South African financial services firm Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) has picked up an equity stake in The Duchess, joining ZX Ventures as an investor in the maker of alcohol-free drinks.
“This investment represents a great opportunity to build on The Duchess success story with global momentum in the ‘better for you’ beverage innovation category,” said Catherine Townshend of RMB’s Growth Capital Solutions team.
RMB didn’t disclose the size of the stake it bought or the amount it invested.
ZX Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of alco-beverage giant AB InBev, first backed The Duchess in 2019. The Duchess is the first co-investment between RMB and ZX Ventures.
RMB said The Duchess now available in seven countries, Besides the home market, has created the world’s first alcohol-free gin and tonic. The Duchess has sold about 8 million bottles since it launch five years ago. Last year, it expanded its range to launch alcohol-free wine spritzers to target the underserved alcohol-free wine market.
The Duchess founder Johannes le Roux said demand for non-alcoholic drinks is growing fast, especially among health and wellness-minded people. By 2025 No-and-low-alcohol category is projected to grow at an annualised pace of 7.6%