investing, and just working in the overall industry,” says Brown.

Pronghorn's long-term goal is to regenerate legacy wealth by investing in Black founders, executives, and entrepreneurs within the spirits industry, through recruitment, retention, education, and executive development. It will achieve that goal by providing selected brands and founders access to unparalleled industry and commercial resources and then supercharging more than 1,800 program participants with internships, mentorships, apprenticeships, and access to manufacturers, distributors, and grant funds.

Brown describes supercharging as, “giving people access to industry-leading people like myself and other members of the team and helping them to scale their business in a way that gets them to the place that they want to be, but also helping them become more respected, well branded, and a scalable business”. When investing in the Black-owned brands, they’re looking at tapping into the entrepreneurial mindset, building relationships with the spirits that are black-founded or owned, and making an impact throughout urban communities across America and their approach to transforming the industry.

It's an ideal time to recognize the untapped potential of minorities within the spirits industry. Creating initiatives such as Pronghorn allows more opportunities for inclusion and presence behind scenes and on the front line of the spirits industry. If you know of a Black-owned spirits brand that could benefit from a resource like Pronghorn share this information.

For more information or to apply check out Pronghorn at

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