A Sydney-born non-alcoholic spirits brand stocked in more than 50,000 venues globally has raised £18 million ($34.7 million) to capitalise on accelerating demand in the category, with financial backing from D Squared, Morgan Creek Consumer Fund and existing investors for the scale-up founded by Carl Hartmann and Mark Livings in 2019.
The idea came to serial entrepreneur Hartmann after one too many business soirées where drinking alcohol was expected and taking a toll on his health. He is now based on the Sunshine Coast, while the global company's largest office is in Sydney and the business itself is officially incorporated in the UK.
Lyre's non-alcoholic range, from its Italian Spritz to Absinthe to Dry London Spirit, was recognised as the world's number one trending non-alcoholic brand by Drinks International.
The company cites "extraordinary" year-on-year growth in all major markets, with the latest round of funding to be used to continue driving momentum in key markets such as Australia, North America, Europe and the Middle East.
In response to this funding milestone, the business has up weighted the leadership team’s collective expertise. After an extended period overseeing the growth in the US market, chief marketing officer Paul Gloster has recently taken the baton as chief executive officer.
Gloster has been with Lyre’s since its inception and has been instrumental in delivering the company’s outstanding year-on-year growth, brand health and equity position.
"I am humbled to be given the opportunity to lead Lyre’s into a new chapter of growth and build upon our vision of changing the way the world drinks," Gloster says.
"Our new expanded leadership structure ensures accountability across all our strategic priorities and business functions.
"I am excited to work with such a capable and passionate team that is energised and ready to lead the business into our next exciting stage."
This recapitalisation will drive the company through its next pivotal stage of growth and importantly this investment will see a more enhanced global supply footprint for Lyre’s.
Like many start-ups, managing hyper-growth across the globe has tested the availability of this highly popular brand, so the funding will improve the brand’s ability to meet global production and inventory obligations to customers.
Lyre's senior VP of global marketing Kristy Bloomfield says it is an exciting time for the brand as the more and more people choose the company's products, as reflected in our exceptional growth
"Consumers across ANZ (Australia-New Zealand) can now enjoy a Lyre’s in 5000-plus venues including Qantas Lounges, Accor Hotels, all major retailers, and the leading restaurants across ANZ," Bloomfield explains.
"We are delivering programmes and tactics that are introducing a wider audience into the category, which in turn aids in our ambition to change the way the world drinks.
"Take Dry July for example, the brand is proud to be an official partner of the Dry July Foundation for the second year running, continuing our commitment to raise money for people impacted by cancer. Lyre’s as a brand, maybe the number 1 trending brand but we are proud to stand for so much more."
Lyre’s chairman Greg Bundy says the company's success is a testament to the dedication and resilience of its team.
"I am not only grateful to each of them, but I am honestly inspired by their uncompromising passion and commitment to changing the way the world drinks," he says.
"Take our supply chain leads, who have worked tirelessly to deliver our manufacturing efforts globally.
"Now, with the support of our investing partners, we can provide additional resources, improved manufacturing, and infrastructure to support our valued customers around the world."
Lyre's co-founder Carl Hartmann won the 2022 Sydney Young Entrepreneur Award - Food & Beverage, and featured in the 2023 Australia's Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs list.
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