Haus, an eCommerce startup that creates, bottles and ships apéritifs directly to consumers, announced a $4.5 million seed round and launched a membership program on Thursday (Jan. 30), according to a press release.
It’s currently free to join the Haus Membership club, which gives members access to discounts, exclusive flavors, and members-only events. Haus members can also choose between three monthly bottle allotments that range in cost from $35 (for on bottle per month) to $144 (six bottles per month).
Haus will use the $4.5 million funding to expand its apéritif offerings, launch wholesale in five cities and start an editorial platform.
Coatue, Combine, Dream Machine, Haystack Ventures, Homebrew, Shrug Capital, Resolute Venture Partners and Work Life Ventures, among others, all participated in the seed round.
Reacting to pushback from millennials frustrated with the ubiquity of expensive, traditional alcoholic drinks at professional and personal gatherings, Helena Price Hambrecht and husband Woody Hambrecht created Haus in June 2019.
The company’s signature apéritifs feature 15 percent ABV (alcohol by volume). Wines usually have 11.6 percent alcohol while many hard liquors have up to 45 percent alcohol.
Selling alcohol is already a byzantine, heavily regulated industry, and subscription delivery services have already caused disruption.
The couple learned that producers can ship directly to consumers if their alcohol product is comprised of grapes and the alcohol content is under 24 percent. They can distribute directly to member homes and build a strategic consumer database with demographics their much larger competitors lack.
“Antiquated liquor laws have stunted innovation in the spirits space since prohibition, despite the fact that today’s drinkers are desperate for something different,” Price Hambrecht told TechCrunch. “Selling directly to the drinker means we can build relationships with our customers, iterate quickly based on their feedback and ultimately create the products they want.”
The couple will advocate for aperitifs as an alternative to wine and liquor drinkers, hoping a trendy beverage and interactive community, online and off, will grow sales.