Female Founders Venture Fund

The Tasting Room and Distillery are abuzz these days, and not only because it’s the height of a very busy summer. This week we were excited to announce a new partnership that will help us bring Montanya Rums to more people, across the country and around the world. Montanya Distillers is one of the first distilleries to receive funding through the Focus on Female Founders venture fund from Constellation Brands, Inc.

Constellation’s corporate venture capital group invests in premium alcohol companies, and intends to use this new fund to invest $100 million in female-founded or female-led beverage alcohol businesses by 2028. We’re so honored to receive this investment and be recognized as a company that not only makes premium rum, but has created a “disruptive and interesting” brand with an inclusive culture.

Founder and owner Karen Hoskin enjoying Montanya Oro.

Founder and owner Karen Hoskin enjoying Montanya Oro.

From our earliest days in Silverton, Colorado, our founder and owner Karen Hoskin set out to build an international rum brand with an impact. If you’ve met her, you won’t be surprised to learn that this grew in part from her love of a good challenge. But she also wanted to build a business that could be a force for good—a company that would support her local community, enable her employees to thrive, and help set new standards for environmental sustainability and gender diversity in the spirits industry.

Thanks to her drive, and that of her husband and co-founder Brice and a host of amazing staff, Montanya Distillers is well on its way to having that kind of impact. We ship rum to 44 states, Canada and Europe. We support the arts, outdoor recreation, and other important initiatives in our community of Crested Butte, Colorado. And we’ve been so excited to see our employees purchase homes and support families. Karen has also been helping to shape national and international conversations about stewardship of the environment and growing gender diversity in the workplace. Her unrelenting commitment to these principles even motivated Karen and Brice to move their family and business to Crested Butte in 2011.

As with any industry, there are hurdles to clear in order to continue that growth and ramp up our impact. Increasing production and introducing new people to Montanya rums takes up-front capital and the know-how to navigate the world of sales and distribution. Yet historically, women have received only 2 percent of venture capital despite earning better results than male business owners. Constellation is the first such company to recognize these hurdles and create a fund specifically to support women founders like Karen.

The Crested Butte Tasting Room and Distillery.

The Crested Butte Tasting Room and Distillery.

We are so fortunate to have Constellation as a strategic partner. The company will provide much-needed investment capital straight into the business, allowing us to increase production and expand distribution. We’ll also benefit from Constellation’s wisdom and expertise in areas that have always vexed us, like sales and distribution. The company has a minority stake in Montanya, so Karen retains majority control.

In so many ways, this partnership has been made possible by our previous successes—and we know we owe a lot of that to you, the biggest fans of our rum. We want to assure you that our values remain the same. Our status as a B Corp is unchanged, and we are as committed as ever to continuing the practices that helped us earn that certification. We will also remain in Crested Butte, where the character of our operations and our Elk Avenue Tasting Room will remain intact. And when we expand distilling, we’ll do so locally. The biggest change you’ll notice is an increased availability of the rums you love.

And perhaps most importantly, we are all more energized than ever about Montanya and look forward to seeing where the next phase of this journey will take us.

Karen and the Montanya Distillers crew