North-West natural energy drink firm Crave Drinks has secured a £20,000 loan from GC Business Finance. The cash will be used to fund the launch of its first product.
The firm’s say their new Virgin Mojito is an energy drink/mocktail hybrid aimed at a new generation of nightlife enthusiasts. Following 12 months of development, the drink is an alcohol-free alternative due to release in 10 bars and nightclubs around Manchester.
Crave Drinks aims to fill the new gap in the market inhabited by Generation-Z (typically said to begin with those born in the mid-1990s) increasing numbers of whom are rejecting alcohol. The proportion of drinkers in the UK is at its lowest since 2005, and almost one-third of under-25s don’t drink alcohol at all.
This health-conscious generation form part of a trend which has seen moves away from not only alcohol, but also gluten, sugar, and artificial flavourings and preservatives. Crave Drinks aims to meet these changing demands from consumers, providing healthy, vegan, alcohol- and gluten-free energy and entertainment. Crave also plans to launch a number of alcohol alternatives, including other cocktail flavours such as the piña colada.
The £20,000 loan, provided by GC Business Finance has given Crave the ability to break through the relatively high barriers to enter the canned drinks industry, enabling it to purchase initial stock supply. The firm is now targeting festivals and events, before eventually expanding across the UK and Europe.
Anita Rae, Director at Crave Drinks, said: “This loan has been vital in an industry which has relatively high start-up costs. Crave can’t be produced in a home kitchen, a large quantity must be manufactured per order, therefore initial investment was essential. The loan has provided a crucial stepping-stone to cover the funding gap between beginning and attracting external investment.”
“It’s been brilliant working with GC Business Finance. They’ve been very helpful, understanding of my cashflow and the importance of the loan in it. It’s great that there’s a function like this available for new business owners like myself.”
The Start-Up Loans Company is a government-funded initiative that provides start-up support in the form of a secured repayable loan, together with a business mentor for entrepreneurs across England and Northern Ireland.
Alex Mearns, Loan Manager for Start-Up Loans at GC Business Finance, commented: “We are always looking for ambitious businesses to invest in; Crave Drinks has been a fantastic partner in this regard. Our objective is to support these kinds of ambitious businesses that cannot access loans from banks or other traditional funding routes”.