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Diageo acquires majority stake in non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ Seedlip

Drinks giant Diageo has acquired a “significant” majority stake in non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ brand Seedlip.

Distill Ventures, an accelerator for small brands backed by Diageo, acquired a minority stake in Seedlip in June 2016. The company helps fund innovation within the spirits world, drawing on industry expertise to identify, invest in and accelerate aspiring drinks brands, while affording Diageo an effective route to invest in new spirits brands.

Diageo put this to work last year when it acquired DV-backed German vermouth brand Belsazar – becoming the first to “graduate” from the innovation incubator.

Diageo has worked with DV since 2013 as its sole investor.

Seedlip is the second brand Diageo has acquired through the accelerator programme, and the first that only produces non-alcoholic drinks. The acquisition also includes sister brand Æcorn Aperitifs, which launched earlier this year, a spokesperson told db.

Ben Branson, Seedlip’s founder, said the two companies’ “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.”

Shilen Patel, co-founder of DV, said: “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.”

John Kennedy, president of Diageo’s Europe, Turkey and India business, 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.”

You can read more about Distill Ventures’ work with Seedlip, and the low and no-ABV drinks trend here.

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