Pronghorn and Distilled Spirits Council Partner to Drive Equal Representation for the Black Community in the Spirits Industry

Leading Spirits Industry Suppliers Commit to Driving Participation from Internships to Executive Level Positions 

ATLANTAMay 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Pronghorn and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) today announced a partnership that will increase hiring from within the Black community among leading spirits suppliers.

According to Pronghorn research, while Black Americans represent 12% of alcohol consumers across categories, they make up just 7.8% of the sector’s labor force and 2% of executives in the industry. To address the employment gap, Pronghorn seeks to gain commitments from suppliers, distributors and retailers to fill 1,800 roles within the industry over the next ten years.

This initiative, led by Pronghorn and in partnership with DISCUS and DISCUS Members, seeks to identify qualified candidates from within the Black community to fill positions from internships to the executive level in the distilled spirits industry and associated roles. Available positions will be posted on and the career pages of participating spirits suppliers.

“With this first of its kind, industry-wide initiative, Pronghorn and DISCUS will correct the imbalance of underrepresented groups to reflect the market we serve.” said Dia Simms, Co-Founder, Pronghorn. “We are focused on granting access and removing barriers that have put Black people and other communities of color at a disadvantage when it comes to ownership, investing or just working within the spirits industry in general.”

Victoria Russell, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Beam Suntory added, “As Chair of the DISCUS DEI Committee, I’m proud and inspired by our collective efforts to increase representation and drive measurable change among distilled spirits suppliers and ensure equitable opportunities for Black talent within the industry.”

“In addition to working hand-in-hand with Pronghorn to achieve equal representation for the Black community, DISCUS has developed educational content, available through the DISCUS Academy, which provides resources and tools to further advance potential talent,” said Chris Swonger, President and CEO, DISCUS and “We are stronger together and will continue to support Pronghorn’s diversity initiatives by keeping pace with the rapid changes in the marketplace.”

In 2021, Diageo North America became an anchor investor in Pronghorn and committed dedicated resources to provide a deep and broad set of industry expertise that will supercharge Pronghorn’s investments in Route to Market strategies, trade and brand marketing, supply chain and manufacturing, among other key disciplines. The company’s participation in Pronghorn is part of a broader program within Diageo North America supporting diverse communities, including $10 million in permanent endowments across 25 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S. and awarding grants in key cities to help hospitality industry businesses adjust to COVID-19 requirements.

“We are committed to driving greater diversity in the spirits industry to help change the complexion of the beverage alcohol industry. As founding partners of Pronghorn we are proud to contribute to the development of Black entrepreneurs and new brands, and it’s exciting to see investments and partnerships like these coming to fruition,” said Debra Crew, President, DIAGEO North America.

Aspiring spirits industry professionals can visit for more information on current and future opportunities and may visit the career pages of participating DISCUS Member suppliers including Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Campari Group, CIE, Constellation Brands, DIAGEO, Edrington, Hotaling, Jägermeister, MGP, MHW, Moet Hennessy USA, Ole Smoky, Pernod Ricard, Remy CointreauWilliam Grant & Sons and Uncle Nearest and Old Dominick.

Pronghorn is a standalone company focused on cultivating the next generation of Black entrepreneurs, executive leaders, and founders within the spirits industry. Through sustainable capital investments, incubation, and recruitment programs, Pronghorn removes barriers and grants access to critical resources that empowers untapped talent and emerging Black businesses to reach their full potential. The organization was co-founded by spirits industry veterans Dia SimmsErin Harris, and Dan Sanborn. The pronghorn is the fastest North American land mammal and can endure speeds for miles. Inspired by our namesake, Pronghorn believes creating real change is a marathon, not a sprint. For more information visit:

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) is the leading voice and advocate for the U.S. spirits industry. For more information visit:

Media Contacts:
Michon Ellis
[email protected]

DISCUS Public Affairs
(202) 682-8840