Diageo has announced the acquisition of a significant majority shareholding in distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand Seedlip.
Launched by Ben Branson in 2015 to solve the dilemma of ‘what to drink when you’re not drinking’, Seedlip’s three variants – Spice 94, Garden 108 and Grove 42 – are now stocked in more than 7,500 bars, restaurants, hotels and retailers in over 25 countries.
In June 2016, UK-based Seedlip announced a minority investment from the Diageo-backed accelerator programme Distill Ventures.
Independently run, Distill Ventures receives funding from Diageo to support entrepreneurs as they launch and grow innovative drinks brands. Seedlip is the first non-alcoholic brand acquired by Diageo through Distill Ventures.
Branson, who is a judge in this year’s World Beverage Innovation Awards, will remain involved as a shareholder and director and will work with Diageo to support Seedlip in the future.
“We want to change the way the world drinks and today’s news is another big step forward to achieving this,” he said.
Ben Branson, who founded Seedlip in 2015, will remain a shareholder and director of the brand.
“Distill Ventures’ and Diageo’s shared belief in our vision has enabled us to build a business that’s ready for scale and I’m excited to continue working with Diageo to lead this movement.”
John Kennedy, president Europe, Turkey and India at Diageo, said: “Seedlip is a game-changing brand in one of the most exciting categories in our industry. Ben is an outstanding entrepreneur and has created a brand that has truly raised the bar for the category. We’re thrilled to continue working with him to grow what we believe will be a global drinks giant of the future.”
Shilen Patel, co-founder and non-alcoholic lead of Distill Ventures, added: “It has been a privilege to collaborate with an entrepreneur as inspiring as Ben in launching Seedlip and we look forward to watching Seedlip continue to thrive around the world.
“Supporting the vision of founders is what Distill Ventures was set up to do, and we’re proud of the impact Ben has had on our industry in such a short period of time.”
In its full-year results published last month, Diageo reported a 6.1% rise in organic net sales, thanks in part to the growth of its gin brands and its positive performance in China.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019