Australia’s next beverage billionaire

The founder of Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirits, Mark Livings, says the business is on track to become the fastest independent beverage brand to reach unicorn status – a valuation of more than US$1 billion.

Livings told The Spirits Business: “The pace of growth we’re seeing is exceptional. We sold our first bottle in 2019 and today we’re selling one at least every 30 seconds.”

Lyre’s is now available in more than 60 countries and annualised sales are are now approaching $92 million, with year-on-year compound growth was running at 450%.

The company recently manufactured its one millionth bottle and has just released its first prosecco-style drink, Classico.

The business generates about 25% of sales in Australia, 25% in western Europe and 25% in the United States. However, it recently announced it will launch into eight countries in the Middle East by the end of the year. It also launched in China earlier this year.

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 60 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.

In Australia, distribution growth continues to cater for increased demand with key retail partnerships including Dan Murphy’s, David Jones, First Choice, Woolworths, IGA and Coles Local.  On premise Lyre’s non-alcoholic drinks can also be found in some of the Australia’s best venues including AVC Group,  ALH Group, Rockpool, Sake, El Camino, Fratelli Fresh, Bavarian, Solotel Group, Applejack Group, Star Entertainment Group, Maybe Sammy, Pearl, Everleigh, Byrdi, Cutler & Co, Marion, Jackalope, Nomad, Rick Shores, Calile Hotel,  Pilu at Freshwater, Three Blue Ducks, Will’s and Mimi’s, Longchim, Bert’s, Maybe Mae, Songbird Bar and Lounge, Heritage Wine Bar, Funlab Group and online retailers such as Sans Drink’s and Craft Zero.

Lyre’s recently secured around $37million in a fundraising round to increase its marketing and expand production, which means the business now worth $500million after less than a two and a half years of trading. The funding round was led by new investor D Squared Capital, alongside existing investor Morgan Creek Capital Management (early backers of Alibaba, SpaceX, Lyft, Drizly NinjaVan and Allbirds). Other early backers increasing positions included DLF VentureVRD Ventures, and Maropost Ventures.

Daniel Grossman, Managing Director of D Squared Capital, said: “The no/low alcohol beverage market is one of the fastest growing markets in F&B and is showing similar characteristics to plant-based milks, meats and other mindful consumer categories. Lyre’s leading product, brand and range of award-winning SKUs have proven that they are the industry leader and we are excited to be backing the best in class company.”

The capital will be used for additional human resources, marketing and advertising and a partnership with Döhler Group, creating an expanded R&D team.

“This is the gateway from becoming a scale-up to a true multinational beverage company,” Livings said.

“We’re seeing a moderation trend sweeping across all global markets, and with this comes an emphasis on health and wellness. The International Wines and Spirits Record forecasts that no-and-low alcohol volume in Australia will grow by 16% from 2020 to 2024, so there’s no doubt that there’s a growing demand for sophisticated alcohol-free drinks.”

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Categories: Business