Beautiful British Beverages: In Conversation with Story Drinks

Story Drinks are lightly sparkling fruit pressés, each a blend of fruit juice and sparkling natural spring water.The result is a delicious range of light, refreshing, low calorie products. Story Drinks HQ is based just outside of Oswestry in North Shropshire,in a stunning rural location and I interviewed Founder and Director, Julian Sollom, about his vision for the business.  

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In Conversation with Story Drinks


Name: Julian Sollom


Occupation: Founder and Director of Story Drinks


In three words describe Story Drinks: Beautiful British Beverages


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How did your drinks business start?

I've spent my working career in the drinks industry with Pepsi, Bacardi, Hildon and now with my own Brand, which I started 5 years ago back in 2012. It all started when trying to buy a soft drink in a pub one day and realising there wan't a huge amount of choice outside of the high global brands we are all familiar with. 


Have you got a favourite product? What do you love about it?

Actually that is a really tough question because I genuinely love all the flavours. We agonise over getting the flavours right so when we finally do decide on it, we know we've got the product right. If you had to push me I would say that I particularly love our White Grape & Elderflower and the zesty zing of the Cloudy Lemonade... but genuinely they are all good!


What is your best-selling product? Why do you think this is? 

We have three products that sell at an equal rate: White Grape & Elderflower, Raspberry Lemonade and the Cloudy Lemonade with Rhubarb & Strawberry close behind. The products are natural and a careful balance of the juice flavours we use and being gently sparkling they have a light refreshing quality to them that our customers always comment on.


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What do you love most about running your drinks business?

I think it's a mixture of excitement and terror in equal measure....but ultimately, you have control of your products and the decisions you make for the business, you get to work with some really great people in bringing your products to life. There is a real pride walking into an outlet to see your own products on the shelves. I get a real buzz out of that. 


With all that has been achieved in your career so far, what are you most proud of?

I was fortunate to work with some really great brands over the years including the launch of J20 and Pepsi Max as well as Bacardi Breezer which were high points. However, there is nothing like the journey involved in creating your own product; there is just so much involved from concert to design, to flavour choices to packaging, marketing and finally producing a product.So creating my own brand and range is my proudest achievement to date. 


What one piece of advice would you give to someone thinking of starting their own food and drink business? 

My experience has been that the highs and lows of trying to get a fledgling brand off the ground are not for everyone. The market is a tough place and your need extraordinary resilience and determination to succeed and everyone I speak to who works for themselves underestimates the sheer hard work and sacrifices required in the early years. So my advice would be, consider everything very carefully before taking the plunge to give yourself the best chance of success. 


What are your plans for the business this year?

There are a number of challenges for the UK this year, not least of which is the forthcoming sugar tax on soft drinks which requires us to reformulate all our recipe. Outside of the UK I am doing a lot of work in both the Far East and the USA to extend the reach of the Brand and that's keeping us busy along with some new product developments which we are constantly looking at.


Quick Fire Get to Know You Questions:

Favourite Colour? RED

Favourite Food? We live in "Food Heaven" in Shropshire, far too many to list but I always enjoy a good steak.

Favourite Tipple? Ultimate Mojito

Hobby? Rowing and Windsurfing

Favourite place to visit in Shropshire? Way too many to list, but there is nothing better than the sweeping views from the top of the Shropshire Hills.


Help Story Drinks develop their Low Sugar ZERO range by supporting their Tesco Backit Campaign.