Lyre’s scores $16 million in seed funding, as COVID-19 fuels non-alcoholic booze boom

Lyres-CEO-Mark-Livings

Lyre's CEO Mark Livings. Source: supplied.

Non-alcoholic drinks startup Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirit Co has secured a massive $16 million in seed funding to continue its expansion worldwide.

Serial entrepreneurs Mark Livings and Carl Hartmann launched the Australian startup a year-and-a-half ago, but have since expanded their product offering into New Zealand, the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and China, with plans to move into the European market.

While the brand was developed in Australia, Lyre’s is now one of the most widely distributed non-alcoholic spirit startups in the world.

The founders attribute the growth of the business to their market savvy.

“The investors we’ve brought into this business see value well beyond the short to medium-term impacts of the pandemic, and will bring significantly more value beyond their participation from a capital perspective,” said co-founder Carl Hartmann in a statement.

“Companies with a truly unique market offering can always raise money, even in challenging times.”

The major investors in the recently closed seed round include VRD Investment, Doeler Ventures, DLF Venture and Maropost Ventures. 

Trendspotting

Lyre’s CEO and co-founder Mark Livings developed the concept for Lyre’s after noticing the emerging trend of consumers who were looking for ways to continue enjoying alcoholic drinks without negative consequences to their health and wellbeing.

“Our business anticipates and matches the trends of the consumer and culture. Lyre’s was created to shake up the drinks category and put the choice back into the consumer’s social occasion to drink freely,” he said in a statement.

Speaking to SmartCompany, Lyre’s chief marketing officer Paul Gloster said, globally, alcohol consumption is declining on a per-capita basis.

“We can see that coming through in the overall macro trends,” he says. 

Gloster cites the team’s collective experience in the consumer goods and alcohol industries as keys to Lyre’s growth in this emerging market.

“We’re all from the booze industry. We see the way people are drinking quite closely,” he says. 

“You can observe the whole trend around [consumers] looking for choices.”

And since the onset of pandemic-related lockdowns around the world, Lyre’s has leveraged the wave of online shopping and managed to deliver over 400% in monthly recurring revenue growth since January.

Extracting essentials

Lyre’s aims to produce products that closely match alcoholic spirit flavours and styles, although the process isn’t simple.

“Each of the spirits are based by deconstructing and building a flavour ‘architecture’ by bringing together essences and extracts,” Gloster says.

While the startup does use all-natural flavours, Lyre’s is currently working to achieve a 100% all-natural status across its entire product range.

Looking ahead, the company is ambitious to accelerate its growth.

“The next year demarcates our business evolution from a startup to a true multinational beverage company, with manufacturing in multiple, global locations; compliance for new markets; and continued recruitment firmly at the top of our task list,” said Livings in a statement.

NOW READ: COVID-19 sees more dollars invested into bigger deals, while early-stage startups get left behind

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