California-based Haus has raised $4.5 million in seed funding for its direct-to-consumer approach to spirits that promises healthier ingredients, less alcohol, and a more transparent distribution process. The round included over 10 funds and 100 individual members contributing, according to TechCrunch, and included contributions from Haystack Ventures, Shrug Capital, Resolute Venture Partners, and Work Life Ventures, among others.
Haus, which was founded by married couple Helena Price Hambrecht and Woody Hambrecht, makes a low alcohol by volume (ABV) apéritif it sells directly to consumers online. The company also offers an alcohol subscription service that functions much like a traditional wine club — members pay a monthly fee and receive discounted bottles of spirits delivered directly to their door. Members can receive one bottle per month for $35, two for $63, or six for $144.
Where Haus differs from other online alcohol services is in the products it offers. The founders were inspired to start Haus in order to offer a more health-conscious alcohol product than what one normally finds in-store and via subscription clubs. To that end, the company’s apéritif drink uses only natural ingredients and has a lower ABV than many spirits: 15 percent compared to the 35 to 45 percent found in most regular spirits.
That lower ABV content also allows Haus to ship their product directly to consumers in certain states, according to TechCrunch: “Woody, an experienced winemaker, identified a loophole that allows distributors to ship alcohol direct-to-consumer if the product is made mostly from grapes and is under 24% alcohol.”
At present, the apéritif concept is less popular in the U.S. than hard liquor or wine, but the lighter alcohol content speaks to the growing number of consumers interested in low- or no-alcohol beverages. And with more traditional services like Thirstie and Drizly already popular in the U.S., Haus’ emphasis on flavor and wellness could very well help it stand out from other alcohol delivery brands.