Asahi Group Holdings has taken part in a Series A funding round at US non-alcoholic drinks retailer The Zero Proof.

Financial terms were not disclosed, nor was the amount the Atlanta-based retailer had raised.

In a statement, The Zero Proof said Asahi, through its Asahi Group Beverages & Innovation venture arm, had “led” the round.

The Zero Proof imports and distributes non-alcoholic wine, spirits and cocktails. It also wholesales products to retailers in the US.

The company plans to use the funds to hire salespeople, expand its distribution network, grow its base of retail accounts and broaden its wholesale portfolio.

It also wants to expand its own stable of non-alcoholic spirits and wine. The Zero Proof owns the non-alc wine brand Saint Viviana.

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By GlobalData

“It’s an exciting time for the adult, non-alc category, and this new funding enables us to accelerate our already phenomenal growth by building out our omnichannel distribution and broadening our suite of high-quality, delicious NA [non-alcoholic] beverages,” The Zero Proof co-founder and CEO Sean Goldsmith said.

Group-wide, Asahi wants at least 15% of its sales to be from “non- and low-alcohol” products by 2025. The company has a separate target for its Asahi Europe & International division. Asahi wants 20% of that division’s portfolio to be made up of non-alcoholic products by 2030 and has been investing in marketing and product development to try to grow sales.

At present, almost all the non-alc products in Asahi’s Europe & International portfolio are non-alcoholic beer but Asahi’s target has a wider definition. The company describes non-alcoholic as “adult non-alcoholic beverages that are linked to our core competencies” of brewed and fermented drinks.

Kristen Bareuther, the president and head of investment at Asahi Group Beverages & Innovation, said the new investor wanted to “support [The Zero Proof] in furthering its lead in the hyper-growth adult non-alcoholic beverage category”.

She added: “We’ve closely studied the market and believe The Zero Proof is best positioned to be the long-term category winner, with unparalleled distribution and an ever-expanding product offering.”

According to GlobalData, Just Drinks’ parent, the value of the nascent US non-alcoholic spirits* market could hit $13.3m by 2027, led by growth in the on-premise.

Earlier this month, Asahi announced it had snapped up US contract beer maker Octopi Brewing.

The acquisition of the Winsconsin production site will allow the company to start brewing its Asahi Super Dry brand in the US.

*GlobalData’s definition of non-alcoholic spirits includes non-alcoholic versions of alcoholic drinks, such as Silk Tree and Seedlip, which are positioned as spirit substitutes and have an abv of between 0% and 0.5%. It excludes all non-alcoholic beer and wine.