IRN-BRU maker AG Barr is set to enter the alcohol-free spirits market for the first time.

The firm has spent £1 million buying a 20% minority stake in STRYYK, which makes alcohol-free rum, vodka and gin.

The Scottish drinks giant will also be the exclusive UK distributor for the brand’s parent company. Chief executive Roger White said: “More and more consumers are seeking a drink that adds positively to their social experience but without the side-effects of alcohol.

“We’re very excited to be involved in both investing in and growing the STRYYK brand in this new and fast-moving consumer category.”

STRYYK is the brand name for Elegantly Spirited Limited, which was founded by entrepreneurs Alex Carlton and Andrew King. The latter sold his previous business – cocktail mixer maker Funkin – to Barr in 2016.

Health-conscious millennials are driving the market in alcohol-free drinks and big-name brands including Heineken and Budweiser have invested heavily in alcohol-free versions of their beers.

Market research firm Nielsen recently revealed that Britons spent a record £57m on low or non-alcoholic beers in the 12 months to April – up 39% on a year ago.

They also spent £48m on low or no-alcohol wines over the same period. Non-alcoholic spirits, a market only three years old, is now worth £5m.