Starting a new business is a thrilling venture, especially in an ever-changing industry like the food and beverage world. You may have a great idea that you know would sell, and it’s time to make that dream a reality. There will always be risks right alongside the rewards, so understanding the market, as well as the challenges you’re likely to face, is crucial to long-term success.
One of your first considerations will be whether you want to take on alcohol-free beverages or delve into the world of alcohol. One may be more straightforward, but the other could bring more potential for rapid growth and profit. Beverage companies can market non-alcoholic drinks to a wider audience, including kids, but you can usually charge more for alcoholic beverages.
There are pros and cons to weigh and important logistical differences and similarities to understand when developing alcoholic versus non-alcoholic products. This guide will walk you through specific factors for producing alcoholic and non-alcoholic commercial products and all the steps to take to start a beverage brand.
Differences Between Alcoholic Vs. Non-Alcoholic Products
How do alcoholic and non-alcoholic products differ? Alcoholic drinks have that extra ingredient that can make them more or less appealing to consumers, of course. There are lots of assumptions and precautions that go into producing alcoholic beverages. Here are a few ways the two sectors differ:
Different Markets and Audiences
Thinking about who will be consuming your products is the first step to producing a great product. You may have a much wider audience with non-alcoholic products because you can open them up to children and younger audiences. Alcoholic products will need to be catered to certain types of establishments and an adult-only consumer base. Your decision will impact which market you assess to thoroughly understand your product’s viability.
More Regulations for Alcoholic Drinks
There are, of course, more regulations and hoops to jump through with alcoholic products. This can become even more complicated because each state, and even local jurisdictions, may have different laws about when and where alcohol can be sold. There are also different labeling requirements for alcoholic drinks.
It can be a bit more challenging to get the ingredients to make alcoholic beverages since they’re separate from the food world, where many non-alcoholic drink ingredients are sourced.
It may seem like producing alcoholic drinks is more difficult, but they may end up being more lucrative for some businesses, so it’s sometimes worth the extra effort. A strategic advisory professional can help you understand your market’s needs and your best bets for your brand vision.
6 Tips for Starting a Beverage Company
Now you may know what kind of drink you want to get to market, or at least you’re in the ballpark. Here are six important steps for making it happen:
1. Get Your Branding Right
You will have to start with nailing down brand details like name, logo, and color scheme. You should align your materials and communications across your channels for brand recognition, which builds trust with your potential customers. Get help with your branding by hiring the right strategic advisory partner.
2. Follow FDA and TTB Guidelines
The FDA regulates foods and beverages distributed in the U.S., creating safety guidelines for additives, ingredients, labeling, and more. Your products must follow all these regulations before you can sell them. Keep in mind also that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) must approve all alcoholic beverages for sale in the country.
3. Know Where to Source Ingredients
Sourcing ingredients is another crucial step in creating the perfect blend. You may need essential oils, fruit extracts, juices, sweeteners, or other ingredients. It can be hard to know exactly where to go and how much you should be paying, so consider letting a beverage formulation expert step in to help you.
4. Find the Right Manufacturer
Not all manufacturers will produce alcoholic beverages, so be diligent about who you work with if you’re going down that path. It’s also wise to make sure they have reasonable manufacturing minimums, as larger manufacturers often require you to purchase runs of tens of thousands of products at once.
5. Determine the Drink’s Season
Will your beverage be evergreen or just for a season? Seasonal drinks can be major sellers. Think about the popularity of pumpkin spice drinks in the fall or refreshing fruit drinks for the summer. Be prepared to make this call as you’re formulating.
6. Prepare for Manufacturing
There are a few things to have prepared before you hire a manufacturer. You need to know:
- Your initial manufacturing budget
- The ideal case count
- The type of can or bottle you prefer
- Which certifications are important to you (organic, Kosher, etc.)
These specs may change based on your manufacturing partner, but it’s a good idea to nail down your preferences before you hire out.
These six steps will guide you through how to start a beverage company. Remember that working with an expert in the beverage industry will significantly improve your chances that you perfect your formula, source all the right ingredients, and ultimately create a product that performs well.
Get Started With MetaBrand Today to Launch Your Beverage Idea
Formulating and manufacturing a beverage product, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, can be a daunting process. It isn’t always clear how to start an alcoholic beverage company on top of your product idea. The right partner will ensure it all goes smoothly while making sure the market is ready for your delicious drink.
Connect with MetaBrand to initiate the formulation and manufacturing processes for your new beverage brand. We also offer Rapid Concept Development services, which help you increase your chance of success and financial returns when launching a drink product. We streamline the process to provide personal guidance about whether your product idea is viable and likely to succeed. Our services are backed by industry experts who know what to look for when discovering the next big beverage.