As moderation months like Dry January become increasingly popular and the trend towards no-lo and health and well-being continue to gain traction, helping consumers to easily transition their drinking habits becomes increasingly important.
This is shown in the huge growth that Australian non-alcoholic spirits brand Lyre’s has seen in recent months. Not only has the company enjoyed record revenues in January, the consumer adaptation to more moderate drinking is seeing a long tail of sales and Founder Mark Livings said this is something venues are experiencing as well.
“The Lyre’s business has been growing explosively, but January has been particularly telling, with regards to how important the month has become for our category,” Livings told Bars and Clubs.
“One of the things we’ve learned, and we are probably one of the only businesses that can talk to this, given we have a 40-plus country footprint, we can observe exactly how important January is globally. We saw enormous spikes in the US, the UK and Europe, versus this time last year we have seen 1000 per cent growth.
“Something really telling is that we broke our revenue record in December and then we recorded a month 400 per cent larger in January.
“One of the things that we are seeing as well is that it’s sticky and people are continuing their Dry January experience into February. So we are on track to burst our January record in February at the moment.”
In terms of how this is helping venues, Livings said: “What also works for us is that in the trade venues may introduce non-alcoholic cocktails for the first time in January, but then sales are so good, particularly midweek sales, that they elect to continue with some of those items on the menu on a permanent basis.
“That trial and keep mentality is not just something for consumers, it’s happening in the trade as well.”
He added: “What Lyre’s offers is frictionless replacement for your favourite drink. If you’re a G&T drinker we are there for you, if you’re an espresso martini drinker we are there for you and everything in between.
“From complicated to make cocktails to simple to build beverages, that’s the power of our range, that it is so frictionless. You just do what you’ve always done, you just reach for a different bottle. It’s a really simple consumer proposition.”
The wide range of products available from Lyre’s means that bartenders can continue to be creative and can have more fun with their non-alcoholic options rather than reaching for the gun or the sparkling water.
Speaking last year about using Lyre’s across its venues, Solotel’s Experience Director Tara Sullivan said: “Our guys are loving working with Lyre’s, they are impressed with the products in the range, with the flavours and with the depths they can actually go to with their creations. So many people have said they can’t believe the Espresso Martini we’re doing doesn’t have alcohol in it and that’s just one example. It’s great.
“It’s also a lot more fun for our teams as well, these guys are wired to make cocktails and they would much rather do that than give people a non-alc drink from a gun.”
Looking at the moderation trend overall Livings told Bars and Clubs: “The biggest thing for Lyre’s is the health, wellness, mindfulness tailwind that is pushing the category forward. Also it is no longer taboo to be sober, there is a broad social acceptance of that now.
“The category is also benefiting from improvements in beverage technology, which is delivering far better liquids than it has in the past.
“And the other reason that we are seeing the growth we are seeing is simply the fact that we’ve built a brand that’s based on being a frictionless alternative for existing flavours and profiles that people already know and are familiar with. So we have a very low barrier to entry for people to jump over; it’s as simple as ‘do you like gin? Then try this’.”