Diageo invests in non-alcoholic ‘spirit’By Lauren Eads
Distill Ventures, a Diageo-funded spirits innovation group, has invested in the “world’s first” distilled non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip, with Diageo taking a minority stake in the business.
While Distill Ventures is independent, Diageo has been working with the company since 2013 and is its sole investor. The company helps fund innovation within the spirits world, while affording Diageo an effective route to invest in new spirits brands.
Created by entrepreneur Ben Branson to solve the dilemma of “what-to-drink-when-you’re-not-drinking”, Seedlip is the “world’s first” distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand.
Distill’s decision to invest in the brand marks the first time it has chosen to invest in a non-alcoholic product.
“With SEEDLIP we’re effectively developing a new drinks category, appealing to consumers looking for a refined alternative to alcohol”, said Branson. “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.”
Explaining its decision to take a minority stake in the company, Diageo recognised the emerging non-alcoholic drinks sector, citing a portfolio that 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”, said Helen Michels, global innovation director, Futures Team, Diageo.
“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.”
Seedlip launched in November 2015 and is already available in top London restaurants including The Ledbury, The Savoy and Selfridges, with an RRP of £27.99.
It now available in two flavour variants. Seedlip Spice 94 is a blend of individual copper-pot distillates including two barks, two spices and two citrus peels. Seedlip Garden 108 meanwhile is a “green and floral blend” of individual copper-pot distillates including handpicked peas and hay from Branson’s family farm and traditional herbs including spearmint, rosemary & thyme. Both are intended to be served long with tonic water.