Heineken UK has announced the purchase of a minority stake in Served, the ready-to-drink hard seltzer and cocktail brand co-owned by Ellie Goulding.
The brand – created by Goulding and brothers Dean and Ryan Ginsberg in 2020 – produces a range of 8% abv canned cocktails and 4% abv hard seltzers.
The drinks are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free, and are made in Herefordshire where Goulding grew up.
They are stocked in retailers including Ocado, Majestic, Morrisons, WH Smith and Selfridges (rsp: £2.50-3/250ml).
The deal – financial terms of which were not disclosed – expands Heineken’s UK (HUK) portfolio beyond its core offer of beer and cider.
In the Netherlands, Heineken sells seltzers from its Desperados brand, and it has extended Red Stripe into rum-based RTDs in the US.
The UK RTD category had grown 47.5% in five years and was worth £866m in 2022 according to Mintel, HUK said.
It described Goulding’s Served brand as “one of the fastest growing” brands in the category, having grown by “triple-digits” in volume and value terms every year since launch.
“We have been interested in expanding our premium portfolio beyond beer and cider, seeking the right opportunity to invest in new growth categories,” said HUK MD Boudewijn Haarsma. “Dean, Ryan and Ellie have built something unique and special in Served and we’re excited about the prospect of partnering with them and building the proposition for the future.”
The founders of Served would stay on and “continue to build the brand independently” following the deal, HUK added.
“This is a significant milestone for the business,” Dean Ginsberg said. “To date, our focus has been on building a brand that truly resonates with the next generation of drinkers.
“We are extremely proud of what the team has achieved in a short period of time, but our vison has always been to lead the category, and this partnership with Heineken will enable us to accelerate our growth and maximise the potential of the brand.”
Goulding added: “It’s always been important to us that any partner of Served must share the same values and vision for the future.
“Through our discussions and work together over the last nine months, we are excited to be partnering with Heineken – a family business with a strong vision for the category and set of values that align with our own.”