Published March 19, 2021 on Brewing & Beverage Industries Business Spring 2021 Issue 19
Starting a new drinks business is never easy but the boom in craft beers means that many people like the idea of creating a new and different product.
Here are some pointers on how to start:
Researching your market and building your understanding is essential. The more established a category, such as craft beer, the harder and more expensive it will be to make inroads.
Research in the UK, and elsewhere. You’ll learn from other brands’ mistakes and get great ideas from the flavours they’ve used. Also delve into their consumer messaging and retail pricing.
Point of Difference
In the last 10 years there’s been A LOT of innovation in the drink’s category. So, to stand out you must have a point of difference (POD). Why should your targetaudience go out of their way to buy your drink?
A POD is not just a funky flavour or eyecatching packaging. It is being unique (and tasting great).
This isn’t a cheap industry to enter. One important issue is minimum production runs. You can develop a production recipe (as opposed to one made at home), get a brand name/branding, and then attempt to raise the money in order to pay for a production run; but it’s virtually impossible to raise money just on a basic idea.
It’s essential to have a clear financial budget, whether you’re self-funding or going to investors. The taste, the name, the branding, the distribution, the samples, the presentation pack for buyers all need to be spot-on from day one.
Developing your recipe
Making a drink at home doesn’t mean that it can be exactly replicated in mass-production. We work with recipe development experts to source the ingredients at a competitive price and ensure they work together – resulting in a drink that tastes like the one you created in your kitchen but will suit your co-packer.
Some ingredients just don’t blend. This is a very specialised area, and the recipe needs to be perfect. So, you will definitely need expert help to create an exact recipe for your contract manufacturer. And, for the packaging labels, you will need the nutritional information.
One area many entrepreneurs overlook is the regulation on Novel Foods, which applies within the UK and the EU. (See: https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/novel_food_en)
Not all ingredients are allowed to be used in drinks and this is determined by the Novel Foods regulations, so you need to be sure that all your ingredients are allowed. This will save you time in the future rectifying any obstacles you could have tackled in the initial stages.
This can make a huge difference to your cost outlay so you need to spend time researching suppliers, understanding the production runs etc.
Glass is still the cheapest option, though the weight and risk of breakage can make it less popular with wholesalers
Cans are very popular but minimum runs are high. For example, minimum runs for printed cans are 150,000 and minimum filling runs are 75,000. There are options to fill blank cans from as low as 12,000 volume and then sleeve them afterwards. It is a more expensive option but a far better way to test the market.
Understanding the best packaging for your drink and your target market is important. It’s a large part of your initial outlay so you’ll want to get it right. Also, a wrong decision could leave you with very expensive unusable product on your hands.
Co-packers (Contract Manufacturers)
Co-packers fill your drink in bulk so are a key part of the process. Make sure that the company you select has a goodreputation – maybe speak to otherbrands they have filled? Also make sure they have the right certification as that question will be asked by retailers and wholesalers.
Do you research, get expert advice and you’ll be at a good starting point with your drinks idea