First Bev invests in innovative and transformational beverage brands and they’ve just announced their latest partnership in the tequila/mezcal space. First Bev in partnership with Cascade Spirits brand has announced a new partnership with GEM&BOLT mezcal, a premium artisanal mezcal uniquely distilled with damiana.
How hot is the tequila and mezcal spirits category? In short, hot, even in times of a global pandemic. According to the DISCUS 2021 Economic Briefing Mezcal volumes were up 17.7% to 607,000 cases and revenues were up 17.7% to $124 million in 2020.
Cascade Spirits will now lead GEM&BOLT’s operations and accounting functions, relocating the company’s U.S. operations hub to Portland, Oregon, and will be collaborating on sales, marketing and innovation efforts.
“We have been looking forward to this partnership,” said Chris Joseph, CEO of Cascade Spirits. “GEM&BOLT is a unique and welcome addition to our portfolio. It is a brand we have admired with an opportunity to transcend the mezcal market with its iconic brand and unique positioning. They have experienced explosive growth to date, and we are excited to accelerate their business with our resources.”
“Chris and the Cascade Spirits team have created delicious products and meaningful brands, and their proven track record of growing spirits brands, building a strong connection with consumers, and delivering a true sense of community that is so critical to our own GEM&BOLT ethos,” said co-founder Elliott Coon. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them on the next phase of the GEM&BOLT Mezcal journey.”
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“Joining forces with Cascade perfectly positions us to build upon and accelerate the momentum we brought into 2020,” said John Karem, GEM&BOLT CEO. “The multiple route-to-market synergies combined with Cascade’s superior execution at the account level across channels will lead to a substantial enhancement in getting our brand in front of consumers.”
GEM&BOLT is a female-founded business launched in 2016 by co-founders Elliott Coon and AdrinAdrina. It is one of the leading mezcal brands in the U.S., using the traditional herb damiana during its distillation process with a 4th generation master distiller in Oaxaca, Mexico. Damiana, a flowering bush native to Mexico, has been long-revered by the Maya and Aztec for its mood-elevating properties and adds a deep complexity to the spirit. The brand is currently available in California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Mexico. Cascade Spirits plans to drive sales in current markets and expand the brand into the Oregon market.
In addition to the partnership, Chris will join the GEM&BOLT Board of Directors alongside existing investor First Bev, John Esposito (former President and CEO of Bacardi, Stoli USA and High West Distillery), and GEM&BOLT co-founder Elliott Coon.
Financial details of the new partnership were not released.
What is Damiana?
According to the folks at GEM&BOLT damiana is what makes their Mezcal unique. So what exactly is damiana? Here is how the folks at GEM&BOLT explain what damiana is and how its mystical powers make their mezcal so special.
Species: Diffusa, Aphrodisiacas
Common Names: Damiana, Damiane, Oreganillo, The Bourrique, Mexican Damiana, Mexican Holly, Damiana De Guerrero
Parts Used: Aerial Parts, Leaves
Origins + Uses – Damiana is a leafy desert shrub, indigenous to central america, mexico, southern texas & baja california sur. It has been grown and traded across mesoamerica for thousands of years.
In the realm of plant medicine it is prescribed as a natural anti-depressant, a heart opener, and a mood regulator.
Damiana was recorded to be used as an aphrodisiac in the ancient mayan civilization, and noted for a delicious “giddiness and loss of balance,” by an early spanish missionary when discovering the mexican indigenous made a drink from the damiana leaves, added sugar, and drank it for its purported power to enhance lovemaking.
Damiana was first recorded with aphrodisiac effects in scientific literature over 100 years ago.
From the Chinese medicinal perspective, damiana is considered an overall organ tonic as well as a blood cleanser. Clear flowing “chi” & pathways allow for more fluid communication between the organs of the body. All of these are believed to impart a general feeling of love, well being, and open-hearted spiritedness.