Beverage Startups

Switchle – An Organic, Fermented Adult Drink Startup

Switchle - An Organic, Fermented Adult Drink StartupSugar Tax has a huge impact on beverage industry all over the world. Brands like Coca-Cola and Red Bull are looking for ways to decrease sugar amount. The market is perfect for new sugar-free brands to push aside some old, well-known names. Switchle is a new fermented soft drink with only naturally occurring sugars from the fruit juices and honey. Today, I have the pleasure of talking to Carlo Buckley at Healthy Sales Group/Switchle.

1. What inspired you to start beverage business?

We’ve been selling a brand called Honegar for many years within the health food channel. It’s a 50:50 blend of apple cider vinegar and honey that has been a very popular amongst consumers who swear by the benefits of taking apple cider vinegar as a daily health tonic. In fact, people have been consuming apple cider vinegar for centuries and it was particularly popular in the farming communities of North America during the 17th century where it was combined with honey, ginger and water to create an invigorating drink called Switchel.

We wanted to take this wisdom of the past and a largely forgotten type of drink a step further into an adult soft drink with unique qualities that are attractive to an ever-growing set of consumers that are both health and environmentally conscious. Switchle is our take on a modern British adult soft drink that we hope is relevant to today’s consumer. In the past, consumers have tended to have to compromise and we wanted to craft a soft drink that meant they no longer really had to.

2. Switchle is an organic, fermented adult soft drink. What do you think consumers are looking for when it comes to adult beverages? 

I believe they want a new experience but that still tastes great with positive health credentials. I think they’ve become tired of the standard offerings and want something different, exciting and with real ingredients. We’ve been painstaking in our pursuit to create something unique but also familiar enough for consumers to hopefully readily adopt into their lives.

3. Switchle has 3 different flavors. Could you tell us more about them? Which one is your most favorite?

We’ve taken apple cider vinegar, that is something of an acquired taste, and combined it with real fruit juices and botanical extracts that complement each other to create a great tasting drink that’s uplifting, invigorating and refreshing. We only use real ingredients and each Switchle is only slightly sweetened by the organic honey and fruit juices. It was important that each ingredient was identifiable and could dance on the consumers palate!

Here in the UK, we’re so heavily influenced by other cultures and now more than ever. That’s why we’ve carefully crafted the drinks, to combine earthy botanical extracts like matcha, turmeric, and rooibos – staples in other cultures and well publicised for their health promoting qualities – with some well-known favourites like ginger and mint along with well-loved fruit juice combinations.

We like to think that all three are fantastic and offer something different to consumers depending on their tastes, but my favourite is probably the Matcha, Lime and Mint Switchle – it’s so fresh and zesty with a subtle minty note. Close second is the Turmeric, Ginger and Peach Switchle which offers a slightly sweeter and earthier taste. The Rooibos, Raspberry and Pomegranate Switchle is probably the most mainstream flavour combination and if you’re into those fruits then you’ll love it. Importantly, none are overly sweet and the light sparkle really brings the drinks to life.

Switchle - An Organic, Fermented Adult Drink Startup

4. What are the biggest difficulties being a startup in beverage market?

There is clearly lots of competition in the market with more and more players coming into the adult soft drinks category due to its attractiveness and current growth. We feel that Switchle stands out from the crowd due to it being unique – we’re not another craft cola or sparkling water with natural flavours, which are easier concepts for consumers to get. There’s nothing quite like Switchle out there. This brings its own unique challenges in that we’ll need to more effectively communicate to consumers about why they should Switchle. However, as we’re so different hopefully this will cut through some of the noise. It’s early days but so far retailer engagement has been really positive and we’re hopeful that consumers will embrace Switchle and make it part of their drinking repertoire.

5. Where consumers can purchase Switchle?

From 1 June consumers will be able to purchase Switchle through all good health food shops. We also have a listing with Ocado that we hope will be live by then. Watch this space for other listings…we’re hopeful for some more big news soon!

6. Switchle line is available in 100% recyclable cans. Why this is important for your target market?

Switchle is in 250ml aluminium cans. We wanted to give consumers convenience but also have the best possible environmental credentials from a packaging perspective. This is something that’s rising to the top of most consumer’s agenda and rightly so.

There are many positive statistics surrounding aluminium cans but here are just a few. 75% of all aluminium produced since 1888 is still in current use, with 68% of the average can being produced from recycled aluminium. Aluminium cans also have a number of other advantages but maybe that’s for another day.

7. What advice can you give to those who have an idea to start their own beverage company?

Have a genuine passion for the product and what you hope to achieve through launching it. Do as much research as you can to make sure you have as good a proposition as possible in order to create the best possible consumer experience. The taste and the look of the product is undoubtedly key but think beyond that and understand what else is important in their lives.

For more information visit Switchle website.

About Ugne Butkute

Ugnė Butkutė is a project manager at DrinkPreneur. Ugnė is responsible for attracting contributors, maintaining quality of content and keeping readers satisfied with DrinkPreneur

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