Founder Ben Branson told OLN: “It is growing really quickly in all aspects of the business. Volume sales are increasing and internally we are growing too as we are already a team of 11. It’s all gone a bit mad but what we have learned is that people have been really looking for something to drink at home, maybe from Sunday to Wednesday when they want a few nights o from alcohol. And when you are out but not drinking it also works as you can get a great drink made with Seedlip.”
The drink, in flavours of Spice 94 (with allspice, cardamom, oak, lemon and grapefruit) and Garden 108 (with peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary and thyme), is already stocked in Berry Bros & Rudd, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
“When we launched a year ago I had no idea how quick and quite how much demand there would be. I was a one-man-band, so I was cautious and realistic about how fast I could grow but now that we are in a stronger position we would love to have wider distribution across more of the country.
“January has been a huge indicator as we popped on to a lot of people’s radars. We have noticed there are independent drinks shops that are interested as well as delis, and this is really interesting for us. We are definitely aiming to become more national this year.”
Branson said the company has a limited-edition product set to launch at the end of this month. “It’s another one which pushes the boundaries and it’s a world first, which is really exciting. We are also looking at a first bottle run for our miniatures, which will target mini-bars and gift packs and premium off-licences, and then it becomes really interesting.
“We don’t want to stray down the flavoured vodka route of having lots of different products. We want to have a pipeline of NPD over the next 12 months but we want to add new products for a specific reason, so it’s a considered approach to NPD, and formats will play a part in this.”
One of the challenges Seedlip faced from the outset is pricing. At an average of £27 for a 70cl bottle, it is in the premium price bracket for a drink that contains no alcohol.
“It’s a hurdle we are trying to overcome but if you think that one bottle contains 14 drinks and it doesn’t need to go in the fridge, it means that for £2.50 you can have a nice drink at home, which is good value.
“We don’t pay the duty but it takes us a lot longer to make it. So if you compare it to a £40 premium gin, and then if you minus the duty, that’s the price we charge. We offer a good quality product and a great experience and people are willing to pay for that.”
In May 2016 Diageo agreed to take a minority stake in Seedlip through its spirits innovation arm, Distill Ventures. Branson said Seedlip still operates as an independent company but bene ts from support, guidance and funding from Diageo.