The Diageo-backed Distill Ventures programme has invested in a non-alcoholic spirit for the first time.
Diageo now holds a minority stake in the UK distilled drinks company, called SEEDLIP, which will join the Distill Ventures accelerator scheme for entrepreneurs launching "innovative" drinks brands. Diageo is the company behind Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Baileys and Guinness.
SEEDLIP was created by entrepreneur Ben Branson to "solve the dilemma of 'what-to-drink-when-you're-not-drinking'" and is the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand.
Branson has said SEEDLIP has been tailored to appeal to consumers looking for a "refined alternative" to alcohol on a night out.
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Global alcoholic drinks consumption dropped in 2015 for the first time in a decade and millennials are increasingly gaining a reputation for choosing non-boozy drinks options.
Helen Michels, global innovation director of the futures team at Diageo said:
We recognise the opportunity of non-alcoholic drinks and our portfolio already includes Guinness Zero in Indonesia, Guinness Malta in Africa and more recently Orijin Zero in Nigeria.
We continue to explore and invest in this area and, in SEEDLIP, we have found a unique product which gives people a complex and refined drinking experience. For generations, Diageo has been innovating and meeting consumer trends by offering new products, formats and ingredients.
Now in its third year, the Distill Ventures programme continues to allow us to discover and support new brands within pioneering categories, anticipate shifts in consumer behaviour and ensure our business remains at the forefront of trends in the years to come.