Non-alcoholic drink company launches in Weston 

Alli Briaris and Neil Merrick creating cocktail recipes for their products in the Drinks Kitchen development kitchen.

Alli Briaris and Neil Merrick creating cocktail recipes for their products in the Drinks Kitchen development kitchen. - Credit: Alli Briaris

A best-friend duo with more than 30 years' experience in creating drinks between them has started a non-alcoholic aperitif business. 

Alli Briaris and Neil Merrick set-up Drinks Kitchen in October 2020 and spent months working on their unique recipes, which the pair created in December.

Alli and Neil with a Drinks Kitchen stall at Frome Farmers' Market on July 10.

Alli and Neil with a Drinks Kitchen stall at Frome Farmers' Market on July 10. - Credit: Alli Briaris

Now, they have been trading for the past month - both online and at local shows and markets - and have finally been able to introduce the West Country to their flavour-filled non-alcoholic drinks this summer. 

Alli and Nick previously worked for the world's largest independent bottler of beverages Refresco and have 36 years' of experience between them in creating drinks for other companies. 

The pair use natural ingredients in their recipes, which include flavours such as Orange Cinchona, Spiced Rubarb and Herb Verde, which they sell in bottles which can be reused in a variety of ways, such as for storing oil, still or sparkling water in.

Drinks Kitchen flavours Orange Cinchona, Spiced Rubarb and Herb Verde.

Drinks Kitchen flavours Orange Cinchona, Spiced Rubarb and Herb Verde. - Credit: Barbara Evripidou/FirstAvenuePhotography.com

Low and no-alcohol sales soared by 30 per cent in the first two lockdowns as UK drinking habits change, and co-founder of Drinks Kitchen Alli said a health-kick drove her to start the company with her best-friend of more than 20 years.   

She said: “I was trying to get healthier and give-up drinking at the time and Neil and I have always said we need to start our own business.  

Alli and Neil with a Drinks Kitchen stall at Frome Farmers' Market on July 10.

Alli and Neil with a Drinks Kitchen stall at Frome Farmers' Market on July 10. - Credit: Alli Briaris

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“Back in 2015, I read about The Foodworks SW coming to Weston for start-ups, and we thought when it comes to town, that’ll be our chance to start our own brand. So, we hopped along to an open day and we both looked at each other and said, yes, let’s do it. We took the plunge and finally started our own non-alcoholic drinks’ brand.  

“We’re a month in and everything’s going really, really well. All the way through lockdown, we couldn’t let anyone try our recipes other than our families, and after attending some local shows and markets in the past month, we’re finally able to show what we’ve been working on, people have been really positive so far.” 

Drinks Kitchen flavours Orange Cinchona, Spiced Rubarb and Herb Verde.

Drinks Kitchen flavours Orange Cinchona, Spiced Rubarb and Herb Verde. - Credit: Alli Briaris

Neil, a former nightclub manager, and Alli with a background in food-and-drink marketing, have known each other since 2000, after Alli’s former boss asked Neil to pick her up on the way to work after Alli broke her arm. She said they have been ‘really good friends’ ever since.  

Alli added: “I’m so proud of both of us for what we’ve achieved and it’s so different from working with a bigger drinks’ company. I couldn’t imagine starting a business with anyone else.” 

The Drinks Kitchen logo.

The Drinks Kitchen logo. - Credit: All Briaris

Alli and Neil will be at Clevedon Twilight Market on August 14, which runs from 5-10pm.

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