Hand-crafted soft drinks brand, Dalston’s, secures major listing in Waitrose

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An all-natural soft drink start-up brand has secured its first listing with a major supermarket, launching in 140 Waitrose stores nationwide this month.

Dalston’s, a hand-crafted drinks brand based in East London, was started in 2012 by former chef Duncan O’Brien with the support of a £5,000 Government-backed Start Up Loan, after he noticed the growing consumer demand for high-quality, natural drink options.

Its five-strong range has just hit Waitrose stores, retailing at £1.89 per bottle. Flavours include cola, ginger beer, lemonade, fizzy apple and cream soda.

Dalston’s’ products all use fresh, natural ingredients to offer consumers an alternative to the major players in the soft drinks market. The brand’s cola and ginger beer variants fall beneath the sugar tax threshold of five grams per 100ml, containing 50% less sugar than leading competitors.

The business first started selling drinks in Dalston nightclub ’Passing Clouds’, and has since seen incremental growth. Last year it produced, sold and delivered 230,000 bottles. In line with this growth the business has also purchased a new factory in London’s Mile End to accommodate its growing sales, which is expects to hit £300,000 this year.

Dalston’s has also recently appointed ex-Cawston Press sales director Dan Broughton as managing director, as well as receiving financial backing from food and drink entrepreneur, Giles Brook.

Tim Sawyer, CEO of Start Up Loans Company, said: “Dalston’s is a great example of an innovative business that sits at the forefront of consumer trends in the industry. Its launch into Waitrose is a huge achievement for Duncan and his team and is a testament to their hard work and determination, especially in what is a highly competitive market.”

Duncan O’Brien, founder of Dalston’s, said: “The food and drink industry has seen a renaissance in smaller, craft brands over the last few years, which is where the idea for all natural soft drinks came from. Of course, having an idea is the easy bit – access to finance was one of the main initial barriers which is why Start Up Loans funding was so integral to our success.  Launching into Waitrose is a landmark moment for us – something which we’d dreamed of when we first started out. The next steps for us now are to continue to develop and grow our brand, and build on our fast growing market share.”