During the day, The Drinks Lab team help others create innovative craft drinks. At night, they turn their attention to developing their own. After 4 years, they are releasing these spirit experiments in small batches, with the first likely to cause some controversy amongst whisky enthusiasts.
Monday 29th March 2021, Glasgow. Scotland. Established in 2017, “The Start-Up Drinks Lab” was founded by entrepreneurs Hannah Fisher and Craig Strachan to provide an innovation facility for those wanting to launch drink brands.
The company was formed as a direct attempt to solve the problem both Hannah and Craig had faced in launching their own drink brands. Met with constant challenges of batch sizes, low priority, poor client service and lack of knowledge, they wanted to create a platform that allowed anyone with a drink idea to be able to easily go from concept to shelf, in as little as three months. Their business provides this to clients by offering an “all under one roof” service including recipe development, branding, trial production, small batch bottling and commercial guidance.
Four years on, the Scottish-based business now employs 12 people in Port Glasgow and has a client list made up of entrepreneurs as well as large global drink companies including the likes of Diageo, TATA and Fever-Tree. During the day, the team work across a variety of drink categories including spirits, non-alcoholic alternatives, mixers, adult soft drinks, CBD and Hard Seltzers. At night, when the client work ends and both the development kitchen and bottling lines are lying empty, the team begin to experiment with their own thoughts for new drinks. The lab becomes their playground for bouncing quirky spirit ideas around the room – many of which have never been attempted before. After four years, the team have decided to release each of these trials, in small
The series is named “The Drinks Lab: Out of Hours Spirit Experiments”. The first to launch is “Strange Bedfellows. Experiment 001. Batch 001”. Aptly named as this spirit brings together two different spirits inside the one bottle. It all began with a curiosity of whether their Secret Society of Distillers could create a bespoke dark Rum to be the perfect bedfellow for a single cask of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The cask, No.652, was born in the Highlands and the Single Malt Scotch Whisky which lay inside it was light and creamy with notes of orange zest and fudge.
The distillers developed eighteen different Rums to match with the whisky, eventually selecting a dark ruby Rum with a base of Raspberries and Cinnamon. The two spirits collided inside the small, hand filled bottling line on the outskirts of Glasgow and their inaugural experiment was complete.
The team now wait with baited breathe as they know that many whisky fans will see the blending of a single cask of single malt with this unique dark rum as sacrilege but they encourage those spirit curious individuals to try this first test. A handful more spirit experiments will be released throughout 2021 and beyond.
Co-Founder of The Start-Up Drinks Lab, Hannah Fisher says “This range of spirits is the perfect outlet for our team’s wonderfully quirky and innovative ideas. Everyone in the team is enthusiastic about a wide variety of drinks and constantly questioning how they can be evolved or adapted to create a new taste. This collection channels this creativity and allows spirit curious drinkers to be part of the thought process”. Releasing just 880 bottles (42% abv) of Experiment 001 (Batch 001), “Strange Bedfellows” is initially available to purchase exclusively at www.drinkslabspirits.com for £35.00 (+ £2.99 for delivery to any UK Mainland address). Pre-ordering commences at 9am, Monday 29th March 2021 with delivery from w/c 19th April 2021.
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