First non-alcoholic distilled spirit wins Diageo cash

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

World's first: Diageo backs Seedlip alcohol-free spirit
World's first: Diageo backs Seedlip alcohol-free spirit

Related tags Alcohol-free beer Alcoholic beverage

Diageo-backed Distill Ventures is to invest in the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit made by Seedlip, which is expected to be added to the spirit giant’s alcohol-free drinks portfolio.

The Seedlip brand was created by entrepreneur Ben Branson in answer of the question “what do you drink when you’re not drinking?”, according to Distill Ventures.

Branson has been given financial support and creative freedom to develop his brand and product through the backing, he said.

The product is expected to create a new drinks category and appeal to non-drinkers looking for a refined alternative to alcohol.

First distilled, non-alcoholic spirit

Seedlip_Ben Branson _Photo Credit Tom_Oldham (640x480)
Non-alcoholic founder: SEEDLIP's Ben Branson

Global innovation director at Diageo’s Futures Team Helen Michels said: “We are hugely excited to confirm our investment, through Distill Ventures, in Seedlip – the world’s first distilled, non-alcoholic spirit.

“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.”

Diageo’s most-recent launch was Smirnoff Cider, which comes in two flavours and could be expanded further.

Listen to an exclusive podcast interview at the Publican’s Morning Advertiser ​(PMA​) ​website in which Diageo’s innovation and commercialisation manager Claire O’Neill outlines the need for more new products to pique consumer interest​.  

Meanwhile, alcohol-free beer is growing in popularity in Britain, according analysis by the PMA.

Growth in sales

Research released by the largest beer company in the world – AB InBev – has witnessed growth of 5% through its market-leading brand Beck’s Blue, which contributes 58% of sales to the category and has seen a 10% year-on-year increase in outlets stocking the product.

Almost a third of Brits, according to an opinion survey of 2,000 adults, have tried alcohol-free beer, with one in 10 women consuming it weekly and 18% of Londoners drinking it whenever they are out.

More than a fifth of Millennials (those aged 18 to 34) are likely to choose alcohol-free beer during January.

Anna Tolley, AB InBev UK & Ireland and corporate affairs director, said: “It’s great to see the growing popularity of alcohol-free beer among the UK public – especially Millennials. Offering consumers choice is an important part of our commitment to responsible drinking.”

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