Doing venture math on the non-alcoholic spirits industry


Hangovers suck. Particularly So for those who felt pressured to drink the alcohol that inevitably caused the hangover.

Drinking is slowly going out of style, especially among the younger generation. According to a 2022 Gallup poll, 60% of adult Americans drink alcohol. That’s down from 65% in 2019, and while 5% doesn’t seem like a big change, it’s a pretty drastic change when it comes to consumer spending.

Founders are taking full advantage of the shift, as numerous startups have sprung up in recent years looking to offer low-alcohol and non-alcoholic options. Aplós is the latest company to secure funding.

The Miami-based startup this week announced a $5.5 million Series A round led by McCarthy Capital, a Midwestern private equity firm. Co-founder and CEO David Fudge told TechCrunch+ that he wanted to start the company because he’d always considered himself an “unaccustomed drinker,” but didn’t think there was a product that would fulfill what he was looking for: something that the same relaxation provided benefits and mood of alcohol but with no regrets the next day.

“The vision is to reshape the adult beverage category for the new era and create the first non-alcoholic super premium spirits brand,” said Fudge. “We want the sophistication, complexity, versatility and functionality of a high-end spirit. It’s something we haven’t seen on the market and we were really interested in ourselves.”

As a consumer, I am Love that there are entrepreneurs trying to both innovate and introduce new options in this category. Non-alcoholic spirits brands like Aplós appear to be a win-win, as not only do they give people a greater incentive to perhaps choose a healthier, lower-calorie option over alcohol, but they also give bars and restaurants a better way to make comparable ones Offer spirits -alcoholic cocktails to their customers and can offer them at the same price. Capitalism!

While I think there are societal benefits from the growth of this sector, it’s not clear how it will affect investors.

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