New Start-Up Drinks Lab is fizzing over with innovation

A new drinks business based 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.

Published 12th Dec 2018
Updated 12 th Dec 2018

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 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.

Start-Up Drinks Lab

The Start-Up Drinks Lab range. Picture: Start-Up Drinks Lab

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 forecasted.”


Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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