British low-alcohol spirits startup CleanCo lands €7.8 million to promote ‘hangover-free drinking’ internationally

British premium low-alcohol spirits startup, CleanCo, has secured around €7.8 million in funding as investors and consumers reveal an insatiable thirst for hangover-free drinking. The latest investment takes the total now raised by the business to around €10.2 million.

The company within the “nolo” (no- or low- alcohol) category received the cash injection from existing and new gold-stamped investors including: Ursula Burns, board member of Uber and former board member of Diageo, and Stonebridge PLC, a digital-first consumer brand investment firm set up by DTC entrepreneur James Cox, who shall also advise the company on its future growth plans.

Providing people with a healthier alternative to traditional tipples, CleanCo has cultivated a loyal ‘sober-curious’ following of over 50,000 customers in just 15 months with its authentic taste and ‘cheeky-luxe’ positioning.

Recording +580% uplift in sales since the start of ‘Dry January 2021’ and +1419% YoY, the low-abv spirits business founded by TV personality and entrepreneur, Spencer Matthews  with the support of ex-director of the Gin Guild, Justin Hicklin, who acts as Chairman. CleanCo uses traditional distilling methods to create low-alcohol spirits, and entered the market in November 2019 with CleanGin, followed by CleanRum in May 2020, both at 1.2% ABV. 

The fresh funds raised in its latest financing push will support the brand’s international expansion, including plans to launch a number of significant new markets in H1 2021. The new funds will also allow for ‘significant’ marketing investment in the UK to increase brand awareness. 

“Nobody wakes up saying “I wish I drank more last night,” explained co-founder Matthews, who has been sober since 2018. “Anyone can have a good reason to avoid or reduce their intake of alcohol. After a sub-par 2020, many of us will start 2021 with a sore head, coupled with fresh resolve and ambition to change destructive habits. We want more drinkers to be aware that there are choices when it comes to drinking high- or low-strength alcohol. At CleanCo, we’re offering an easy transition with quality and credible replacements – without compromising on taste or social experience.”

The UK producer of spirits has also just released its first ready-to-drink, canned cocktail range, featuring 0.5% ABV twists on classic serves. CleanRum & Cola is made using traditional Jamaican rum techniques and is said to deliver undertones of caramel and cayenne pepper, paired with ‘premium cola’. Meanwhile, CleanGin & Tonic offers a ‘crisp botanical blend’ of juniper, grapefruit, cardamom, mint, ginger and cinnamon. The London-headquartered company also plans to release a vodka later this year.

“Our concept is absolutely in line with market trends, as people look to change their drinking habits and as health conscious consumers consider their options,” said Justin Hicklin, Chairman of CleanCo.

To create low or no alcohol beverages, manufacturers often replace the alcohol with sugar, but to reduce the sugar and retain full flavour is challenging, and unique to CleanCo, in a closely guarded and developing process, which Hicklin reveals only as a “multiplicity of distillations.”