Seedlip plans brand expansion with ex-Moët Hennessy appointment

Seedlip has announced the appointment of Claire Smith-Warner, former head of spirit creation at LVMH Moët Hennessy, as it prepares to expand its range of non-alcoholic distilled spirits.

Claire Smith-Warner and Ben Branson

This morning, the brand’s founder, Ben Branson, signalled the company’s plans to launch a portfolio of new brands with the help of Smith-Warner to further the non-alcoholic category.

Seedlip launched in the UK in 2015 and has since expanded into the US market, capitalising on growing demand for non-alcohol alternatives. It now almost 50 employees worldwide with offices in London and LA, with its brand stocked in over 3,000 accounts globally.

“At Seedlip we are committed to leading this nascent category and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in this space,” said Branson.

“Having the support of the most prominent bartenders, chefs and industry influencers has been fantastic and to have one such as Claire joining is testament to what we have achieved at Seedlip to date. I am very much looking forward to working with Claire to expand our portfolio with exciting new propositions relevant to tomorrow’s drinker.”

Smith-Warner joined LVMH in March 2003 as UK brand ambassador for the then newly-launched Belvedere Vodka and was later promoted to International Communications Manager in 2006. In 2009 she was appointed head of spirit creation and mixology. In this role, she was responsible for the development of all new Belvedere expressions, including Belvedere Unfiltered in 2011, which is distilled with Dankowskie Diamond Rye and has helped to further the development of the brand’s terroir-inspired ranges of vodkas – the Belvedere Single Estate Rye series.

“I have always been passionate about the world of spirits, hospitality and the dynamic community working within it so I am incredibly excited about this next chapter of my career and the opportunity within the NA category,” said Smith-Warner.

Seedlip is currently 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 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 and thyme. Both are intended to be served long with tonic water.

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