Ritual Zero Proof, a “spirit alternative” distilled in America that echoes the taste and smell of spirits, today announced an investment from Diageo, via the company’s incubator division, Distill Ventures.
The investment will help drive Ritual’s growth in the U.S., investing in its direct-to-consumer business and supporting its entry into retail, the company says. Alongside the cash investment, the Ritual founders will be able to access the support of Distill Ventures’ non-alcoholic drinks practice in developing the business over the coming years.
Crafted for use in cocktails, Ritual can be swapped 1:1 with traditional spirits to make non-alcoholic versions of classic recipes, the company says. Ritual Zero Proof Gin Alternative mirrors the flavor of gin with cucumber, juniper berries, mint and basil, perfectly served with tonic. The whiskey alternative has notes of oak and vanilla, a match for orange and bitters.
According to a 2019 Distill Ventures data study, 58% of consumers are drinking more no-and low-abv drinks than last year, and 55% of the most influential bartenders in New York, Los Angeles and London believe the no-and low-alcohol trend will continue to grow within the next 12 months.
“This is a movement,” says Marcus Sakey, founding partner and chief brand officer of Ritual Zero Proof. “Just like almond milk and veggie burgers, spirit alternatives are changing the landscape. In 18 months, we predict non-alcoholic options will be on every menu and the shelves of every grocery store. Americans want more choice, and Ritual Zero Proof is all about more — more flavor, more moments, more life, that is. It’s the only American-made spirit alternative to echo the taste, smell and burn of a spirit — without the alcohol or calories.”
When it launched in September, Ritual sold out of its projected six-month supply of product in just five weeks, the company adds.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ritual Zero Proof and its seasoned team of drink entrepreneurs into the Distill Ventures portfolio as we build the future of non-alcoholic drinks, a category we have proudly supported since our investment in Seedlip,” says Heidi Dillon Otto, Portfolio Director and Non-Alcoholic Lead, Distill Ventures North America. “We look forward to working closely with Ritual’s team to unlock growth as, together, we shape the global non-alcoholic drinks landscape and continue to provide consumers with a broad array of choices when seeking out their drinks.”
As is customary with all companies that work with Distill Ventures, the founders and current investors of Ritual will retain majority ownership, with Diageo holding a minority stake. They will continue to run the business independently as the company continues to expand.
Ritual gin and whiskey alternatives can be found in more than a dozen locations in Chicago, including major beverage retailers, bars and Michelin-starred restaurants. The products are also available online, both through the brand’s website and on Amazon.