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Riverside Inverclyde Welcomes Specialist Small-Batch Bottler, The Start-Up Drinks Lab, To New Premises At Its Kelburn Business Park Development


 Above L-R: Andrew Bowman (Head of Business Investment - Ri), Craig Strachan (Co-Founder SUDL), Hannah Fisher (Co-Founder - SUDL) and Gerry McCarthy (Chair - Ri)  

Riverside Inverclyde (Ri), the organisation delivering the economic redevelopment of Inverclyde in the west of Scotland, has welcomed a new tenant, The Start-Up Drinks Lab, to its Kelburn Business Park development in Port Glasgow.

A contract manufacturer and bottler specialising in small batch production to help create a variety of craft drinks including soda, beers, ciders and premium ready to drink (RTD) beverages, the business is the brainchild of Hannah Fisher and Craig Strachan who started it last year.  And already, since mid-June this year when it kicked-off production, it has secured full order books for its first three months of trading.

Craig said: “There has been a huge upsurge in demand throughout the UK particularly for craft soda products, driven by consumers who don’t drink alcohol and are seeking brands with provenance, craftsmanship and experimental flavours.

“The problem for many craft soda makers is that contract manufacturers insist on large scale orders.  We believe we have uncovered a gap in that market by offering small batch bottling opportunities for batches of just 500 litres.”

  

Above: Hannah Fisher and Craig Strachan launched their business in 2017 alongside their own individual lines of soft drinks

Gerry McCarthy, Chair of Ri, said: “We welcome the Start-Up Drinks Lab to Kelburn Business Park. Its presence adds further growth to the embryonic food & drink sector in Inverclyde.  Hannah and Craig complement the mix of businesses across multiple sectors that Ri has recently attracted to Inverclyde and we wish them great success. 

“Ri was created to attract new companies and help expand existing, businesses to the area and play a leading role in the regeneration and economic development of Inverclyde.  Innovative and dynamic young businesses like The Start-Up Drinks Lab are fundamental to the renaissance of Inverclyde and Ri looks forward to building a stronger local economy and more jobs for local people.”

Hannah said: “Craig and I both live in Glasgow and scouted all over the west of Scotland for suitable premises. Aside from Ri, our aims and ambitions were met with degrees of indifference and where we did make some progress, we were offered totally unsuitable accommodation.

“Ri went above and beyond to make it easy for us to choose to bring our business to Inverclyde. We have signed a five year lease and are confident that we will be able to access more space as we expand, so we are delighted to have found the ideal base here at Kelburn Business Park.

“We have also been helped also by corporate investment from Scotmid Cooperative as well as public sector support from Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway and Scottish Edge, who liked our ideas and have made an investment in our business.”

 

Earlier this summer, The Start-Up Drinks Lab was awarded a funding and support package of £75,000 by Scottish Edge to assist its future growth and success.  It currently employs six people at the Kelburn plant and aims to create 15 jobs by 2021. 

The company secured recently also a compounding license and as a result can now mix or dilute spirits to create RTDs for distilleries and has started to welcome Scottish beer and cider producers which can bottle, label and box on site.  This provides a much-needed service to the country’s brewing sector.

In addition to small-scale contract bottling it offers also a product development facility in its trial kitchen, brand design and distribution as well the imminent launch of its dedicated e-shop to showcase the best of hard-to-find craft drinks.

Ri’s Kelburn Business Park has been filling up rapidly, with one remaining 15k sq ft unit, Block A available.

Published: 22 August 2018