A waitress from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who launched a low-calorie canned cocktail business after losing her job during lockdown, has won 12 months of business mentoring and guidance valued at £50,000 through the Brew//LDN’s Brew//Accelerator programme for aspiring drinks firms. This prize has been supported by leading accountancy firm, Johnston Carmichael.
Siobhan Linney, 30, launched Thirsty Gal having realised there was a gap in the market for low-calorie cocktails. She worked closely with a drinks manufacturer to help develop her 90-calorie cocktails, which are almost half the calories of some alternatives.
Since launching Thirsty Gal, her range of low-calorie, ready-to-drink cocktails, has proved to be very popular at nightclubs and festivals.
Commenting on winning the top prize, Siobhan said: “When I lost my job in 2021 after hospitality venues had to close, I noticed there was a gap in the low-calorie cocktail market.
“Ready-to-drink [RTD] cocktails were really popular with people my age while bars were closed because of the pandemic, but most are really high in calories and sugar.
“I had no industry experience but was passionate about cocktails. I did a lot of research, found a company that could produce my cocktails with a much lower calorie count, and I’m really proud of all the progress I’ve made.
“I’m over the moon to have won this, and now the dream is to expand the business and run it as my full-time job.”
Siobhan, who currently works part-time as an event waitress while she builds her brand, produces three flavours – Lychee Martini, Passion Fruit Martini, and Pina Colada.
In July 2022 she received her first batch of drinks, which sold out within an hour at the popular LooseFest Festival in her home city.
Siobhan now sells Thirsty Gal to nightclubs and bar in the North East; she has also been booked for another six festivals later this year, which will help to grow her brand.
She won the prize through the Brew//Accelerator initiative, whose aim is to support the growth of start-up drink brands, including craft beers and ciders, and artisan spirits.
For details and applications for next year’s Brew//Accelerator, visit: www.brewldn.com/accelerator