It’s fair to say it has been an epic 12 months for the team behind Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirits, going from launch to global markets and winning awards through to changing the business model as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Last year the brand saw its Aperitif Rosso awarded a double gold medal at the Concours d’Spirits competition with the Orange Sec, White Cane Spirit and Aperitif Dry receiving silver medals. That has now been followed by 10 medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) and Co-Founder Mark Livings explained to Bars and Clubs what it means to the team for the brand to be the world’s most awarded non-alcoholic spirit.
“This is a real watershed for us,” Livings said. “Ten medals including two golds, builds on our double gold at SommCom and the Drink Easy awards in Australia. We are very, very proud to be the most awarded non-alcoholic spirit in the world now.
“It’s a real demonstration of credibility in terms of the product, we couldn’t be prouder. It is awesome.”
“It is brilliant to see Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits honoured with such a prestigious set of awards and I am even more pleased to see non-alcoholic spirits participating in and winning awards at competitions like the San Francisco World Spirits Competition,” Livings added.
“It really is the premier spirits competition in the world and to do so well, it’s been an awesome moment from a product development perspective, we are so proud.
“As the movement toward lower ABV and zero-proof drinks continues to rise, Lyre’s offers consumers an option to enjoy their drink, their way. We believe our collective medals from highly controlled blind tasting competitions undeniably reinforces the credibility of this new category and our range and flavour leadership.”
Lyre’s uses molecular food technology to recreate flavour profiles across its range, and as that technology continues to improve so the 13 Lyre’s recipes will get closer and closer to their alcohol-carrying equivalents.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work on our darker spirits over the last few months,” Livings told Bars and Clubs. “The bourbon has had the most revisions, and we are continually improving the bitters, so we have certainly seen an enormous improvement across some of the SKUs in the first year of availability, but some of them we haven’t touched because they haven’t needed it.
“But it’s always exciting to incrementally improve them and take them closer to the original as new technology comes up.”
Speaking about what has been the highlight for the brand over its first 12 months, Livings told Bars and Clubs: “It’s really interesting to see the interest go from something quite passive with some curiosity but not a lot of commitment and reverse to have companies approaching us and asking ‘can they distribute for us’ ‘how do they get their hands on our product’.
“We have has enquiry from every corner of the Earth, from Bangladesh to Brazil there are distributors who want our product ASAP, which is really encouraging.”
Lyre’s is currently available in eight countries and was set to launch in 25 more, but those plans have been put on hold due to coronavirus. But virus-permitting the brand will be available across Western Europe by the end of the year and will also be gaining traction in Asia.
In its 20th year, SFWSC is one of the most influential spirits competitions in the world, judged by a panel of 52 leading industry experts. Gold medals were awarded to Lyre’s Aperitif Rosso and Dark Cane Spirit, while Aperitif Dry, Amaretti, Coffee Originale, and Spiced Cane Spirit received silver medals. In addition, Lyre’s Orange Sec, Dry London Spirit, White Cane Spirit, and American Malt were recognized with bronze medals.