If you love cocktails, but don’t like to get drunk or go outside, there’s a new multi-million-dollar startup looking to plug you into a low-alcohol cocktail membership.
With the promise of reviving “aperitif culture,” Haus secured $4.5 million in seed funding from a handful of venture capital firms, some of which have no presence beyond a Twitter page such as Combine. It also includes Haystack Ventures, Shrug Capital, Coatue, Homebrew, Dream Machine and others. The round attracted many notable Silicon Valley elites, including Yelp co-founder Russell Simmons.
The idea behind the company is that people like to gather, but aging millennials don’t want hangovers. So, Haus found a niche in alcohol distribution where it can ship drinks directly to consumers as long as “the product is made mostly from grapes and is under 24 percent alcohol,” according to an article in TechCrunch.
It was founded by Helena Price Hambrecht and her husband and winemaker Woody Hambrecht. The beverages come in a handful of flavors like Bitter Clove and Citrus Flower, and arrive in spartan, white glass bottles. Helena Price Hambrecht has a background at Uber and a few Silicon Valley design firms.
She dubbed it the “Glossier for alcohol,” referring to the spartan branded makeup company valued at $1.2 billion.
The seed round came with the announcement of a nationwide by-mail membership program. The company will begin distribution in select tech-elite cities with the option of one, two or six bottles a month and entrée into exclusive members-only events. No doubt those events would embody that “aperitif culture” seen in its branding, including elegant party photos of Salvador Dali, Truman Capote and silk rompers.
The convenience market is creeping toward alcohol and an Instagram-worthy brand like Haus will fit right in, but this one is a head scratcher. It seems a lot like investors are pouring capital into something only they want. Is the niche of folks willing to pay a lot more for less really that large? That remains to be seen.
But hey, for the wealthy but now-aging millennials, it’s an option for a yummy drink that makes you feel cool like Truman Capote without actually dying of alcoholism like he famously did.