Rheinland Distillers, creators of Siegfried Dry Gin and non-alcoholic Siegfried Wonderleaf, announce minority investment from Diageo through Distill Ventures

18 Aug 2020 | Press release

August 19, 2020 (Bonn, Germany) – Rheinland Distillers GmbH, the maker of multi-award winning[1] Siegfried Rheinland Dry Gin and creator of the alcohol-free alternative Siegfried Wonderleaf, today announce an investment from global beverage alcohol leader Diageo, through the independent accelerator, Distill Ventures. The investment will help drive growth of Rheinland Distillers and the Siegfried brand. In addition to the investment, the Siegfried founders will also gain access to Distill Venture’s market-leading acceleration programme. 

The Siegfried story started in 2014 when Raphael Vollmar and Gerald Koenen – two long-time friends who shared a passion for gin – wanted to rethink and disrupt the gin category. With 4,000 Euros of their own, they founded their company which today produces Siegfried Rheinland Dry Gin and non-alcoholic alternative, Siegfried Wonderleaf.

Rheinland Distillers caught the attention of Distill Ventures with their unique offer of both an alcoholic and non-alcoholic product under one brand, providing great consumer choice. In addition to gaining wide distribution through leading retailers in Germany, Rheinland Distillers have had a strong digital focus since launch, allowing Siegfried Rheinland Dry Gin to become the fastest growing German gin brand in 2019[2]. Raphael and Gerald have built their own direct to consumer offering through the Siegfried website, and also are present on leading e-commerce platforms. Siegfried Rheinland Dry Gin now regularly appears at the top of Amazon.de’s bestsellers’ list alongside established global brands[3].

Siegfried Rheinland Dry Gin is a classic handcrafted dry gin with signature linden blossom notes. The brand has joined the top league of German independent gins[4].within a very short time. The brand has received numerous awards in international spirits competitions, including a Double Gold at the 2015 World Spirits Award and Best Gin at the 2015 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition.

In August 2018, Rheinland Distillers launched the first German non-alcoholic alternative, Siegfried Wonderleaf, to cater to a growing demand for choice in drinks. Designed to be served in non-alcoholic cocktails and long drinks, Wonderleaf combines the same 18 botanicals as Siegfried Rheinland Dry Gin, with a unique allspice aroma profile. According to a 2019 Distill Ventures data study, 58% of consumers are drinking more no-and lower-abv drinks than in 2018, and 55% of the most influential bartenders in New York, Los Angeles and London believe the no-and low-alcohol trend will continue to grow in 2020[5].

Rheinland Distillers are also known for their innovative and original in-house brand campaigns, design editions and partnerships with well-known designers and brands across various industries, such as a custom bottle produced in collaboration with German marker pen giant Edding in November 2019.

Founded in London in 2013, Distill Ventures is the world’s first independent drinks accelerator, with the mission to support entrepreneurs as they start and scale drinks brands for future generations of consumers. The company is active in both traditional spirits categories and emerging drinks categories across Europe, APAC and North America. Siegfried is the first brand with both an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic product to join the company’s growing portfolio of international non-alcoholic brands, which make up 25% of the entire portfolio.

"At the beginning, we asked ourselves how far we, as people from outside the industry, would be able to go in such a competitive market with a handcrafted product, 4,000 Euros, hard work and a lot of passion. With today''s step, we are answering this question for ourselves and are delighted to be able to carry the Siegfried brand and the associated attitude to life even further into the world than we ever dreamed possible," says Raphael Vollmar, Managing Director of Rheinland Distillers GmbH.

"We are very proud of what we have achieved in the last 5 years. As we look to further growth, we are delighted to work with Diageo and Distill Ventures to access invaluable knowledge and expertise whilst continuing to operate as an independent business," adds Gerald Koenen, Managing Director of Rheinland Distillers GmbH.

"It is a great pleasure for us to have Rheinland Distillers on board as the first producer in the portfolio of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic spirits. It was the passion, innovation and obsession with quality that we saw in Raphael and Gerald which drew us to their brand. Their success story shows precisely where the future of spirits lies: consumers come first and they want the freedom of choice whether with or without alcohol. We look forward to working with Gerald and Raphael to take the Siegfried brand to the next level, imagining a future world of spirits together," said Frank Lampen, Co-Founder and CEO, Distill Ventures.

Elizabeth Brown, Group Strategy Director at Diageo said "Siegfried run a digital-first business model, offering great consumer choice with both an award-winning gin and a non-alcoholic alternative. We are thrilled that they have joined the Distill Ventures portfolio and look forward to supporting Raphael and Gerald on accelerating the Siegfried business.”

As is customary with all companies that work with Distill Ventures, the founders of Rheinland Distillers will retain majority ownership, with Diageo holding a minority stake. Raphael Vollmar and Gerald Koenen will continue to control the business as the company expands.

Siegfried Rheinland Dry Gin and Siegfried Wonderleaf are available throughout Germany – both through Amazon, nationwide in retailers like Edeka, REWE and METRO, leading drinks shops, bars and restaurants as well as the Siegfried website. The brand is also available in select retailers and ecommerce sites in Switzerland, France, UK, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain and Hungary.

[1] https://www.siegfriedgin.com/siggi/

[2] IWSR volume figures 2019 – growth rates from 2018 - 2019

[3] Amazon Germany, October 2019 and June 2020

[4] IWSR ranking of independent German gin brands in Germany by retail sales value, 2019

[5] Study of 83 top bartenders. Full report: https://distillventures.com/insights-and-trends/non-alcoholic-drinks-a-growth-story