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Our Beverage Development Process

Drinks chef has developed an industry leading end to end drinks development process, we take brands from concept to shelf. Working with the smallest of start-ups to SME’s and Corporations. 


Drinks Chef’s development program has our clients at is heart, we build a bespoke framework around each client depending upon their organisations size and experience. By taking a consultive and collaborative approach we ensure there is full transparency and knowledge sharing, our goal is to build independent relationships that mean our clients become specialists in their categories. Receiving everything they need to go to launch and beyond Drinks Chefs clients ultimately become drinks entrepreneurs.

Phase 1


We are experts in bespoke design for all liquids and specialise in...

Tonic Waters

Cold Brew Coffee

Kombucha Drinks

CBD Drinks

Energy Drinks 


Functional Waters

Protein & Collagen Drinks

Nutritional Bars





We look at our clients individual experience and skill set to build a bespoke framework to support their journey. This session is essential for all new projects to make sure that a brand goes into development fully informed. 

The meeting will be followed with an optional write up with business & brand suggestions followed by a further 2 hour meeting to discuss the feasibility report and review the initial concept. 


Build our brand/ founder narrative

Brand agencies & muse products

Analogous analysis of existing brands

Customer profiling brief for liquid design

Types of preservation

Brix of products

Ph of products


Small-scale production costs

Large-scale production costs

Draft value chain

Basis for business plan

Packaging formats

Shelf life microbiology

Labels/ sleeves

Printed packaging

Product insurance


Set out clear direction & objectives

Routes to market

Growth plan, building strategies that help improve profitability & long-term value

Funding & investment planning

Launch discussion

Term & role

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Scoping out is where Drinks Chef founders become your consultants, it’s the first step in our development process, and a must for start-ups with no prior experience of the food & beverage space, it gives clients everything they need to build out their business plans and strategies


Scoping out is all about helping answer all the questions that arise when starting a new business, developing an idea for a drink and brand. Whether that be in our 121 sessions or a question that arises on the go and requires a quick answer via a WhatsApp message or a quick call. We are on hand to advise.


We look to help build out the brand narrative, refine the founder story and help answer the all-important question “WHY?”  


Our scoping meetings focus in on market research and analogous analysis, helping to find the white space for clients products and more importantly taking a 360 veiw of the category being entered. We help establish the selling prices and look at the costs of goods and manufacture at both small scale and large scale, building out margin ladders to sense check the feasibility of products and develop the route to market and launch strategies that give the best commercial outcomes and define the pillars of growth the brand will home in on.


Clients spend time with our NPD team and define the formulation brief, we look at the specific ingredients required and how they mirror the brand DNA and the needs of the product both from a commercial standpoint but also an ethical or sustainability point of view. We will also look at the lead-times and the budgets clients have for the important initial ingredient’s orders.


Scoping out is finalised by agreeing the overall project and the time scales associated with the scope, it sets out clear milestones, a clear business trajectory and the critical path. 

Phase 2


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Recipe Specification Plan

Juice Content

Sweetness Brix Value

Sugar Source




Alcohol Source (if alcohol design)

Acidification Ph & Source

We will create you a bespoke recipe from scratch to your specification.

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Our NPD department will start working from the signed off scope, ordering the sample ingredients from the relevant suppliers that meet all of the key points from the formulation brief. Once sample ingredients are confirmed and receipted into the lab the fun begins, our clients are schedule in for the first live lab session. Clients arrive at our lab and are greeted with a range of base samples that the NPD team have been working on, these give a broad stroke of flavour notes using different available ingredients, pushing all the organoleptic properties and profiles. The idea is to find out about the likes and dislikes of the client, the first 4-5 hr session is to set a baseline flavour profile that can be further refined. Clients leave the session with a handful of samples covering their favourites from the day. These can be tested by their wider teams to gain valuable feedback to add to the thoughts from the session. A feedback call is scheduled with Drinks Chef NPD team enabling the recipe development to move to the next session


Each recipe development lab session moves the recipes and formulations closer to sign off, development session utilise client feedback and refines the formulations and flavour profiles ensuring that all key targets are met. Typically, clients take 3-4 sessions to be ready to fully sign off each recipe, however Drinks Chef have an agile approach which means even post sign off clients can make tweaks to recipes before committing to production runs.

Phase 3


Commercial Review

Ensuring your product meets commercial kpi's our team will review and build out

Launch P&L

Product P&L

Product Costing

Value Chain Small Scale Final Number

Value Chain Large Scale Final Number

Investment Milestones & Trigger Points

Supply Chain Set Up

Label Compliance 

Our labelling compliance experts work across markets, offering reliable independent advice for food and beverage labelling. Their extensive knowledge and experience means they understand the commercial pressures of getting labels right the first time.

Ingredients Ordering & Safety Data Sheets

Allergen Statements

Nutritional Table 

Sample Application onto Bottle/ Can of label or Sleeve

Packaging Compliance

Label Procurement 

Barcodes Procurement & Scan Checking 

Boxes Procurement & size Assistance

Pallet Regulations

Ongoing Shelf Life Testing

Quarterly real time microbiology shelf life tests from an independent laboratory

Monthly tasting sessions ensuring aroma, appearance and taste meet signed off characteristics

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At sign off of recipes handover packs are prepared, these are the clients bibles moving forward, they contain everything the brand requires to start the journey as independent drinks businesses. The pack contains, the recipe card and method of manufacture, an introduction to every supplier with in the supply chain with an active costing sheet which is editable to enable clients to update the ingredients cost if and when they change which keeps client on top of the unit prices and costs of goods.


Samples are made and sent to our independent labs for all of the necessary testing to ensure the back of pack compliance is met, nutritional testing and finalising of shelf life testing is completed, if there are any elements used in the formulation that the client wishes to add to the nutritional table Drinks Chef will test for these ingredients ensuring there is no degradation in the manufacturing process and over time post production. Any other compliance testing such as ABV will be instructed at this point. Ingredient declarations and allergen statements are added to the handover pack


The last step in the handover process is to work with our label compliance team to check all of the hard work with the creative teams will stand up to scrutiny on shelf.

Phase 4


Pilot Sample Run Mini


1x Product £POA 

2x Products £POA


We will run 10 litres of a product into finished packaging this includes below


Ingredient checks



Carbonation if required

Filling into Can or Bottle


Water cooling

Labeling or Sleeving

Boxing or Shrink wrapping

Micro Test 3 Bottles or Cans 

Micro & Nutritional  Testing 

Micro Test - 3 Bottles Per Product 10 Days £POA

Nutritional Testing - Per Product 10 Days £POA

Post recipe development all brands need product to go to market with. Clients will all have varying requirements, Drinks Chefs development process specialises in low volume manufacture, having our own manufacturing site with canning and bottling lines along with the capability to fill pouches means we have an agile and flexible approach which ensures clients can produce as little as 10 litres of fully formed final product for investor meetings and sales pitches to 1000 litres to take advantage of Drinks Chefs consumer testing or to activate sales and brand through pop up events and their own B2C webshops. 


Scaled Production


Once clients are happy with the feedback from their initial pilot runs they are able to continue their journey with Drinks Chef acting as their Co Packer, running to clients rates of sales rather than imposing minimum order quantities we specialise in helping brands scale in a sensible and considered way. Our clients run from 6000 units to 60,000 units at a time but when the time is right to move to a high speed production site we have all the contacts clients will ever need, they will seamlessly move production to one of our 3rd party partners and take advantage of margin gains available when running large scale productions.


Drinks Chefs clients can take their formulation to any manufacturers both in the UK and internationally for production, our supply chain is international and NPD and Production teams will personally hand recipes over to new manufacturers or travel to sites to walk the new manufacturers through methods of manufacture and the formulation briefs. 

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