The Start-Up Drinks Lab creates Local Selects to encourage Scottish food and drink consumption

Wednesday, 22 July 2020 Industry news

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The closure of the hospitality industry during Covid-19 meant independent brands lost their main route to market. Local Selects was founded to counteract this.  

  • All of the products featured in our packs are made in Scotland, and are not widely available in mainstream supermarkets.  
  • We currently work with 22 brands, to create 7 different packs, that feature over 70 different product options - and are always on the lookout for more!  

The Story 

When COVID-19 hit, we, like every other business in the world had to reflect on how we would deal with the crisis. The widespread struggle also meant any avenue that only took our business’s future into consideration didn’t seem right, and conflicted with the ethos of The Start-Up Drinks Lab.  

The Start-Up Drinks Lab is a drinks innovation agency with its own craft bottling hall, helping you go from "concept to shelf" within 3 months. Based just outside of Glasgow, we hand pack everything we make, our Local Selects are even hand delivered.  

Our experience in the manufacturing industry meant that we knew how many amazing products have been coming out of Scotland in the last few years, and we were fearful at what affect these unprecedented times may have. We have three in house brands (Sparklingly Sober, Just The Tonic and Wee Davie Cola), so know how difficult it is to compete with big brands when you don’t have the ability to launch a major marketing campaign. This is why the hospitality industry is so important to small businesses in able for them to grow. 

According to ONS 82% of adults from the UK in May said that they had not left their home aside from the permitted reasons. As a result, a new market for home consumption was formed. There was also a surge in support for small businesses, as it was commonly understood that they would struggle to survive. With this in mind we came up with the idea for great-value, diverse, packs that give small brands the ability to keep promoting their products. 

Craig Strachan, Co-founder of The Start-Up Drinks Lab: 

“In a similar way to many small businesses, we’ve suffered as a direct result of the closure of hospitality meaning demand for our brands as well as clients’ bottling has not been as strong. Thankfully we can be nimble and have adapted with the times, filling hand sanitiser in the bottling hall and supporting ours and our clients’ businesses through Local Selects. Lynsay and the team are doing an amazing job at keeping our clients thriving as well as offering our customers an exciting insight into new, tasty drinks.” 

Lynsay Campbell, Brand Ambassador for Sparklingly Sober: 

The main part of my job was building relationships with bars, restaurants, and shops, to promote Sparklingly Sober. Since lockdown, my heart has gone out to those who have seen their businesses have to close their doors, and I myself felt quite helpless. In overseeing the Local Selects project not only have I been able to reach out to brands and give them another sales outlet, but I have also neen able to see incredible feedback from our new customers – someone even wrote a poem! I consider myself extremely lucky to have been kept busy during this time, and to be able to have the opportunity to ease people’s time during lockdown in any way I could.”  

The Result  

A box of goodies, which can be both a thoughtful gift for a loved one or a treat for yourself. Each pack has a different theme depending on consumer taste, whether you want a range of soft drinks, have a sweet tooth, love cocktails or refrain from alcohol. There is something for everyone. 

The Future 

With nearly 300 packs sold, we have generated hundreds of pounds for Scottish businesses during these uncertain times. From the feedback we have received so far there is no reason why post-lockdown we should not continue to support local brands. Up until now, there has not been a collective way to share independent brands across Scotland. With the support we have received from Local Selects we do not see a reason to stop now.

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