We know low- and no-alcohol drinks have been gaining traction for a while now. The phenomenon has even introduced a new vocabulary—mocktails, Dryuary, sober curious—to our bar lexicon. Now file a new entry in that teetotaling dictionary: “Non-alcoholic spirits.”
The progenitor of that category, U.K.-based Seedlip, calls itself “the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand.” And it’s priced just like its boozy brethren, at $36 for a 23-ounce bottle. Founded in 2015, the company has made an international splash with its three products—citrusy Grove 42, cardamom-forward Spice 94, and botanical Garden 104—which are sold in 7,500 bars and restaurants around the world. That includes, according to a press release, 300 Michelin-starred restaurants. Its tagline: “What to drink when you’re not drinking.”
And now, it’s been scooped up by multinational alcohol behemoth Diageo, which also owns Guinness, Bulleit, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, and more. Obviously, Diageo thinks the non-alcoholic spirits company shows promise (financial terms of the deal were not disclosed): John Kennedy, Diageo president for Europe, Turkey, and India called Seedlip “a game-changing brand.”
The investment from one of the world’s largest liquor brands indicates customers’ preference for drinking less alcohol, or eliminating it altogether, has legs—enough for Diageo to hedge its bets on $40 bottles of booze-free spirits.