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Diageo increases ownership of alcohol-free Seedlip

Diageo has upped its shareholding in non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ Seedlip to a majority stake and will aim to grow the brand into a “global drinks giant of the future”.

Seedlip is now majority owned by Diageo

The Johnnie Walker maker acquired a minority stake in Seedlip in 2016 through its Distill Ventures growth accelerator programme, which supports high-potential brands with investment and expert guidance.

Founder Ben Branson will “remain actively involved” with Seedlip as a shareholder and director following Diageo’s increased ownership.

The brand launched in 2015 as a “sophisticated alternative” to alcoholic drinks, kick-starting the alcohol-free ‘spirits’ trend.

Its core expression, Garden 108, is made using six individually distilled barks, spices and citrus peels. The range has grown to include Seedlip Spice 94 and Seedlip Grove 42. This year, the team behind Seedlip launched Aecorn Apéritifs, thought to be the world’s first non-alcoholic apéritif range.

“We want to change the way the world drinks and today’s news is another big step forward to achieving this,” said Branson. “Distill Ventures’ and Diageo’s shared belief in our vision has enabled us to build a business that’s ready for scale and I’m excited to continue working with Diageo to lead this movement.”

John Kennedy, president of Europe, Turkey and India at Diageo, added: “Seedlip is a game-changing brand in one of the most exciting categories in our industry. Ben is an outstanding entrepreneur and has created a brand that has truly raised the bar for the category.

“We’re thrilled to continue working with him to grow what we believe will be a global drinks giant of the future.”

Seedlip joins Belsazar vermouth in the list of brands that have ‘graduated’ from Distill Ventures. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

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