Irn Bru taps into alcohol-free spirits with £1m investment

The maker of Irn Bru is set to enter the alcohol-free spirits market for the first time, the company has announced.

AG Barr has spent £1 million buying a 20% minority stake in STRYYK, which makes alcohol-free rum, vodka and gin, and will also be the exclusive UK distributor for the brand’s parent company.

Chief executive Roger White explained why he wanted to tap into the market.

He said: “More and more consumers are seeking a drink that adds positively to their social experience but without the side-effects of alcohol. We’re very excited to be involved in both investing in and growing the STRYYK brand in this new and fast-moving consumer category.”

STRYYK is the brand name for Elegantly Spirited Limited, which was founded by entrepreneurs Alex Carlton and Andrew King.

Mr King already knows the AG Barr bosses well, having sold his previous business – cocktail mixer maker Funkin – to the Scottish drinks giant in 2016.

Health-conscious millennials are driving the market in alcohol-free drinks and big-name brands including Heineken and Budweiser have invested heavily in alcohol-free versions of their beers.

Market research firm Nielsen recently revealed that Britons spent a record £57 million on low or non-alcoholic beers in the 12 months to April — up 39% on a year ago.

They also spent £48 million on low or no-alcohol wines over the same period.

Non-alcoholic spirits, a market only three years old, is now worth £5 million.