Natural Drinks Co - Skinny Tonic and Agua Tierra

All Natural Drinks Co products are sweetened by stevia

The Natural Drinks Co is set to take on the likes of Fever-Tree in the posh mixers market with a sugar-free range of premium tonic.

The startup intends to soft-launch its zero-calorie Skinny Tonic “within the next couple of months” in response to the “success and rapid growth of the British company Fever-Tree”. It will begin as a single SKU of Indian tonic water, with other variants to follow (rsp: £2.99/4x200ml).

The news comes as the business has kicked off a £750,000 Crowdcube drive to accelerate the launch of Skinny Tonic and Agua Tierra, a range of flavoured water. Both new lineups are sweetened by stevia.

The Natural Drinks Co, which launched its Frutree range of organic fruit-flavoured waters for kids in January 2016, is eyeing Q1 next year for Agua Tierra’s launch. It will be available in Lemon & Lime, Raspberry & Blueberry, Pineapple & Grapefruit, and Apple & Pear (rsp: £1.29/500ml).

Expected to garner sales of at least £3.3m in its first year, Agua Tierra’s rollout will see “the biggest girl band on the planet” as brand ambassadors – with details to be revealed in January. The Grocer understands it will be the UK’s Little Mix.

Money was already available to put both zero-calorie ranges in to full production, said The Natural Drinks Co, but success in the one-month Crowdcube drive would allow them “to be scaled quicker”. The crowdfunding campaign – which is giving away a 5.08% stake – raised £70,000 within its first 24 hours.

Funds would pay for targeted media, marketing and a rapid rollout plan, said Natural Drinks Co CEO Ian Minton.

He saw “a huge opportunity in beverages, with consumers across multiple different audience profiles looking for products free from sugar, calories and artificial sweeteners”.

The brand previously raised £750,000 from angel investors. Dominic Berger, CEO of the Angel Business Club, who coordinated the earlier round of fundraising said The Natural Drinks Co “naturally stood out from the crowd as a young, disruptive business with a game-changing business model”.