A soft drink brewery is looking to shake up the industry and challenge the dominance of the likes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi having just launched its first sparkling cold brew tea range.
Easingwold-based Fitch Brew Co was launched by Emily Fitch-Deeley and her husband Andy Deeley in early 2016.
The couple were inspired by a trip to New York, where they noticed that cold brew was everywhere.
“You can’t go anywhere without seeing it,” Ms Fitch-Deeley said. “I tried it and Andy tried it and we just fell in love with it. We just thought there’s something in this and I felt it would be really cool back in the UK.”
Last month Fitch moved to its own dedicated brewery after having spent time co-locating with and learning from other businesses.
“We finally got to the point where we were ready to go it alone and the business was expanding so we thought let’s take the plunge,” Ms Fitch-Deeley says.
Fitch has also launched its first sparkling cold brew tea range a move which Ms Fitch-Deeley hopes will define the business as a soft drinks brewery and not just a cold brew coffee company.
The sparkling teas come in two flavours rosehip, hibiscus and elderflower and chamomile and ginger.
Mr Fitch-Deeley said: “We use the cold brewing process in everything that we do. It is brewing but a different aspect to what people see as traditional brewing.”
Prior to setting up their own business Ms Fitch-Deeley worked at Brewdog in a national sales role. While Mr Deeley worked in tech startups.
The couple are looking to disrupt what they feel is an outdated soft drinks market and challenge the dominance of the big brands.
Ms Fitch-Deeley said: “We just want to define ourselves as the leading soft drinks brewer and just challenge what we’re seeing in the market, the dominance of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and pioneer a new movement for soft drinks.”
Food and drink trends have changed massively over the past two decades. All of Fitch’s drinks are vegan friendly - in fact Ms Fitch-Deeley is herself a vegan.
The fact that Britain is a more diverse country is also opening up people to the idea of different flavours, says Ms Fitch-Deeley.
“People are growing up with a huge range of products and it’s a lot more accessible too,” she said. “You probably wouldn’t have seen hibiscus in a soft drink ten years ago.”
Veganism isn’t just driven by a want to look out for the planet but also people wanting to be healthier.
Increasingly Millennials are also turning away from alcohol on health grounds, says Ms Fitch-Deeley.
She added: “People are more health conscious nowadays. There’s been a rise in the number of gyms, people wanting to do more exercise and take care of what they’re putting in their bodies.
“This no alcohol movement is a reflection of that. You’ve now got coffee shops on every street corner and I think the next generation growing up is meeting their friends there. That’s why there is more of a soft drinks focus.”
The entrepreneurs are enjoying being part of the startup community around York.
Fitch hopes to grow its operation in Easingwold by bringing even more functions in house.
“Hopefully we become a bit of a hub for soft drinks in the future,” Ms Fitch-Deeley says.
Learning to brew
Fitch wanted ownership of the whole manufacturing process. However, the entrepreneurs had to learn on the job to understand the best way to get the most out of cold brewing.
Emily Fitch-Deeley said: “Learning how to brew properly and get the best quality out of the product was one of the biggest challenges because we’d never done it before. When you’re a startup, you end up doing so much that it’s so far out of your comfort zone, which is great because you learn a lot but you also end up messing up a lot because it’s all learning.”