Seedlip now has a presence in more than 25 countries.
Distill Ventures, the Diageo-backed and funded accelerator programme for entrepreneurs launching and scaling innovative drinks brands, has invested in a brand of non-alcoholic distilled spirits for the first time.
Seedlip will benefit from the same mentoring and support as other Distill Ventures portfolio companies while it builds its own sales and marketing activities and looks to expand beyond the UK. The brand was created by entrepreneur Ben Branson to solve the dilemma of what to drink when you’re not drinking alcohol, as FoodBev first explained back in October 2015.
The drink combines six individually distilled barks, spices and citrus peels to create an adult and complex blend best sipped long with tonic or short with brine as a non-alcoholic martini.
Talking about the investment from Distill Ventures, Branson said: “Distill Ventures has been great in giving me the support and freedom to develop Seedlip in just the way I want. With Seedlip, we’re effectively developing a new drinks category, appealing to consumers looking for a refined alternative to alcohol. This really was pioneering work and partnering with Distill Ventures has helped me understand the industry, shape the product I dreamed of, and launch it in the right way.”
Seedlip combines various barks, spices and citrus peels before distilling them in copper pots – as this photo alludes.
Helen Michels, global innovation director, futures team for Diageo, said: “We are hugely excited to confirm our investment, through Distill Ventures, in Seedlip, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. Seedlip is a company of exceptional quality with a visionary founder offering a ‘sophisticated alternative’ to alcoholic drinks.
“We recognise the opportunity of non-alcoholic drinks and our portfolio already includes Guinness Zero in Indonesia, Guinness Malta in Africa and more recently Orijin Zero in Nigeria. We continue to explore and invest in this area and, in Seedlip, we have found a unique product which gives people a complex and refined drinking experience. For generations, Diageo has been innovating and meeting consumer trends by offering new products, formats and ingredients. Now in its third year, the Distill Ventures programme continues to allow us to discover and support new brands within pioneering categories, anticipate shifts in consumer behaviour and ensure our business remains at the forefront of trends in the years to come.”
Shilen Patel, co-founder of Distill Ventures, continued: “We first met Ben two years ago, and as his ideas on Seedlip developed, it seemed increasingly obvious to us that this would be a great addition to the portfolio and we’re delighted that Ben felt the same way about joining the programme. Seedlip is led by an outstanding entrepreneur shaping the future of a whole new category in drinks. More bars and restaurants want to offer high quality non-alcoholic options as part of their range and Seedlip gives them a great option to do that.
“Seedlip made sense because it was founded by a pioneering entrepreneur it and follows a model that is in many respects close to a spirits brand. We continue to be led by a desire to invest in outstanding founders, and our emphasis will remain firmly on alcoholic drinks.”
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