The increasing popularity of non-alcoholic cocktails has prompted Diageo to acquire a significant majority shareholding in Seedlip.

Founder Ben Branson, who launched the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand Seedlip in 2015, will remain actively involved as a shareholder and director and will work with the Seedlip team and Diageo to support the brand’s future success, said Diageo.

The acquisition of a majority stake follows Diageo-backed accelerator programme Distill Ventures taking a minority investment in the spirits brand in June 2016.

Distill Ventures is independently run but receives funding from Diageo to support entrepreneurs as they launch and grow innovative drinks brands. Seedlip is the first non-alcoholic brand acquired by Diageo through Distill Ventures.

Commenting on the agreement, Branson said: “We want to change the way the world drinks and today’s news is another big step forward to achieving this. Distill Ventures’ and Diageo’s shared belief in our vision has enabled us to build a business that’s ready for scale and I’m excited to continue working with Diageo to lead this movement.”

John Kennedy, president Europe, Turkey and India at Diageo, added: “Seedlip is a game-changing brand in one of the most exciting categories in our industry. Ben is an outstanding entrepreneur and has created a brand that has truly raised the bar for the category. We’re thrilled to continue working with him to grow what we believe will be a global drinks giant of the future.”