While previously the ‘dry movement’ was often limited to just Dry January, such events are now increasing and seem to be increasingly embraced by Asian consumers.
“Back then, Dry January was just a single month initiative, but now we’ve got more trending such as Moderation March. Dry July and more, showing that the dry movement is very active and [importantly] is gaining a lot of traction in Asia,” Lyre’s Asia Regional Manager Rachel Ling told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“People are getting more mindful with their drinking and are also reconsidering their habits, something which has also been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we are pushing for is not for people to stop drinking alcohol, but to provide an alternative for those who don’t or who want to take a short-term break, such as during these dry movements – having non-alcoholic options like Lyre’s available in bars, restaurants and other places makes it more comfortable for people to order such drinks and feel included - without the fear of a hangover.
“To increase dry month awareness, such as with the upcoming Dry July, we are also working to make things relevant for each local market so in Asia we developing cocktail flavours unique to the Asian palate – Asian cosumers have different preferences from the West, we like more flavourful tastes, spicier, saltier, so Lyre’s non-alcoholic pours here may be quite different to there.”
When asked how non-alcoholic spirit acceptance in Asia compares to that in the West, Ling admitted that Asia is ‘still a bit behind in terms of education and demand’, but that this is growing rapidly, especially when it comes to the ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail format.
“Non-alcoholic RTD cocktails are pretty huge in Australia but have not traditionally been so in Singapore, but we have definitely seen huge growth recently,” she said.
“We did a pre-launch of our new RTD range on our website and sold out really quickly, so quickly that we’re now waiting to restock before announcing the actual launch soon. It is also clear to us because it’s not just the individual cans or small packs that were sold out, but the larger 24-can cases.
“So definitely, growth is already happening for RTDs, and [we are there for it] with our RTD launches first in Singapore and later in Hong Kong.”
Lyre’s has just made its initial RTD cocktail launch which comprises of three products: an Amalfi Spritz, a G&T and a Classico – each 250ml can will retail for S$6.50 (US$4.90), 4-packs will go for S$25 (US$18.86), 12-can mixed cases for S$78 (US$57.58) and 24-can cases will be S$156 (US$117.67). All products are available for purchase at selected Cold Storage outlets in Singapore as well as on Lyre's e-commerce store.
“We are starting with the lighter spirits first, and later on will also introduce darker ones such as Dark ‘n’ Spicy (our take on the Dark ’n’ Stormy) and an American malt and cola,” she said.
New non-alcoholic consumption occasions
In addition to the usual drinking occasions that would be associated with alcohol, Ling said that Lyre’s is also looking at bringing their products into places associated with health and wellness.
“Apart from bars and restaurants, the next place to look at is casual dining venues without alcohol licences, but beyond that we also want to eventually be in wellness centres, particularly with the RTDs,” she said.
“Many people are drinking alcohol after going to the gym as it is, for example, and [it isn’t too much of a stretch to] imagine having a Lyre’s non-alcoholic RTD available for a post-workout drink to substitute some of this alcohol.”
Lyre's has also recently sent its first shipment into Malaysia.
“Lyre’s drinks are directly made from essences, extracts and distillates, not by stripping alcohol from a previously-alcoholic product which makes it more palatable for any concerned consumers as no alcohol was contacted in the process,” said Ling.
The firm’s main expansion targets in the next few months apart from Malaysia include Taiwan and Macau, with an eye on Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam as well.
“Lyre’s recently hit EUR100mn (US$121mn) in valuation and one of the main objectives we have is to expand to 60 countries by end-2021 – this is all dependent on customs clearance of course, but as it is we’re already entering an average of one new market per week, and already in challenging-to-enter places like China,” she said.