View this email in your browser

Hi there

Welcome to the 57th edition of The Look Back. This week we’re looking at a major deal in b2b alcohol e-commerce, AB InBev’s Super Bowl slate, and more.

Last week’s most popular link was: No- and Low-Alcohol in Key Global Markets Reaches Almost US$10 Billion in Value (IWSR)

Let’s dive in. 

- Josh, VinePair co-founder

#1 - Provi Acquires SevenFifty

The Headline: “Provi, SevenFifty Join Forces to Create Expanded B2B Marketplace”
The Source: Press Release
What You Need To Know:
Provi and SevenFifty announced today they are joining forces to create a unified and expanded marketplace for the beverage alcohol industry. The deal brings together two alcohol e-commerce companies with a shared focus on digital transformation and will provide a robust e-commerce marketplace and distributor tool-kit, aiming to streamline operations for licensed retailers, distributors and their sales representatives.

"We are thrilled to start working with Aaron, Gianfranco and the entire SevenFifty team," said Taylor Katzman, CEO, Provi. "SevenFifty has spent the last decade thoughtfully building innovative tools for distributor sales reps, while creating a highly detailed wine and spirits content database. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and delivering the best user experience for licensed retailers and distributor sales reps throughout the industry."

Provi's online marketplace streamlines the beverage ordering process between retailers and distributors via its robust communication system. Provi allows restaurants, bars and stores to order all their beverages in one place, saving retail establishments an average of 20 staff hours per month. In 2021, Provi announced that 10 percent of licensed retailers in the U.S. are now utilizing its e-commerce marketplace. The company has received a total of $125 million in funding and, earlier in 2021, was valued at $750 million.
Our Take: That last sentence tells the story here. Both companies set out to digitize the archaic b2b ordering systems for alcohol. SevenFifty was founded back in 2011, and per Crunchbase had raised $31.5 million. The majority of that funding came in a B round in May 2021. Provi came along five years later. Despite the head start, Provi won the money race to scale up. Again, per Crunchbase, Provi raised:
  • An unspecified seed round in 2016
  • A $1.4M seed round in 2016
  • A $3.5M seed round in 2018
  • A $20M Series A in 2020
  • A $25M Series B in February 2021
  • A $75M Series C in September 2021 at a $750M valuation
To recap, by the time of SevenFifty’s $23M Series B round in May 2021, Provi, fresh off a $25M Series B of its own, had raised around $50M in total. In September Orivu raised another $75M. And now Provi is acquiring SevenFifty, less than half a year later.

Shanken News Daily (possibly paywall) sat down with Provi CEO Taylor Katzman and SevenFifty CEO Aaron Sherman to discuss the deal:
SND: What’s the rationale behind the combination of Provi and SevenFifty?

Katzman: Aaron and his team have been at it the last 10 years building best-in-class distributor tools alongside the best-in-class catalog for wine and spirits. SevenFifty brings a content database where retailers can search more granularly, look at ratings from publications like Wine Spectator, and further explore all the products offered by distributors in their market. When you combine that with our retailer experience, we can create a much better shopping and ordering experience for the retail tier, and it’s a compelling proposition. The most important thing is thinking about the decision-makers—both the retailer and sales reps—bringing them together and expanding the platform.

SND: Is there significant overlap between the distributors Provi and SevenFifty work with?

Katzman: The majority of our customers on the distributor side overlap, but SevenFifty, being around for 10 years, has a much greater distributor audience and is in more markets. There’s an audience of retailers that wants to go to a wholly owned distributor e-commerce site or website, like Breakthru Now for example, and there’s also an audience that goes to a marketplace like ours. By having both, it gives the distributor a 100% chance to be where the decision-maker is, and it ends up being very complementary.

If you've been getting value out of VP Pro, we'd love for you to share a signup link with your friends and colleagues. 

Just copy and paste your unique link and share it in an email, on Twitter, Linkedin, or wherever you like. Thanks for spreading the word!

Your referral link:

If you're having any trouble with the link, drop us a line at And you can always track the status of your referrals @

#2 - AB InBev’s Super Bowl Plans

The Headline: “These Are the 6 Anheuser-Busch Brands You’ll See Ads for During Super Bowl LVI”
The Source: VinePair
What You Need To Know:
On Jan. 26, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced their advertisement roster for NBC’s Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13., featuring not only classic brands but a wide variety of new beverages including their first ever zero-carb beer, ready-to-drink cocktails, and hard seltzers. According to their press release, Anheuser-Busch bought four minutes of advertising time for six different brands.

“As we look to this year’s Super Bowl, we are excited to illustrate how Anheuser-Busch is accelerating its transformation and further adapting to today’s consumers,” Benoit Garbe, chief marketing officer for Anheuser-Busch, said in the press release. “For this year’s game, our brands will deliver content that is authentic to their purpose and centered on consumer truths — whether that be through creative that reminds viewers to find joy or content that celebrates the resilience of the American spirit.”

Featured in the lineup are not only game day mainstays — such as classic Budweiser, Michelob Ultra, and Michelob Ultra Organic Hard Seltzers — but a wide range of new players on the field. One TV spot will go to Bud Light Hard Seltzer Hard Sodas, its latest hard seltzer variety pack, which only just hit shelves on Jan. 3., boasting its “loudest flavors ever.” Cutwater Spirits ready-to-drink cocktails will have another spot this year as one of the company’s fastest growing brands. Anheuser-Busch will also be featuring its soon-to-be released Bud Light NEXT, its first zero-carb beer.

Seemingly Bud Light NEXT and the Hard Seltzer Hard Sodas will be carrying the torch from the original Bud Light, which will not have its own advertisement this year. According to Variety, last year for Super Bowl LV, Anheuser-Busch spent $53 million on ads during the CBS broadcast, accounting for 11 percent of overall revenue from the game.
Reportedly, NBC has been charging between $5.8 and $6.5 million for 30-second slots for Super Bowl LVI.
Explore More: We’ll be diving into the nuts and bolts of how AB InBev owns Super Bowl Sunday with a Dave Infante story at VP Pro in the days leading up to the game. Until then, here’s some analysis worth your time:
  • The Scoop on A-B’s Super Bowl Strategy (Beer Business Daily) (paywall) - An excerpted interview with Benoit Garbe, the chief marketing officer at Anheuser-Busch
  • Budweiser Returns to Super Bowl, But Anheuser-Busch Won’t Just Serve Beer (Variety)
  • Boston Beer’s Regional Super Bowl Ad Built Around Wicked IPA Variety Pack; A-B Reveals Super Bowl Lineup (Brewbound) (paywall) - Details about the ads Boston Beer will run in local markets as well as some that AB InBev will as well in addition to their national spots
  • Budweiser returns to the Super Bowl and new Bud Light 'Next' makes a metaverse play (AdAge) (paywall)

#3 - Catching Up With The Latest BrewDog Mess

The Headline: “Trying craft beer's biggest cult of personality in the court of public opinion”
The Source: Fingers
What You Need To Know:
On Monday afternoon, BBC Scotland aired an investigation into BrewDog, the largest craft brewery in Europe and a top-50 producer here in the U.S. It was a fairly damning indictment of the Scottish firm’s “punk” posturing, financial finagling, and apparent greenwashing, and drilled into the allegedly predatory and sexually inappropriate workplace behavior of BrewDog’s charismatic CEO and cofounder James Watt.

I already wrote a big thing with a bunch of context on Friday, so I won’t do the whole wind-up again. But my chief takeaway from the 60min feature documentary1 is that absent a worker-led mechanism—i.e., a labor union—to force companies like BrewDog to actually fulfill their stated goals of improving their toxic workplaces, any comeuppance for alleged transgressions will be meted out in the court of public opinion. And that means shit is going to get messy.

It’s not that the BBC’s documentary wasn’t compelling. The Disclosure team obtained several key records that underpinned some of its reporting—mash bills for the hundreds of kegs that BrewDog allegedly shipped to the US from the UK illegally in 2016, screenshots of grim results from an internal 2019 employee survey, etc. The reporters also dug into the Equity for Punks offering materials to lay out the dubious investment deal BrewDog offers its diehard fans.2 Where there wasn’t documentation to go on, they corroborated allegations of harassment with oodles of former employees—many named and on-camera—in a way that I found very credible.

The documentary marshaled all that reporting into a convincing case that Watt, the telegenic BrewDog frontman, is at the root of the company’s rot.
For more details, head over to Fingers, which is a Substack published by VinePair Writer at Large Dave Infante (It’s good, and you should subscribe!). Dave has also published a couple of pieces for VP Pro about BrewDog that you may have missed:

#4 - One Good (OpenTable) Tweet

Via @BrewersStats

Bonus Reads:

And that’s a wrap. We hope you found this newsletter informative and useful. Whether you did or didn’t, we’d love to know why at

Copyright © 2020 VinePair, All rights reserved. 

Want to change how you receive VinePair emails?
Update your Preferences or Permanently Unsubscribe from all communication and newsletters from VinePair.

Our mailing address is: 
244 5th Avenue
11th Floor
New York, New York  10001