'It's a terrible tragedy so many UK businesses sell out so soon' - Charles Rolls & Tim Warrillow, Fever-Tree

How we beat the odds: The founders of premium mixers business Fever-Tree, Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow, were scoffed at to begin with. Now they sell to 60 countries.

by Kate Bassett

Everyone thought we were barking mad when we told them we were starting a mixer-drinks business. 'You're going up against Schweppes?' they'd smirk. 'Give me a break. That's a worldwide brand.'

As the boss of Plymouth Gin, I'd become appalled by the quality of mass-market mixers. Add one of those artificial, saccharine-packed tonics to gin and it destroys its flavour and aroma. Tim, who'd worked in luxury-food marketing, shared my disgust. We first met in 2003 and decided then and there to start a rival mixer, made from fresh, natural ingredients.

We never imagined it would take us nearly two years to launch our first product. Dealing with all-natural ingredients has its headaches. We'd develop a drink that we really liked, put it through stability and ageing trials, and then find that the flavour had completely changed and we'd have to start all over again.

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