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Lucas Bols buys alcohol-free brand Fluère

Dutch drinks firm Lucas Bols has acquired non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ producer Fluère for approximately €1 million (US$1.05m).

The Fluère range of alcohol-free ‘spirits’ will soon be joined by a Bitter variant

The acquisition of Dutch brand Fluère was completed on 1 January 2023. The €1m deal includes potential earn-out payments based on three-year targets set for net revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA).

The purchase is described as ‘strategically important’ for Lucas Bols as it taps into ‘changing consumer trends’.

Lucas Bols will focus on boosting the brand’s presence among bartenders and in the on-trade, as well as strengthening its retail position.

The portfolio of alcohol-free ‘spirits’ includes Original, Spiced Cane, Raspberry and Smoked Agave. The range will be extended with the release of Bitter in February 2023, with the aim of expanding ‘cocktail possibilities’.

Fluère will benefit from the Dutch firm’s route to market and ‘bartender preference’.

The products are sold in more than 20 countries, including the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland, France and Germany, as well as in a limited number of US states.

The deal will see Fluère added to the Lucas Bols USA platform to enable it to enter more states.

The company said the ‘premium positioning’ of the brand ‘translates into gross margins above Lucas Bols group’s average’.

Fluère was founded in 2018 by Dutch entrepreneurs Léon Meijers and Alfred Sandee. The duo will remain fully involved in the development of the brand for at least two years.

Meijers said the new owner offers the “best environment for Fluère to grow and achieve its full potential”.

“We have great respect for their capabilities in brand building and strong route to market and are therefore thrilled that Fluère will become part of the Lucas Bols company portfolio,” he added.

Lucas Bols said there is room for independent brands with high-quality products as the no-and-low sector becomes ‘more mature’.

The value of the no- and low-alcohol category in 2022 surpassed US$11 billion in 10 key markets, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

‘Strong potential’

The CEO of Lucas Bols, Huub Van Doorne, said the company “believes in the strong potential” of the low-and-no category, with Fluère set to play a “leading role” in the sector’s growth.

“By leveraging our strong distribution platform and on-trade expertise we can accelerate Fluère’s scale up,” he continued.

“We look forward to working with Léon and Alfred to explore all synergies between Fluère and our other cocktail brands.”

Fluère was previously acquired by Next Frontier Brands in February 2021, however it was repurchased by the brand’s founders in January 2022.

Lucas Bols and fellow Dutch producer De Kuyper also completed the sale of alcoholic beverage manufacturer Avandis to Refresco Group on 2 January 2023.

Lucas Bols produces the Bols brand, described as the number one liqueur range globally, excluding the US.

It is also the owner of passion fruit liqueur Passoã, following Rémy Cointreau’s exit from their joint venture in December 2020.

Last year, Lucas Bols entered the agave spirits market with the acquisition of ultra-premium Tequila Partida in a US$10m deal.

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