A vegan alcoholic drink has launched in the UK in time for Christmas thanks to funding from Business Enterprise Fund (BEF).
Following a health scare in 2012, Peter Smith and his partner Penelope who lived in Spain at the time, chose to eat healthier diets and lower their cholesterol to pursue a healthier lifestyle.
Besos Food and Drink business owner and inventor Peter, said: “One evening, as a joke, I mixed brandy with a drink called Horchata and the result was delicious. Horchata is the tuber of the tiger sedge plant. It’s a good source of oleic acid and helps to lower cholesterol – plus, it’s vegan.”
After success with Grupo Garvey, a major drinks company in Spain, which saw the need to fill a gap in the market and offered start-up support to Peter, he needed help to bring the drink, Besos de Oro (golden kisses), to the UK. Thanks to a loan of £10,000 from business lenders BEF, the company was able to tie together a distribution strategy, continue production and take on a new member of staff.
“We have now launched in the UK and Besos de Oro has flown off the shelves at fairs nationwide – we ran out of stock at the National Vegan Fair in under two hours! Thanks to the funding we’re expecting 80% of our trade to occur ahead of Christmas.”
Peter has employed Charlie Butlin to manage marketing and business development to help the product’s progression in the UK market.
“We’ve spent a lot of time attending fairs, distributing the product and creating an online buzz but we couldn’t have got where we are today without BEF who were so quick to respond to our need,” added Peter.
The Besos Food and Drinks team is also launching a vegan friendly milk alternative, enriched with calcium and vitamins D2 and B12. There are also plans to expand his vegan range to manufacture cheese, ice-lollies and chocolate.
Julie Micklethwaite, investment manager for start-ups at BEF, said: “We’re really excited to see Peter’s business kick-started here in the UK and I’m thrilled about the opportunities that have already sprung up for him. Besos de Oro isn’t just an alternative drink, it tastes great and will be on my table this Christmas.
“The festive, creamy liquor can already be found in Cross Lanes Organic Farm Shop, Barnard Castle – another business supported by BEF. It’s great to see two successful businesses we’ve helped develop working together,” added Julie.
Costco in the USA and Canada have been in touch with Peter and are discussing a substantial order of his alcoholic drink for 2017. Besos de Oro will also be launched in Germany, Holland and Switzerland next year.