Non-alcoholic spirits brand Lyre’s has completed a seed-plus funding round valuing the business at over $179 million, making it the most valuable independent brand to date in the rapidly expanding no/low alcohol spirits category.
The milestone has been achieved in under 24 months of trading, during which time Lyre’s has become the world’s most widely distributed non-alcoholic spirits brand – now available in 43 countries – generating double-digit monthly revenue growth with annualised sales on course to exceed $62 million by the fourth quarter of this year.
Lead institutional investors introduced in this funding tranche – Lyre’s third round since inception – include US-based Morgan Creek Capital Management (early-backers of Alibaba, SpaceX, Lyft, Drizly NinjaVan and Allbirds) and Bitburger Ventures (the investment arm of the German brewing dynasty). These enterprises join existing investors, DLF Venture, VRD Ventures, SFO GmbH, Maropost Ventures and Döhler Ventures, all of which have followed on or increased positions in this round.
Funds raised will be used to: accelerate geographic expansion, with Lyre’s targeting sales in 60 countries by year-end; build on existing product research and development capabilities; increase product inventory as the global hospitality sector reopens; and further invest in the company’s UK, European and American manufacturing capabilities.
The expanding Lyre’s portfolio of 13 premium non-alcoholic spirits now includes three RTD variants of its product in Australia, US, Asia and Oceania, with UK and Europe launches imminent.
The business is currently entering an average of one new market per week and has already launched in difficult-to-enter markets such as Mainland China, gaining a strong first-mover advantage.
As a digital-first brand, direct-to-consumer sales currently account for a significant 48% of revenue, while Lyre’s has also gained quality global partnerships that include WeightWatchers, listings with more than 20 major retailers, availability in in-flight lounges such as British Airways and United Airways, and permanent menu placements in an increasing number of the world’s Top 50 bars, restaurants and hotels. These venues include the iconic 2020 worldwide bar of the year, Maybe Sammy, in Sydney; culinary groups such as Nobu and Australia’s Rockpool; GrouAtlas in Manhattan, Tippling Club bars in Singapore; and even Vegas Casino Hotels, such as The Sahara.
“It’s truly exciting to travel through the $179 million valuation milestone within two years of trading,” said Mark Livings (above), Lyre’s co-founder and CEO.
“The demand for non-alcoholic drinks and growth in mindful drinking is exploding. The no and low alcohol category already accounts for 3% of the total beverage market and is projected to grow by 31% by 2024. Alcohol consumption is reducing, with millennials drinking 20% less than their parents at the same age, and consumers are making healthier choices across a number of indulgent food and beverage categories without having to compromise on taste and social experiences. Lyre’s has built a brand in the most challenging of market conditions and as we position the business at the threshold of the hospitality resurgence, our goal is to be ubiquitous in all major markets so that anyone, anywhere can say: ‘make my drink a Lyre’s’.”
Mark Yusko, CEO and Founder of Morgan Creek Capital, added: “Our Consumer Opportunities Fund is excited to be a lead investor in this round of financing for Lyre’s. We targeted a non-alcoholic spirits company as one of our core investments and Lyre’s met our criteria of a world-class management team with great tasting products and a strong brand in high growth mode. With a large product range of non-alcoholic spirits and RTD beverages, we believe Lyre’s is well-positioned to capture the tremendous growth in global demand in this category.”