Drinks maker combines shot of innovation with a measure of heritage

At botanically-brewed drinks maker Fentimans, innovation is everything.

“We do all our own R&D,” says boss Eldon Robson. “We’re small and nimble so we experiment a lot with new products. We’ve just launched a range of syrups, which is a completely new direction for us.”

Tapping into the hot "premiumisation" trend, and the booming cocktail market, these syrups will be used by mixologists to add the heat of ginger to a bellini or give a gin and tonic a hint of cucumber.

New products may be key to driving growth but the business is steeped in heritage. Its drinks are made using ancient family recipes: “Many years ago, on my mother’s side of the family, we were producing these drinks in stone jars,” says Robson, the great grandson of the brand’s founder Thomas Fentiman. “You can’t buy heritage like that – although many other drinks companies have tried to fake it."

This is the reason the 23-year-old firm is committed to staying in the North East: “It’s the heartland of the brand. It’s where it all started.”

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