Lyre's Moderation March and Beyond!
We sit with Mark Livings, CEO and Co-Founder of Lyre's Spirits Co, and discuss movements in alcohol reduction, what Lyre's is doing and more about what it means to go dry but still enjoy your drinks.
Tell us a little about previous movements in alcohol reduction such as Dry January and Feb Fast, and how it’s influenced Moderation March.
Mindful drinking is significantly on the rise, and Dry January has become the norm for many people around the world. In 2021, we saw record numbers of participants, including up to one in four people in some markets. Dry Jan and ‘Feb Fast’ seem to be merging into one long alcohol-free period for some consumers, with ‘Moderation March’ being offered by some as a natural extension to the mindfulness-focused period.
We have seen record sales in January this year with explosive revenue growth of 538% globally compared to the same month last year, much of that driven by a significant 375% increase in first-time customers.
The growth is continuing beyond Dry January, with February’s revenues being reported at 48% higher than the prior month, and visitation continued to rise with new visitors up 25%. This shows that even after the focus period of Dry January, consumer interest in the category lingers and deepens.
It’s clear to industry observers that over the last few years, these months have moved beyond fads and long periods of abstinence are a lasting lifestyle change that people are making.
There are various reasons some people go alcohol free, but do you think it will become a bigger trend within the Asia Pacific region?
Recent research from GlobalData in August 2020 shows us that three in four people in the APAC region are drinking less alcohol. Approximately one in five adults have dropped drinking alcohol altogether, driven primarily by concerns around physical and mental health.
The low or no alcohol category is set to grow by 31% over the next three years globally, and in the Asia-Pacific region alone, the low-to-no-alcohol (LNA) beverage market is estimated to grow more than 7% from 2019 to 2025. We believe it will outpace these estimates and accelerate year on year if it follows what we’ve observed in other markets.
We’ve already witnessed some of the best bars and restaurants across APAC embrace the trend and offer comprehensive, sophisticated menu selections. There is definitely a shift in consumer behaviour towards healthier lifestyle choices.
What do you think people misunderstand or ignore when there is discussion over the idea of alcohol moderation or reducing alcohol intake?
We have a saying at Lyre’s; ‘Our drinkers are drinkers’. The vast majority of our volume comes from people who enjoy an alcoholic beverage but are seeking to moderate, not abstain, their intake. Yes, abstainers such as pregnant women or people with medical disorders enjoy our drinks also, but the real growth is from everyday people looking to live a better, healthier life without having to give up their moments of social connection.
Additionally, the term ‘mocktail’ has always suffered a lesser reputation and an unfortunate association with being boring in a social setting, usually something very fruity and sweet. Cocktail essentially means ‘mixed drinks’, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be alcoholic. We love that we’re delivering a real choice now.
Has the recent pandemic hitting us last year paved the way for more people to accept this trend?
Indeed, much of the lifestyle changes have been driven by the pandemic. On-premise dining and drinking were restricted, and people were forced to reassess their health and priorities while confined to the home environment. We saw our direct-to-consumer sales soar during the pandemic, and it’s exciting to see the on-trade reopening imminently. We expect that people will be carrying their new habits into the hospitality sector and demanding more mindful choices when selecting beverages.
Can you and the team share a recipe for a non-alcoholic drink that is easily made at home using any of Lyre’s products?
Here are some of our most popular simple mixed drinks made with Lyre’s:
Lyre’s G&T with Lyre’s Dry London
Lyre’s Dark’n Spicy with Lyre’s Dark Cane Spirit
Lyre’s Italian Highball with Lyre’s Italian Spritz
Lyre’s Negroni with Lyre’s Dry London, Aperitif Rosso and Italian Orange
What is the future of trends like what Lyre’s is promoting? Are there further steps we can take to help us expand that process?
It’s unquestioned that the category demand is there, and we are starting to see major beverage companies enter the market, seeking to capitalize on this fundamental shift in consumer preferences and behaviour. It’s a real test for the first movers like Lyre’s, so it’s incumbent on us to keep on innovating.
This is best evidenced with our extension into RTDs – consumers are seeking more convenience and quick, easy serves. Our products combine the best of Lyre’s spirits with the convenience of a can. We’ve launched them in Australia, the United States and Europe, and we’ve been knocked over by the demand. They’ll be arriving very soon in Singapore – more details to follow!