Name: Jordan Palmer and Matt Mahatme
Age: Both 25
Job title: Co-founders
Company & location: Lixir Drinks, London
Education: MM: Newcastle University, BSc Biology; JP: Newcastle University, BA Geography
Why did you decide to go for a career in drinks? JP: My brother has always worked in drinks so I learnt quite a lot about the industry through him growing up. I’ve always had such a good time working behind bars too so I’ve always wanted to build a career in drinks.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two). MM: We run a soft drinks company, Lixir Drinks, that produces a range of naturally flavoured tonic waters and mixers. As owners we’re overseeing all aspects of the business, from manufacturing to sales and running our social media.
Tell us how you went about setting up your own business. JP: Matt and I were housemates and working for leading spirits and drinks companies when we first discussed the idea for Lixir. The array of flavoured gins and other spirits in the industry was huge, but the same couldn’t be said for the mixer and soft drinks offering available. We thought there was definitely a gap for new innovative flavoured tonic waters to be introduced to the market that could be enjoyed as soft drinks alone, as well as compliment a variety of spirits (and not just gin!).
MM: We first began in our kitchen, trialling different flavours with our friends at weekends and seeing what fruits and spices complemented the quinine in tonic, as well as various white and dark spirits. Months later as the idea and brand was developing, we decided to quit our corporate day jobs and took up bartending at a local cocktail bar. This is where the idea for Lixir started to really come to life.
JP: In March 2018, we had finalised recipes and branding and had found a producer, so decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help fund our initial production run and see how the Lixir brand and products were received by the general public. We overfunded our campaign within 30 days and a month later Lixir was born. In the past year we’ve gone on to produce nearly one million bottles and are currently distributing to 10 countries.
What does a typical day look like for you? MM: Running a small company, our day-to-day tasks are quite varied. It can range from doing invoicing to sales and carrying out tasting masterclasses! Usually our day starts early, spending the morning doing any admin and emails. We’re usually out in meetings most afternoons and often venue launches or networking in events some evenings too.
What’s the best part about working for a drinks company? JP: For me, it’s the people you get to meet. The personalities in hospitality and trade are some of the best! Some days can be difficult and tiring but it’s usually the people that keep you enjoying it! Another great aspect is the industry is constantly evolving, with new flavours, products and trends happening, so you’re always learning and never standing still.
“The industry is built on relationships so you’ve got to be making the right impressions”
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? JP: My friends always think it must be great working in the industry as you can drink all the time, but that’s not usually the case as you’re always so busy. Another is the perception that every sector in drinks is saturated, whereas really consumers are always seeking new experiences and there’s enough business to be had for all brands out there.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? MM: Networking as much as possible and being approachable are the best ways to open the doors. The industry is built on relationships so you’ve got to be making the right impressions. Reaching out to companies that you like the look of directly and seeing what is available is really important; even if there aren’t opportunities at first, you’re then on their radar for anything in the future.
What’s your ultimate career dream? MM: To be able to create a team that spans both the UK and international markets, creating employment around the world.