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New Start-Up Drinks Lab Is Fizzing With Innovation

Above: The launch event saw over 130 attendees at The Start-Up Drinks Lab

A new drinks business based at Riverside Inverclyde’s Kelburn Business Park in Port Glasgow is celebrating a successful first six months in which it helped other fledgling businesses make it to market while also providing a space for brand innovation.

The Start-Up Drinks Lab, which launched in June this year following 18 months of planning, offers a facility dedicated to overcoming the challenges in getting new drink ideas into the market, including a small batch bottling hall.

Borne out of frustration at not being able to find an accessible ­manufacturer for their own ­respective drink brands, co-founders Hannah Fisher and Craig ­Strachan decided to launch a ­contract manufacturing facility ­specifically for craft drinks.

Since June, the facility has filled nearly 300,000 bottles for a selection of drinks companies across the UK with clients ranging from small-medium sized drink companies, who haven’t been able to launch giving the volume restrictions for larger contract bottlers, to larger drink companies who are looking to launch experimental new products and trial them before committing to large volumes.


The Lab’s innovative Craft Soda School has been designed with ­client entertaining and corporate team building experience in mind and allows 10 guests per day to ­create a craft soda from scratch.

Not only do the guests decide what type of drink they’ll make but they’ll develop a unique flavour, design the branding, physically bottle it and then, two weeks later, they receive 200 finished bottles of their uniquely branded drink.

Co-founder ­Hannah Fisher said that the team have also created three of their own products – Just The Tonic (Scottish tonic water), Sparklingly Sober (non-alcoholic rose wine) and Wee Davie Cola (Scottish cola containing malt extract that’s described as perfect for mixing with dark rum) – in collaboration with Scottish bartenders, including Steve Mutty of Dandelyan fame.

Hannah said:

“The first six months have gone past in a flash – so much so, we had our launch party nearly a half a year late.

The support in our first six months from our investors, clients and the wider community has been overwhelming, which has led to us achieving a higher turnover than forecast.”


The launch event saw over 130 attendees from all walks of the drinks industry, reflecting the incredible impact the business has already had.

On reflecting on the launch night, Craig said:

“We were overwhelmed by the turnout on the night and the support from across Scotland gathering in Inverclyde.

“It was great to get a chance to show everyone what we have been doing, take a step back and enjoy an evening with a lot of the people who have supported us on our journey.”  

Hannah added:

“This event was our way of giving back and thanking everyone who has contributed to the business; either through purchasing our services, investing, covering us in the press or our long-suffering friends and families.

“It was great to share it with them all”.

For more information, please visit The Start-Up Drinks Lab.

This article was partially written by Sean Murphy and The Scotsman on 12 December 2018. Images courtesy of The Start-Up Drinks Lab.

Published: 15 December 2018