Lyre’s valued at $500m

November 18, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Lyre’s has completed a $37 million funding round, valuing the business at AUD$500 million and extending its position as the most valuable brand in the no/low alcohol category worldwide.

It is a meteoric rise for a brand that has been trading for less than two and a half years, during which time it has entered more than 60 countries, secured partnerships with the world’s leading spirits distributors and listings with over 50 major retailers.

This year alone the business has launched in 20 new countries, including the Middle East and China, added four new e-commerce stores, 20 major retail listings and developed six new product variations including Classico, their first non-alcohol Prosecco style sparkling. A further three new products will be rolled out before the end of the year. 

“Millennials and older Gen Zs are drinking less alcohol than any generation before them, but the mindful drinking movement transcends generations and cultural borders. We’re not only growing our business – we’re expanding the whole category, entering territories like the Middle East and Far East virtually uncontested,” said Mark Livings, Lyre’s co-founder and CEO.

Distribution growth continues domestically, catering to met increased consumer 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 o at venues including AVC Group,  ALH Group, Rockpool, Sake, El Camino, Fratelli Fresh, Bavarian and Solotel Group.

Funds from the latest capital raise will be used predominantly for marketing and to grow headcount, creating more than 50 new jobs in sales and marketing, production, logistics, finance and e-commerce (more on that below). Lyre’s will also continue to co-invest with several manufacturing partners to expand production capacity to meet demand across its facilities in the UK, Germany, Australia, and the US.

Lyre’s has also established an R&D division in partnership with beverage technology giant Döhler, developing a class-leading new product pipeline and ensuring continued innovation in the sector so that products remain best in class.  

The funding round was led by new investor, D Squared Capital, alongside with existing investor, Morgan Creek Capital Management.

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.”

In the last year, global off-premise sales reached $3.1 billion across low-alcoholic and non-alcoholic categories (up from $291 million the previous year)[1]. Volumes of no/low alcohol in Australia have increased by 2.9 per cent in 2020, with the category expected to grow by 16 per cent from 2020 to 2024[2]

Lyre’s continues to outpace the growth of the category, driven by low capex requirements, first mover advantage in multiple international markets, and highly-scalable production methods across the range.

Lyre’s was created to replicate the world’s most popular spirits in a non-alcoholic format, each as close to the original premium volume spirit as possible. The Lyre’s expanding portfolio of 14 premium nonalcoholic spirits is capable of crafting over 90% of the world’s best-selling cocktails and is complemented by a recently launched range of ready-to-drink pre-mixed non-alcoholic cocktails.  

DTC Platform

By May this year, Lyre’s had launched 22 online stores throughout APAC, Europe, the United States and Canada. During COVID, Lyre’s online earnings peaked when 50 per cent of its business was coming through its DTC channels. (This has since subdued and now sits at 30 per cent.)

Lyre’s had served itself well by partnering early with Moustache Republic and BigCommerce to establish a platform that allowed for mass scaling and accommodated Lyre’s speed to market. This meant that it was not scrambling when DTC really started to explode in 2020.

Lyre’s online platform is enabled so that it can accommodate local currency transactions and logistic provider services particular to each market in which it is trading. Big Commerce facilitates customer acquisitions, is agile enough to support multi-language translation, create a personalised user experiences for customers and keeps pace with operational demand and compliance.

 “Not only do we now have the flexibility, scalability and control we wanted, we also are building our business on a platform that is affordable, expandable with vetted apps and integrations. BigCommerce provides ease of use for resources in local markets and delivers fast speed to market,” said Ms Ashleigh Murray, Senior Vice President, ecommerce.

BigCommerce’s Open SaaS platform enables Lyre’s to use apps to plug and play with ease without being trapped into legacy technology that is expensive and outdated.

[1] Nielsen

[2] No and Low Alcohol Strategic Study 2021, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis

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