Interview with Matt Mahatme, Co-Founder of Lixir Drinks. Matt talks about the inspiration behind the brand, what they are working on, and his predictions for the drinks industry this year.
Jordan Palmer and I went to Newcastle University together where we were working in a bar. During this time we noticed many people drinking flavoured spirits with plain tonic, as this was during the height of the craft gin boom. We had a lightbulb moment that it would make more sense, and be cheaper, to have a flavoured mixer than a flavoured gin.
We originally wanted to launch a social enterprise, but realised we had an opportunity to give back to causes we support through our work with Lixir. We currently donate 100 litres of clean drinking water for every single case of Lixir that’s sold, and our donations go to a local community in Kenya.
We are the only dedicated B-Corp mixer brand in the UK which is a really big achievement for us.
The cost of goods and cost of living crisis over the last year has been really challenging – glass skyrocketed in price and our C02 was double the year before. Managing this as a startup, whilst also trying to focus on growth, has definitely been a challenge.
As an ongoing challenge, we are also competing against billion-pound competitors, which means it is crucial for us to think creatively about how we get in front of customers. We have to think about what our “why” is and how we differentiate ourselves from other competitors.
We have been really fortunate that 90% of our international contacts have come via social media, which demonstrates the power of having a presence on Instagram and TikTok. Expanding internationally has been an eye-opening experience as we see different flavours favoured by different countries, for example, Ginger beer sells really well in Belgium. It is really exciting for us to see the potential for our flavoured tonics across the globe.
The shift in public opinion that we need to be doing more for the environment, and that companies need to be doing more, has meant that we are actually seeing customers like Asda, and big pub groups, taking ESG more seriously. This is great for us as these expectations from customers align with the Lixir values and give us an opportunity to pitch for bigger retailers.
I think it will be a slow movement, but we are already seeing mixers move towards other spirits. When we think traditionally about mixers, you have those such as Coca-Cola, and then people tend to think of tonic water for G&Ts. In fact, tequila and tonic is an incredible drink together, and I think we will see a big shift towards people utilising tonic across a wider range of spirits. As well as this,I think we will see a lot more innovation in flavours that we haven’t seen previously.
We have two new flavours in the pipeline which are currently top secret – we are excited to keep innovating to provide new experiences to our customers.
We also want to build on our UK success so far and continue to make a success out of our Asda launch and establish ourselves as a retail player. We want to continue to build on our success in premium pubs and bars, making Lixir a household name in the mixer space.