Less than a year after announcing that it would be ceasing operations due to losing funding, Haus, the low-alcohol spirits company that was a social media darling, has been acquired and is being relaunched. At its heyday, the startup beverage company, founded in 2019 in Sonoma County, was held up as the poster child for a fresh new way to launch an alcohol brand.
Using approximately $17 million in funds from venture capitalists and other investors, Haus quickly grabbed headlines. Its 18% ABV low-alcoholic beverage lineup, packaged in elegant containers with its name blazed across its front, started appearing on various social media feeds, often with fresh-faced millennials sipping drinks made with the aperitif in appropriately attractive settings.
The brand’s marketing was successful, and when the pandemic hit, its direct-to-consumer (DTC) setup allowed it to thrive. As one of the pioneers in the low- to no-alcohol movement, one that continues to expand, its outlook was bright.
So, when co-founder Helena Price Hambrecht announced that Constellation Brands
Enter The Naked Market, a CPH Holding Company focusing on bringing consumers healthy food and beverage options. As the owners of the successful Rob’s Backstage Popcorn and Flock Foods, the company purchased Haus in Q2 to add to its portfolio and is doing a complete relaunch. The purchase of Haus is the first acquisition for The Naked Market. All their other brands were launched in-house. With a tagline of “CPG for Millennials, by Millennials,” the founders of The Naked Market felt they couldn’t pass on the opportunity to retain a brand that had built such connections.
“It’s incredibly difficult to build an iconic brand in the food and beverage space, but Haus did so and in short order,” says The Naked Market’s CEO and co-founder, Harrison Fugman. “Our goal in acquiring Haus is to bring an outstanding brand back to market and build off of the strong community it created, with an increased focus on unit economics.”
As a part of the purchase, The Naked Market owns Haus’s recipes, website, and all social media feeds, including their Instagram channel, with over 61K followers. They are using those assets to announce the DTC relaunch of Haus with three of the brand’s most popular SKUs (Citrus Flower, Pomegranate Rosemary, and Grapefruit Jalapeño) available starting today.
To ensure that the quality matches expectations, they have brought in Sonoma winemaker Micah Wirth to lead production and R&D efforts. Part of his duties will be to help Haus move into other categories as time progresses, something that The Naked Market said is a high priority.
“We believe that Haus has the opportunity to become a household name. One that conveys quality and craftsmanship,” says Alex Kost, the COO and co-founder of The Naked Market. “In the low-alc space, consumers are looking for variety, and Haus can give that to them.”
As part of the takeover, The Naked Market plans to give 5% of the company back to Haus’s previous employees, founders, and investors. It is a show of good faith and goodwill that they hope will convey their appreciation for the hard work already put into building up the Haus name.
Only time will tell if Haus can recapture the buzz that once surrounded the brand. Many others have entered the space they helped create. But, they have a strong starting point that its new owners hope to use once again to drive it to the lead in an emerging category.