Lucky Saint, the alcohol-free beer brand, has just closed a £3.5 million fundraise from leaders across the FMCG and marketing industries. Its shareholders now include JamJar, the venture capital fund of the founders of Innocent Drinks; Warburtons chairman Jonathan Warburton; adam&eveDDB co-founders James Murphy and David Golding; Karmarama CEO Ben Bilboul; vice president of Facebook Northern Europe Steve Hatch; and Wahaca CEO and co-founder Mark Selby.
Since launching in 2018, Lucky Saint has become the biggest independently owned alcohol-free beer brand in the UK. The hugely successful 0.5% Superior Unfiltered Lager has seen exponential growth throughout 2020 with many Industry firsts: first alcohol-free producer to 1) launch across the UK on draught and 2) to join the British Beer & Pub Association in the organisation’s 116-year history.
Despite losing 70% of its volume when the UK on-trade shut down during the first lockdown in March 2020, Lucky Saint quickly diversified into a strong omni channel business and has grown revenues 300% in 2020.
January 2021 has seen that success continue with revenues up 215% year on year, despite zero sales from the all important on-trade. Retail and e-commerce sales alone are up 610% year on year.
Due to increasing demand, Lucky Saint has continued to make new hires – creating jobs in a widely struggling sector; the team grew more than three-fold during lockdown from 5 to 18, including Emma Heal MD, former MD of snack brand graze. It also increased distribution in the off-trade in September 2020 from 130 to 500 Sainsbury’s stores, added 600 Tesco stores, all 200 Majestic stores nationwide and listed with Ocado.
Luke Boase, founder of Lucky Saint said: “I started out with a mission to reward those who aren’t drinking with the beer they deserve. Two years on, receiving the backing of such an esteemed group of investors is the culmination of the incredible work that our team have done to grow through such difficult times. We remain as excited as ever about the future.”
Adam Balon, co-founder of Innocent Drinks and JamJar Investments said: “Non-alcoholic lager has been around for a while, but none have really delivered an experience that genuinely ticks all the boxes, until Lucky Saint. Of all the non-alcoholic lagers on the market, Lucky Saint is the brand I see really leading this category, going the distance, and becoming a defining name in the drinks industry as a whole.”
Jonathan Warburton, chairman of Warburtons, said: “We have built Warburtons with an unwavering focus on quality. For this reason, Luke’s product-led approach has always resonated with me, and the beer speaks for itself.
The UK is already leading the way for innovation within the no and low drinks category globally, and Lucky Saint is at the forefront. As the UK forges out on its own, there’s a real opportunity for the government to support SMEs like Lucky Saint to help continue the nation’s trajectory in this exciting sector.”
Mark Selby, CEO and co-founder of Wahaca, said: “There’s been a clear shift in people’s drinking habits – we were seeing it in our venues pre-Covid. Coupled with the pandemic and people’s attitudes towards health and wellness, the desire for credible non-alcoholic drinks like Lucky Saint is huge, and once we can open up again we’re anticipating demand in the on-trade to boom. It’s great to be behind a brand which is championing quality in this sector.”
Lucky Saint will use the funds raised to build the team, grow draught distribution in the on-trade and start growing internationally with selected partners and markets.
The no/low category is accelerating at pace and is projected to be worth £450 million by 2024. Within this, beer will be the biggest subcategory by 2021, worth £172 million.