In the 2023 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Lyre’s CEO and Co-founder, Mark Livings, suggests the business is entering a new phase after almost irrepressible growth since its launch.

Mark Livings, CEO and Co-founder of Lyre’s Spirit Co is in a rare position for any business leader: having met his original ambitions when establishing the company.

“I think we’ve achieved ubiquity,” Livings says.

“We’ve achieved the objective [we had] when we started three and half years ago. You can walk into any retailer and find, not only a Lyre’s Spirit Co product, but a great amount of support for the category.”

Livings is clear that the support of the liquor retail industry has been integral to this success.

“Retailers have embraced the category and are doing so with increased speed. They understand that it represents a very significant incremental revenue opportunity to them, and an incremental profit opportunity – people can come in and purchase something for everyone, regardless of their choices around alcohol consumption,” he said.

From the point of view of a market leader like Lyre’s, 2022 saw an evolution in how the retail industry is engaging with nonalcoholic products.

“The off-trade is all about category maturity… I think 2022 has been about putting the best products on shelf that truly do move, and designing an optimal assortment of products across the scope of flavours,” Livings says.

“The off-trade has now started to realise the importance of rounding out the palate preferences of the populations that they’re servicing.”

Due to the global reach of Lyre’s, the company can trace, and relay, what is working for the non-alcoholic category in the retail sector.

“Having that pretty incredible major retail footprint is something very, very important. Where we see initiatives that are undertaken by one retailer, and the category performs exceptionally well, we’ll be sure to share those,” Livings explained.

“That’s something unique for Lyre’s – I don’t think any other alcohol free spirit brand has the optics that we do on exactly what’s working in all of the different parts of the world in the off-trade. Rapidly building the canon of best practice is something that I think we will work on.”

Livings gave an example of how this process is already informing the methods of retailers and said: “The off-trade has experimented with how to merchandise the category, and I think we’ve certainly landed on what is best practice – having a dedicated non-alcoholic area rather than variants being alongside their alcoholic equivalents.”

Consumer awareness the 2023 objective

The ultimate aim of Lyre’s in 2023 is to increase the prominence, not only of its own products, but of the category as a whole.

“One of the biggest challenges the category still needs to face, non-alcoholic spirits in particular, is saliency,” Livings said.

“Solving the saliency problem is something that we’re absolutely focused on. Around 20 to 30 per cent of people know that non-alcoholic spirits exist, so there’s an incredible upside through helping people understand optionality is out there.”

By this Livings means, ensuring that customers realise that there is a nonalcoholic equivalent for their cocktail preferences and celebration occasions.

“They can stay in the Espresso Martini serve, they can stay in the Spritz serve, they can stay in the G&T serve, and opt out of alcohol,” Livings adds.

“That’s a story that we need to continue to tell and then we’ll need our partners in order to tell that.”

Find more from the 2023 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum here.

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