Australian alcohol-free drinks brand Lyre’s has secured £9 million (US$11.5m) in funding to accelerate its expansion into new markets.Lyre’s launched its range of 13 alcohol-free ‘spirits’ in the UK last year. The £9m is said to be the largest investment to date for the non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ category. The money was raised from the company’s latest round of seed funding, which included backing from individuals and VRD Investments, Doehler Ventures, DLF Venture and Maropost Ventures. The new funds will be used to boost core product growth, category innovation and new market expansion. Lyre’s, which launched in Australia in July 2019, said it has “moved into a global leadership position" in the non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ space. The category grew by triple digits over the last 12 months due to health, lifestyle and responsibility factors, according to the brand. Mark Livings, Lyre’s CEO and co-founder said: “This growth positions the Lyre’s brand for continued success and leadership with high quality non-alcoholic alternatives in one of the fastest growth consumer brand categories in the world. “Our business anticipates and matches the trends of the consumer and culture and our current product innovation is being developed to match alcohol spirit flavours and styles. Lyre’s was created to shake up the drinks category and put the choice back into the consumer’s social occasion to drink freely." Lyre’s said it had delivered more than 400% monthly revenue growth in direct to consumer sales since January. New line extensions The company is planning to launch a number of new products over the next six months, including a ready-to-drink range to tap into the demand for convenience. Livings added: “The next year demarcates our business evolution from a start-up to a true multinational beverage company, with manufacturing in multiple, global locations, compliance for new markets and continued recruitment firmly at the top of our task list. “We’ll need all aspects of our plan to come together, delivered by a great team of people with the Lyre’s esprit de corps to grow our leadership position in the non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ category.” Lyre’s claims to be the most widely distributed non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ brand in the world. It is available in more than 30 markets including New Zealand, the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.