This is for everyone emerging from the challenges of Dry January, or even for those who bypassed it altogether.
As we enter not-so-dry February, ditch the habit of ordering the same old pint at the pub, or of buying the same wine at the supermarket – it’s time to experiment with what the delectable startups in the industry have to offer.
Introducing the colourful array of startups that specialise in cooking up delicious, sustainable and imaginative beverages that are changing the alcohol landscape.
What Are The Biggest Alcohol Companies?
When thinking of alcohol companies, thoughts may be clouded by the big names in the game: Carlsberg, Heineken, Smirnoff, Beefeater, and so on.
These companies have undoubtedly made significant contributions, enriching pub experiences worldwide. However, amidst their prominence, it’s easy to overshadow the burgeoning startups in the field.
After all, the alcoholic drinks market is projected to generate a revenue of $1,176.0bn in 2024, according to Statista. There’s plenty of space for new players on the field to make their mark.
Alcohol Industry Trends
Alcohol isn’t confined to what you order at your local bar; it’s a dynamic and evolving industry, continuously seeking new trends and enhancements to stay relevant in changing times.
To begin with, non-alcoholic drinks have become far more popular, with many brands offering non-alcoholic versions of drinks or even focusing on providing non-alcoholic drinks exclusively.
Moreover, consumer expectations have evolved. While a century ago, exotic concoctions like espresso martinis or tropical cocktails were unheard of, today, we crave innovative flavours, fermented extracts, and vibrant mixers to tantalise our taste buds.
Today, we expect to buy drinks in conveniently packaged cans as opposed to just bottles (you can even get wine in a can these days) while the demand for eco-friendly packaging underscores the industry’s push towards sustainability.
Modern packaging solutions prioritise lightweight materials, recyclability, and a reduced carbon footprint, reflecting a concerted effort to embrace sustainability in the alcohol industry.
Top 10 Alcohol Startups
1. DEFY Wine
We’ve already mentioned wine in a can, and it’s already time to bring this notion back up again! And there’s no better company to exemplify this than DEFY.
DEFY focuses on making its products enjoyable, simple, and accessible to all. This is accomplished by putting its organic and vegan-friendly Italian wines in cans and kegs which can be drank from whenever and wherever you like. Better yet, the packaging is 100% recyclable, using up to 70% less CO2 than glass bottles to produce and transport.
If alcoholic drinks aren’t your thing but you’d still like to indulge in delicious gin drinks, CleanCo offers the ideal solution so you can enjoy a drink at night and not pay for it in the morning.
CleanCo crafts non-alcoholic spirits aimed at enhancing your drinking experience with their so-called ‘Clean Cocktails’. Enjoy delicious non-alcoholic spirits flavoured with everything from rhubarb to ginger to spiced apple.
3. Intelligent X Brewing Co.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already impacted all areas of life, so why should the alcohol industry be any different? Intelligent X certainly thinks so.
Intelligent X produces a range of beers which improve themselves according to customer feedback using AI. A machine learning algorithm is used to determine what consumers like about their beers, and then new versions are subsequently brewed which are more finely tuned to people’s tastes.
4. Reformed Characters
Reformed Characters is another innovative brand offering consumers a new way to drink, producing alcohol-free distilled drinks for “healthy hedonists looking to take a break from booze”.
Products are also vegan and gluten-free, created with naturally bold botanicals to make them pop, and low calories and sugars to keep the drinks delicious but not unhealthy.
Also offered in easy-to-use and recyclable packaging so the drinks can be enjoyed on the go, Reformed Characters focuses on creating drinks that are not only beneficial to drinks but to the environment too.
5. SXOLLIE Cider
The award-winning SXOLLIE Cider is created with sustainability firmly in mind. After growing up in South Africa, its founders create cider there with delectable Granny Smith, Cripps Pink and Golden Delicious apples before bottling in the UK. Today, SXOLLIE is the UK’s first cider company to be certified as a B Corp.
Better yet, SXOLLIE Cider has no added sugar or flavouring, is gluten-free and vegan, low in calories, and has no added concentrate. Only natural ingredients are used to ensure its cider can make a tasty impact on its consumers and a good impact on the world.
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6. Endangered Brewing
Established in 2o2o in East Sussex, Endangered Brewing produces a range of simple, uncomplicated and high-quality beers with sustainability and planet protection in mind.
As indicated by its name, this startup is focused on two things: beer and beasts, or wildlife. So, Endangered Brewing combines both in its company goals, donating 10% of its net profit to help protect some of the planet’s most endangered species, such as the Pangolin and the African Wild Dog.
Why not indulge in a beer and help charity partners such as The Born Free Foundation and Compassionate Conservation with these delicious planet-conscious craft beers?
7. Mastiha World Ltd.
Set up to import only the finest quality mastiha liqueurs straight from Chios to the UK, Mastiha World Ltd. aims to promote these delectable and unique spirits to UK audiences.
Not only is the company currently the only UK-based company that specialises in mastiha liqueurs, but it also offers an even more original customer experience by offering in-house training events and mixology competitions, to sponsored events and mastiha master classes and presentations.
Ever wondered what it would be like to take a sip of a beer specifically tailored to your tastes? Well, with Bar.on, this can become a reality.
Bar.on allows users to make their own personalised beer in a matter of seconds. Better yet, this beer can be planet-friendly too. Did you know that beer is around 90% water? Instead of shipping bottles of beer around the world, sending millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, make beer from water from your very own tap.
Mix any beer you’re craving with water from your own tap. Tasty, personalised, and eco-friendly. What’s not to like?
This one goes out to all the whisky lovers. bevvy allows users to scan whisky levels on Android and iOS mobile applications to identify any bottle of whisky. This, in turn, allows users to gain access to information such as bottler and distillery overviews, expert tasting notes, and price data, helping you to enjoy a glass of whisky like never before.
10. Pentire Drinks
Explore Pentire, a range of carefully crafted drinks distilled with unique botanicals native to the local Cornish coastlines, such as coastal spritz, seaward and adrift.
These sustainably sourced beverages use refreshing and restorative ingredients to create non-alcoholic spirits that are as good to you as they are to the environment. Pentire is committed to sourcing responsibly, primarily using fair trade and organically certified ingredients accredited by the Soil Association and extracted naturally so that they may offer a range of incredible health benefits to its drinkers.
Packaging is made with zero-plastic recyclable materials and the company’s carbon footprint is offset by DPD’s carbon-neutral fleet, achieving it the status of a certified B-Corp organisation.
How Do You Start Producing Alcohol?
If these startups ignite your entrepreneurial spirit, you might ponder the viability of launching your own alcohol startup.
Like any venture, it begins with thorough planning and research. Understanding the legal landscape of alcohol production is paramount, as is pinpointing a market niche and crafting a compelling business plan for potential investors.
Next, you must obtain the necessary permits if you’re plan is to create any alcoholic drinks, followed by sourcing the requisite ingredients.
Transforming these ingredients into delectable drinks involves selecting a suitable production method – whether brewing, distilling, or fermenting – and setting up a production space with the necessary equipment, which can range from backyard setups to renting specific facilities.
Next, it’s time to bottle it up! Think about your packaging: Is it lightweight? Is it sustainable? Is it eye-catching? Throughout this process, keep an eye on quality control and safety regulations.
Launching your marketing campaign is the final step in reaching your target audience.
Once you start distributing your product, ensure to take into account customer feedback so you can constantly make improvements to product quality, efficiency, and sustainability.
With a dedication to excellence, vendors and clients will hopefully become eager to stock your product! With time, your alcohol startup may too become one to watch in the industry.