Diageo takes majority stake in Seedlip

Diageo has acquired a “significant” majority shareholding of alcohol-free brand Seedlip.

The Diageo-backed accelerator programme Distill Ventures took a minority investment in Seedlip in June 2016 and this has now been expanded so that the company is now the majority shareholder.

In the last three and a half years Seedlip has grown from a project in founder Ben Branson’s kitchen to a presence in more than 25 countries. Seedlip’s three variants (Spice 94, Garden 108 and Grove 42) are stocked in more than 7,500 global bars, restaurants, hotels and retailers, including the majority of the world’s 50 Best cocktail bars and more than 300 Michelin Star restaurants.

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

John Kennedy, President Europe, Turkey and India at Diageo, said: “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.”

Shilen Patel, co-founder and non-alcoholic lead of Distill Ventures, said: “It has been a privilege to collaborate with an entrepreneur as inspiring as Ben in launching Seedlip and we look forward to watching Seedlip continue to thrive around the world. Supporting the vision of founders is what Distill Ventures was set up to do, and we're proud of the impact Ben has had on our industry in such a short period of time."

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