Make It a Lyre’s: The Spirit Company Leading the Zero-Proof Movement
January 13, 2022 @ 4:00pm
Given all the reasons people might have had to drink during the pandemic, the nonalcoholic beverage industry skyrocketed in 2020 and 2021. In the past year alone, nonalcoholic sales totaled more than $330 million, according to a recent Forbes article. Confined to couches, people started exploring ways to drink without the buzz — and Lyre’s nonalcoholic spirits led the way.
Lyre’s founder Mark Livings says he started Lyre’s in 2019 “with a bold mission: to change the way the world drinks.”
“Our global success has shown there’s incredible demand for premium nonalcoholic drinks,” he says.
At first, Lyre’s was only available in Australia where the company is based. But by 2020, the spirit could be found in the U.S., Europe and Canada. The booze-free spirit company then made inroads in the Middle East and parts of Asia the following year.
With such an international and cosmopolitan “spirit,” it’s no surprise that “D.C. has been at the forefront of the Lyre’s story,”says Maria Denton, Lyre’s southeast regional manager.
Lyre’s, founded in Sydney, recognized Washington, D.C. as a global and innovative pioneer in cuisine driven by a vibrant immigrant culture and saw the potential for a strong partnership with DMV-area Clyde’s Restaurant Group (CRG), which eventually allowed Lyre’s to plant their flag in the nation’s capital.
David Moran, director of operations at CRG’s Old Ebbitt Grill, says he’s seen the saloon’s cocktail lists evolve to include more and more nonalcoholic options over the past 10 to 15 years.
“There are lots of people who choose not to imbibe for various reasons and these kinds of drinks have given everybody a chance to still enjoy a festive beverage with everyone else at the table,” he says.
With spirits and canned ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails both vegan and gluten-free, Lyre’s product range speaks to the main propellor of the no and low movement: health-conscious millennials who drink less or choose to not drink at all. You want an Old Fashioned? Check. What about a Negroni? Check. Espresso Martini? Check. Margarita or Paloma? Check and check.
“The pace of growth we’re seeing is exceptional. We sold our first bottle in 2019 and today we’re selling one at least every 30 seconds,” Livings says. “On our current trajectory, Lyre’s is set to become the fastest independent beverage brand to reach Unicorn status [when a privately held company is valued at $1 billion].”
Lyre’s has made such a global splash they are the official spirit of this year’s Dry January. Started in 2013 by nonprofit Alcohol Change UK with 4,000 participants, this booze-free month-long challenge now has millions of participants and is ubiquitous with beginning the new year fresh as a way to reset the body and mind. Livings says, “We believe it is part of our role to educate and showcase the wide range of options available, whether people want to stop or moderate.”
Local spots with Lyre’s on the menu: Clyde’s Restaurant Group, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Estuary at The Conrad Hotel, Columbia Room // Disco Mary, Lib’s Grill in Maryland.
Stores Carrying Lyre’s: Calvert Woodley, Addie Bassin’s McArthur Beverages, Vitis Fine Wines and Spirits, Wine Source in Maryland.
Buy direct via Lyres.com and get 15% off your order with promo code ZEROPROOF15. Every order comes with a free mixology workshop. To learn more about Lyre’s visit their website here or follow them on Instagram @lyresspiritco.
Lyre’s Classic Margarita
45 mL Lyre’s Agave Blanco Spirit or Lyre’s Agave Reserva Spirit
15 mL Lyre’s Orange Sec
30 mL lime juice
7.5 mL white sugar syrup (1:1)
1 dash orange bitters (Laura’s pick: All the Bitter, totally 0% ABV)
Method: Shake briefly with ice. Fine strain into glass.
Glass: Half salt-rimmed cocktail coupette
Garnish: Lime wedge
Lyre’s Pink London Cosmo, D.C.-Style
45 mL Lyre’s Pink London Spirit
15 mL Lyre’s Orange Sec
15 mL lime juice
30 mL cranberry juice
7.5 mL premium cherry syrup
Lemon twist (place inside shaker)
Method: Hard shake with ice, fine strain
Garnish: Orange zest