Middle East

Erica Doyle, founder of Drink Dry

How did you come up with the idea of ​​drink drying?
I moved from England to Dubai in 2019. The category of zero alcoholic beverages was already there, so I knew there was an option. But it was simply not available in the Middle East. Since I am non-alcoholic, it was my personal conquest to introduce and build the premium alcohol-free drink category for adults in the region. We were the first move in this area. As such, the concept is completely new and it makes the most sense to contact the end user directly to open an online store.

How big is your business now?
We are currently a team of four working with many freelancers. We import products from the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium. Our warehousing and fulfillment operations, as well as last mile delivery services, are outsourced to third-party companies. Our largest market is the UAE, which reaches consumers directly through the e-store and has a presence in the retail and hospitality sectors. We have our own distribution and tend to work directly with B2B clients. However, if you don’t get the results you need, partner with a larger FMCG distributor to ensure you reach your KPIs. We also have a large number of export clients in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the Maldives.

What is the potential market size of the non-alcoholic beverage market in the region?
It’s hard to give a concrete figure, but according to recent statistics released by Lyre, alcohol-free spirits alone could be 100,000 a year for a total of $ 20 million. I think there is a lot of education to be done to achieve these numbers, but the signs to reach them certainly look promising. Arguably the fastest growing subcategories for us are non-alcoholic beers and spirits. In the United Arab Emirates, the non-alcoholic spirit brand Sea Arch was launched in December.

What are the most pressing challenges you faced when growing drink dry?
The first is to analyze the taboos and people’s perceptions of the quality and taste of the products under the Drink Dry umbrella. Historically, non-alcoholic beers and wines haven’t been great, so people are skeptical. However, over the last five years, there have been many changes in technology and the taste profile of non-alcoholic beverages. The easiest way to overcome this challenge is to get people to try our product. That’s why we partner with many other companies, from hairdressers to luxury luxury clothing brands, to introduce drinks to end users. The second challenge we face is the compliance process for importing products. Work with your local government to ensure that you are addressing the issue in advance to ensure a smooth launch of your new product in the market.

What is your expansion plan?
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are our top priorities, operating in Kuwait’s online store in the first quarter of 2022, and Saudi Arabia hopes to continue in 2022.

https://gulfbusiness.com/the-sme-story-erika-doyle-founder-of-drink-dry/ Erica Doyle, founder of Drink Dry

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