Cover Story Food Retail

Four blueprints for starting a spirits company

How four independent distilleries with very different formats launched. There are easy ways to set up an urban spirits startup, and then there’s East London Liquor Company, an ambitious vodka, gin and whisky distillery established in 2014. Its site also hosts a bar and the company runs a small distribution business, too. Founder Alex Wolpert brought years of experience in …

Food Retail Workshop

Timing the supermarket sweep

Pasta sauce maker Mr Organic is part of a wave of startup food and drink brands biding their time before they agree on a supermarket deal. ‘The plan is to make organic food more accessible,’ says Kostas Papakostas, co-founder of grocery brand Mr Organic. He says supermarkets are an inevitable step towards reaching that goal. The only question for Papakostas …

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Distilling the details

The tactics small-scale producers used to change the landscape of the spirits industry.  It takes some guts to enter an industry dominated by global players with very strong brands, in a category that was decidedly uncool, and with an obstructive and seemingly impenetrable licensing regime in place. It’s remarkable that a handful of entrepreneurs were able to make their mark …

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Food Workshop

How to get expert advice for your startup

With no experience in the food and drinks industry, Tea Rex’s founder landed a veteran to help get his tea brand off the ground. Like many a startup founder, Andrew Walker was left scratching his head when it came to several technical aspects of launching his fruit tea startup. How to get stocked in a supermarket? What’s the right price? …

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Food Workshop

Meet the motorway service stations that are embracing artisan food

Retail has become a cash cow for motorway service stations. Westmorland Family brought in £92m last year from just two outlets thanks to posh sausage rolls. About 30 miles north of Bristol along the M5, there’s an artisan petrol station. Gloucester Services houses an on-site butchers where people pre-order meat, stating whether they’ll be travelling north or south. Many don’t …

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Two is the magic number: business co-founders share the secrets of their partnerships’ success

The relationship between business co-founders can be the most emotionally demanding in a person’s life. It can also be the factor which determines the success or failure of a company: the double act.  In 2009, the Blackberry was so popular it was being referred to as the Crackberry. It accounted for half of all smartphones being sold. It was even credited …

Food Workshop

Liquid nitrogen is expensive and dangerous to use. Is it worth it to make ice cream?

The ‘flash-freezing’ effects of a scary chemistry lab substance are being deployed on ice cream. Is it a gimmick or a game changer? For the last six years, Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur has donned his protective gloves and poured liquid nitrogen into his ice cream mixer. Tourists stare as they pass his shop, Chin Chin Labs, in Camden Stables, with its industrial …

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Courier Life Food

Cooking with colour: turmeric and squid ink

Pigments – which work by absorbing certain wavelength of light and, unlike dyes, don’t dissolve in water – traditionally come from biological sources. Here, two London chefs use bright turmeric and slick squid ink to create two pigment-packed dishes. by Rohit Ghai, Jamavar Turmeric powder, packed with the lurid orange pigment ‘curcumin’, is often considered to be more about the …