Lyre’s to build through flavour and trial

The Lyre’s range of 13 non-alcoholic spirits will be available in Australia this month and we spoke to co-founder Mark Livings and Michael McShane of Swift & Moore about plans to build the brand in Australia.

Lyre’s has been in development for over two years, with a philosophy helping bartenders understand they have a non-alcoholic match for the drink they would normally use.

And with that McShane said the plan was to build the range through bars before targeting off-premise retailers as knowledge and trial builds.

“There is huge potential here, this is an alternative for people,” McShane told TheShout. “Twenty per cent of the population are non-drinkers but it doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy company or engaging with people. They like socialising and meeting friends, but meeting friends doesn’t always have to be about alcohol.

“We are going to start in the bars and release it that way, which is a very deliberate strategy to build the brand. So it’s on-premise to start and then key retailers on the back end of that. We have to be careful about going out and putting this everywhere straight away because I think that will devalue the brand.”

A Lyre's Espresso Martini
A Lyre’s Espresso Martini

An important part of building the brand will be also delivering an education program, which helps bartenders to understand how to use the product, and make it work in their bar and in different cocktails.

“We are developing a training program for bartenders at the moment, which will look to explain the brand to them and how they can use it. Bartenders are artists in their own right, so they have to put their own personality on things, but at the same time we have something to deliver and information to impart so we’ll put that program together,” McShane said.

Livings added: “We are probably going to be the only brand that says ‘we don’t have a signature serve’. This is a canvas for you to paint with. For us it is all about giving bartenders the flexibility to make the cocktails they know and love, the ability to be creative and to be able to make the classics. We are excited to see what bartenders can do with these.

“We are on a journey of discovery with this as well at the moment. So for us, paramount to this, was replicating flavour and intensity of flavour. So that measure that a bartender uses, we wanted to get as close to that as possible, so it’s a 30ml measure into a gin and tonic and then more to taste.

Lyre's Mai Tai
Lyre’s Mai Tai

“So in terms of the training program for bartenders it’ll be about how they handle the products behind the bar. In terms of flavours and blending they behave the same, but because these are in a water base rather than an ethanol base, dilution is the enemy of this.”

Livings also said that with the rise of the health and wellness trend and people drinking less, this range offers a strong alternative for bars.

“One of the things that we’ve observed is the rise of single standard drink, or mid-strength cocktails,” he told TheShout.

“So for example with our range you can make a Negroni. Now you may elect to have an alcoholic gin but with a Lyre’s Italian Orange and a Lyre’s Vermouth. There are three standard drinks in a Negroni, but now bars will be able to put a ‘One standard drink Negroni’ on their cocktail list.”

A Lyre’s Negroni could have two, one or zero standard drinks

He added: “You can divide the Australian population into four. One quartile doesn’t drink. So how is the on-premise or off-premise relevant to that consumer? The answer is it’s not. The second and third quartile never have any more than two drinks in a session. That’s because they are being responsible, or maintaining some grace, dignity and poise, or they are the designated driver. Then there’s the last quarter which is a group that this industry tends to talk to consistently.

“But now we have an opportunity to talk to three quarters of the Australian population and tell them why these bars, which are some of the most beautiful architecturally inspired spaces, that promote great conversation and intimacy, why they are relevant to them as well now.”

More information about the range is available on the Lyre’s Spirits Co website and the range will be available through Swift & Moore in April.

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