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Virgin StartUp Brighton- Meetup: How to start a drinks business

  • Platf9rm 44 North Rd, Brighton, BN1 1YR Brighton (map)

Virgin StartUp Meetup Brighton: How to start a drinks business
Ever dreamed of quitting your job to start up a beverage, bar or café? You’re not alone – the UK’s startup drinks scene has never been more exciting. An aptitude for mixology and passion for a good drink are two vital components to running a beverage startup, but there are other considerations too.

The good news is you don’t need a background in the drinks industry to launch a successful business. Join us on the evening of July 26th with three inspirational entrepreneurs discuss how they made their dreams a reality and started their own successful drink businesses.


Jess Titcumb, Twisted Halo
Jess took the plunge to step away from ...her career in Interior design to launch her drinks business Twisted Halo in 2016. Always an entrepreneur at heart the inspiration for her business came after a spin sweat session followed by a cheeky retox session with girlfriends. Jess realised she was truly bored of boring drinks and saw a gap in the market for delicious low calories and refreshing drinks. She craved a delicious alternative to a “skinny bitch”, and so did her friends. So then she thought, if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself! With no experience in the drinks industry Jess started out where any other twenty something would. Google. “How do I manufacture an alcoholic drink?” Fast forward to June 2016 and after a lot of hard work and late nights, Twisted Halo was born. Prior to setting up Twisted Halo, Jess had a career as an interior designer having graduated from KLC School of Design. She worked for international companies working on a variety of projects across Europe.

Doug McMaster from Silo
Douglas fell into cooking after dropping out of school and like a lot of cooks began in the pot wash. Young, yet determined, Douglas worked in some of the best Michelin starred kitchens in the UK. He has cooked alongside such giants as Fergus Henderson (St John) and James Lowe (Lyles).

Douglas became a young chef superstar winning ‘Yorkshire Young Chef of the Year 2008’ and in 2009 won the ‘BBC Young Chef of the Year Award’. In 2012, Douglas won the title of ‘Britain’s most irreverent chef’ at the first Y.B.F awards, cooking a tasting menu comprised of food that would have otherwise been “Wasted”.

Douglas met the legendary artist Joost Bakkerwhilst travelling in Australia in 2011 and quickly became executive chef and business partner of ‘SILO by Joost’; the world’s first waste free cafe in Melbourne. Here he won the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ Award after just 6 months of trading, as well as ‘Best Dish of the Year’ and ‘Most Sustainable Restaurant’.

On his return to the UK in 2014 Douglas launched the next evolution of SILO, conceived from a desire to innovate the food industry whilst demonstrating respect: respect for the environment, respect for the way our food is generated and respect for the nourishment given to our bodies. Everything is created from its whole form cutting out food miles and over-processing whilst preserving nutrients and the integrity of the ingredients in the process.

Krisi Smith & Mike Turner from Bluebird Tea Company
Krisi and Mike were inspired to set up the Bluebird Tea Co. whilst studying Politics at university. Their ambition to create is a happiness spreading, independent, award winning, Tea Mixology Company with a mission to make people happy with tea!

Starting off packing tea in their bedroom and attending markets, building Bluebird from scratch has been Krisi and Mike’s passion for the last three years. Now with an awesome team, multiple retail stores and a thriving international online store Bluebird is leading the way in tea innovation in the UK.

The name comes from the term ‘Bluebird Day’ which is a day with perfect blue skies. The motto for the company is ‘spreading happiness, one cupful at a time.’ and they wanted to choose a company name that reminded them of this every single day.

They also received the same StartUp funding that Virgin StartUp offer so we can't wait to hear how they have been doing since then.