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Reaching for the Starlings: 15 drink entrepreneurs to watch in 2021

Whether it’s a bold new gin brand, an enticing non-alcoholic alternative or an innovative new product never seen before, entrepreneurs in the drinks industry have really pushed the boat out in recent years, bringing exciting products to market. 

In partnership with Starling Bank, the Reaching for the Starlings campaign shines a spotlight on exciting entrepreneurs making waves in their industry in the UK. Here are our 15 drink entrepreneurs to watch in 2021.

Harry Farnham & Will Best - Bloody Drinks

Harry Farnham and Will Best are the co-founders of Bloody Drinks, an award-winning brand of canned Bloody Mary drinks described as a ‘bar-standard tinned cocktail’. The Bloody Classic only uses natural ingredients, with no nasties, colourings or flavour enhancers.

Oli Clements & Matija Pisk - DRTY Drinks

Oli Clements and Matija Pisk are the co-founders of DRTY Drinks, a range of hard seltzer, carb-free alcohol drinks that use natural ingredients to create bold, fruity flavours. DRTY says it makes drinks “people actually want, not pretend to want”.

Philip Udeh - Füd Vitamin Energy

Philip Udeh is the founder of Füd Vitamin Energy, a range of canned vitamin energy drinks designed for pre-workouts, post-lunch beverages or as mixers. Its blend of natural caffeine is designed to boost energy and focus, with B-Vitamins to regulate mood and maintain mental performance. He created the brand after struggling with chronic fatigue due to Sickle Cell Anaemia.

Yemi Awopetu & Paul Otote - HerbyBox

Yemi Awopetu and Paul Otote are the co-founders of HerbyBox, an easy-to-use range of box sets containing everything you need to make fresh herbal tea. Using only quality plants, each HerbyBox is packed and mixed with herbs tailored to each customer’s requirements, based on taste and benefits.

Samuel Williams - Las Olas

Samuel Williams is the founder of Las Olas, a range of premium and contemporary spiced rums. Its production methods and ingredients were inspired by trips to Jamaica, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize, and their drinks are designed to represent what rum means to people living in those communities.

Camilla Ainsworth - M+LKPLUS

Best known for her time on BBC’s The Apprentice, Camilla Ainsworth is the founder of M+LKPLUS, a brand of ‘super sassy’ grab-and-go nut milk drinks. M+LKPLUS has a range of gourmet flavours all with high nut content, low sugar and no nasties.

Amanda Miles-Ricketts - Niche

Amanda Miles-Ricketts is the founder of Niche, a brand of uniquely hand-blended craft and artisanal herbal teas. Sourced from sustainable farms, its whole leaf teas are designed to create a ‘complete body and mind herbal experience’.

Jonny Wilkinson - No.1 Living

No.1 Living is a range of natural and healthy kombucha, water kefir and health shot drinks, created by England rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson. Its drinks are sugar-free and contain live cultures designed to inspire a ‘happier, healthier and more fulfilled life’.

Dmitry Klochkov - OFFBLAK

Dmitry Klochkov is the founder of OFFBLAK, a letterbox subscription service offering a range of premium green, herbal and fruit teas. Its innovative flavours have been given Great Taste awards and are vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free, free from artificial flavours and almost zero calories.

Ben Branson - Seedlip Drinks

Ben Branson is the founder of Seedlip Drinks, a brand offering a range of high-quality non-alcoholic cocktail drinks. It uses a bespoke distillation process for each individual ingredient to create spiced and citrus spirits.

Talula White - Sekforde

Talula White is the founder of Sekforde, the world’s ‘first and only’ range of mixers created for specific spirits. It focuses on delicate flavours that complement, rather than overpower, the taste of the spirits. Each drink is 100% natural and low in sugar, which Talula believes makes them great as soft drinks in their own right.

Alex Foss Sims & Theo Garcia - Solo Coffee

Alex Foss Sims and Theo Garcia are the co-founders of Solo Coffee, an espresso-strength cold brew coffee brand based in Shoreditch. Translating to ‘just coffee’ in Spanish, Solo Coffee aims to brew one thing - straight black cold brew coffee - and ‘brew it to perfection’.

Robyn Simms & Ed Taylor - Square Root Soda

Robyn Simms and Ed Taylor are the co-founders of Square Root Soda, a brand of non-alcoholic soda drinks. Each drink is made seasonally to maintain the freshness of its fruit and maximise taste. It’s only made with natural ingredients that ‘you’d find in your kitchen...not ones you can’t even pronounce’.

Hannah & Tori - Still Sisters Gin

Sisters Hannah and Tori are the co-founders of Still Sisters Gin, a range of artisan spirits based in Somerset. Using only ingredients sourced from small, local family businesses, the duo are inspired by their childhood blended drinks with their dad, always promising to keep it simple, never compromise on quality and be the best at what they do.

Anna Stopps - Tom’s Teas

Anna Stopps is the founder of Tom’s Teas, an award-winning brand of children’s fruit tea that offers healthier drink choices for kids. Its flavours are fruit infusions inspired by childhood dessert favourites and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Tailoring them to children, each tea is free from caffeine, sugar and artificial sweeteners.