CBD-infused gin startup sells for seven-figure sum
Sally Wynter founded Muhu Spirits on just £1,300 in September 2019. Five months later she sold the company for an undisclosed sum to Next Frontier Brands.
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Though the deal was agreed in February 2020 and finalised six months later, it is only now that Wynter, now 27, has shared her story. In a post from 13 May shared across her social media, she announced that her “first ever business” had been acquired more than a year earlier.
Citing her gender, lack of role models and financial backers, Wynter told her more than 26,000 LinkedIn followers to “never let someone tell you that you can’t”.
The conditions in the early days of the business were far from ideal. In the post, Wynter mentions “60+ hour unpaid working weeks”, “Covid” and “dropped pallets of gin”. Learning via YouTube tutorials, she developed a recipe for the botanicals to use to complement the CBD, settling on sweet hibiscus as the dominant flavour. The CBD, extracted from organic hemp, is flavourless.
Reaching out to investors was a “stepping stone” for Wynter, as she told The Times. However, though the offer to be bought out by new owners has changed her life, there is a cautionary tale to be taken from it. “No matter the plan or the discussions you have, when you don’t have ownership you lose control”, she warns.
Indeed, though 30,000 bottles of Muhu were sold, supply issues exacerbated by the pandemic forced Next Frontier Brands, headquarter in Colorado, to alter the recipe. It has not come back to market. The Muhu Instagram page has been inactive for over a year. db has reached out to Next Frontier Brands to ascertain the likelihood of the product being made available again.
Wynter no longer works with Next Frontier Brands. At present, she is advising Ikó Drinks, a startup producing canned maté-based drinks. She has also said that her next venture will be announced shortly.
CBD drinks are increasing in popularity. In February of this year, celebrity-backed Cann was approved from expansion into Canada, with THC-infused syrups for drinks also in development.