Low-alcohol spirits maker Clean Liquor raises US$9m in funding to support international expansion

Image Courtesy: Square Miles Magazine

UK – The Clean Liquor Co., a producer of low-alcohol spirits, has raised US$9 million in funding which was backed by both venture capital funds and private individuals

Founded by reality TV star Spencer Matthews, Clean Co. uses traditional distilling methods to create low-alcohol spirits. The private raise has seen Clean Co. divest a 20% stake in its business.

Investors included Ursula Burns, who was the first African American woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and Simba Sleep founder James Cox.

According to Clean Co., the capital raised in its latest financing push will support the brand’s international expansion, including plans to launch in the US in 2021. The new funds will also allow for ‘significant’ marketing investment in the UK to increase brand awareness.

“We want more drinkers to be aware of the choices they have when it comes to drinking high- or low-strength alcohol,”

David Folkman – managing director, Clean Co.

“Our vision is to be the world’s favourite low-alcohol brand. We want more drinkers to be aware of the choices they have when it comes to drinking high- or low-strength alcohol,” David Folkman, managing director at Clean Co., said.

“We believe we will be the leading global brand in this space, offering authentic replacements to high-strength alcohol, without compromising on taste or social experience.

“Our concept is absolutely in line with market trends as people look to change their drinking habits and as conscious consumers consider their options, we’ve seen traffic to the Clean Co. website increase by 185% since lockdown.”

The company’s latest funding success follows a US$2 million seed funding round led by investment firm Lightspeed Venture Partners earlier this year.

The brand has just released its first ready-to-drink, canned cocktail range, featuring 0.5% ABV twists on classic serves. CleanGin & Tonic offers a ‘crisp botanical blend’ of juniper, grapefruit, cardamom, mint, ginger and cinnamon.

Meanwhile, CleanRum & Cola is made using traditional Jamaican rum techniques and is said to deliver undertones of caramel and cayenne pepper, paired with ‘premium cola’.

The London-headquartered company also says that it plans to release a vodka later this year.

Matthews hopes to broaden the company’s offering “across all major spirits one day whether that be Tequila or Bourbon”, and potentially move into beer and wine in the future. Matthews also wants to expand the RTD line with cocktails such as a Mojito or Moscow Mule.

On his plans for next year, Matthews said the £7m funding will allow the firm to “invest more behind the brand, invest more in new product development and invest in retailers so that we have a stronger foothold across the country”.

The firm will also go heavy into marketing with big plans for Dry January, whereby consumers abstain from alcohol during January. “We’ll call it ‘Clean Jan’,” Matthews said.

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Clean Liquor Company will also launch in the US next year with a range of products created specifically for the market.

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