Lyre’s is a relatively new brand, still in its first year on-market, but has already gained international recognition, not least after bagging 10 awards at the acclaimed San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) this year, taking home two gold, four silver and four bronze medals for its non-alcoholic products.
On the back of this, it has also just launched into Singapore, where it hopes to establish a base from which to expand into the rest of the Asia Pacific region.
“Singapore is a key market for us and gives us a great base for Asia and the Pacific. We have plans to grow across this market as we see that there is demand for high quality non-alcoholic spirit alternatives,” Lyre’s CEO and Founder Mark Livings told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“[We] are excited to be a part of the culture here, which is progressive and premium. We see a natural alignment with the choices Lyre’s offer and a strong way to reach consumers through our distributor and key retail supporters such as Cold Storage, who have been on board since the original concept was presented to them.”
At present, Lyre’s is actively selling in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. It had over a dozen more markets all ready to go, but these plans were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, though Livings believes that once things get back on track, demand for non-alcoholic spirits in APAC will be high.
“We believe that when the world re-settles, health and balance will be a more prevalent choice amongst consumers and this applies in Singapore and APAC - we’ve also launched in Hong Kong as well, which is very exciting,” he said.
Lyre’s products are made from a combination of beverage technologies, including the advanced nanoemulsion, and with ingredients that are distilled from ‘the same ingredients used in the original alcoholic beverages that we pay homage to’.
For instance, its gin could be made from juniper, black pepper, citrus rind and orange blossom – but using just the essences, extracts or distillates from these, minus the alcohol.
“Our drinks still give a ‘burn’ similar to that of alcohol though. We achieved this by using ingredients with a natural burn such as capsaicin, ginger, menthol, white and black peppers and Sichuan pepper,” said Livings.
“It’s all just natural essences (ingredients which are water-soluble), natural extracts (fat-soluble) and natural distillates (ethanol-soluble).”
Market for all consumers
Indeed, Livings is sure that Lyre’s products will eventually become a choice for all consumers that veer towards a healthier lifestyle – even those that aren’t thinking of it currently.
“I think [turning to non-alcoholic beverages] is a change that’s growing momentum across all market segments and demographics. We are seeing females 25 to 40 leading the charge, but even the hardest of drinkers reach a point when that kind of lifestyle is unsustainable,” he said.
“With the younger generation there is already a much broader awareness of mindful drinking choices related to health and lifestyle, [and] people now have a solution at hand with products like Lyre’s – which offers a premium, non-alcoholic option with the freedom of choice when or when not to have a drink, with or without alcohol.”
Non-alcoholic spirits are technically healthier by nature than alcoholic ones not only when it comes to alcohol itself, but also when it comes to the calorie count.
“The calorie count is significantly less than the alcoholic equivalent (e.g. our Dry London is up to 95% less calories that an equivalent Gin), as well as being vegan, with all-natural ingredients,” added Livings.
In Singapore and most of its markets worldwide, Lyre’s is doing a combination of online and offline retail to ensure wide availabilities for its products.
“[This will be a] combination of Retail Off Premise, On-Premise Bars and Hotels and also complemented through our own e-commerce channels,” said Livings.
On-premise sales are more or less at a standstill at the moment given the lockdowns in various countries, but this will continue ‘when the market opens up again’. As of now, products are available online, retailing at S$59 (US$41.58) per 700ml bottle.
“We don’t come from a place of ‘thou shalt not drink’, rather that consumers should enjoy the flavours, in any alcohol strength of choosing, supporting venues and outlets where one can normally get a drink,” said Livings.