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21 February 2024 • Resources

How to start a beverage company: 10-Step guide + tips for success

How to start a beverage company: 10-Step guide + tips for success

Consumer trends have changed rapidly in recent years. With the consequences of lockdowns, pandemics, and various crises, consumer trends have evolved.

In the beverage industry, ecommerce has become much more widespread than it used to be, according to Insider Intelligence.

Bars and restaurants closed, and gatherings were banned. Consumption of alcohol, in particular, has therefore been largely transformed in favor of ecommerce. What's more, people are increasingly wary of consuming products that are more respectful of the environment, of better quality and better for their health.

Whether it's soft drinks or alcoholic beverages, shoppers now want to understand what they're consuming, and they prefer to support committed companies rather than large corporations.

In addition, today's consumers like to find exceptional products, little-exploited niches, or goods with original packaging. As a result, new brands of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are appearing on big-box store shelves.

It's therefore possible to launch your own beverage line and turn it into a highly attractive, exceptional product. How do you start your own beverage company and offer a product that will appeal to as many shoppers as possible? Here are the main steps to follow to set up your future drink business.

Fruit juices, alcohol, energy drinks: How do you launch your new product?

When it comes to the beverage industry, there are many different types of products that can be launched: alcoholic or non-alcoholic, prepare the ground for marketing your unique products.

1. Conduct market research

Whether you wish to start a lingerie business, sell sporting goods, create a pet supply store, or begin another kind of venture, including one that involves beverages, market research is a priority for launching your brand and products and becoming a business owner. When starting a beverage company, you need to follow specific phases in your market research in order to make your mark.

  • The sector and consumers

What is the demand in your sector? This question will enable you to draw up a typical profile of your ideal customer and identify the various needs related to your future beverage company.

Who are these shoppers and what are their characteristics? How do they consume beverages, and how often? What drink ingredients, brand services, and product packaging will appeal to them and influence their purchasing decisions? Who buys the product, what is the size of the household, and what are their consumption habits (fruit juice in the morning during breakfast, a sweet drink at snack time with the kids, table wine with friends in a restaurant, coffee with friends, beer in a festive setting, an energy drink in the afternoon, etc.)?

  • Trends and competition

Through your analysis of the current beverage market, you'll be able to identify your potential direct and indirect competitors and understand current beverage trends. In the beverage industry, there are many players who play an important role in the development of product ranges.

When it comes to the manufacturing of non-alcoholic beverages, the major agri-food groups share the market with small producers who want to reach a specific niche of consumers. As for wines and spirits, a growing number of small-scale production is emerging for consumers wishing to consume better and more responsibly.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on: analyzing the competition and the market, identifying competitors, understanding the depth of the proposition, analyzing different pricing and marketing strategies, analyzing the manufacturing process right up to the marketing of their beverages, etc.

  • Environment and regulations

In terms of beverages, there are likely to be specific regulations, depending on your brand's target market. Before you set out to create your beverage business, and depending on the type of drinks you wish to sell, make sure that you check the regulations surrounding your products.

Depending on the recipe, the law imposes certain doses of certain ingredients. Labeling is also highly regulated in this industry, especially when it comes to the sale of alcoholic beverages. Find out how to create legally compliant products.

2. Choose the right business structure

Choosing the right business structure is another important part of launching a company. In the beverage sector, you can opt for any business structure to create your brand. To select the best one, you need to consider the size of your business and your sales targets.

For example, if you're based in the US, you might opt to launch a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company, or a corporation. 

Before taking the plunge, it's a great idea to consult a lawyer and an accountant to help you make the right decision.

3. Determine the ideal buyer for your drink brand

You now have all the information you need to determine exactly who your target customer will be. This will be the backbone of your entire business: without your ideal buyer, it will be virtually impossible to create the perfect product that will sell every time.

With the above data, you'll be able to understand where the people in your target audience come from and what their objectives are when consuming a beverage. Drinks are also a shared product: understanding who your ideal customer is also means understanding the people around you, and analyzing the needs of several potential customers.

4. Draw up your business plan

Drawing up your business plan is one of the most crucial steps in the early stages of business creation. This step will enable you to determine the financial needs of your future company and how you can meet your ambitions through the levers available to raise funds if you want to start your business with no money.

Your business plan is divided into three parts:

  • Context and environment

By going back over your market study, you'll be well equipped to explain all the characteristics inherent in your target market in detail.

  • Products and teams

In this section, you'll explain your concept, give details of your future products, services, and strategy such as how you plan to build your brand, and present your team.

  • Financial forecasts

Financial forecasts enable you to draw up precise budgets with the aim of raising funds over the long term. The business plan is the basic document on which banks and potential future sponsors of your brand will base their decisions.

Don't forget to highlight the added value of your brand and all the qualities of your future company. You'll also need to explain your business strategy well, along with your detailed market analysis.

As far as resources and personnel are concerned, make a precise list of all the key points you'll need in the more or less long term. And when it comes to financial forecasts, carefully note all the important points of your needs and your costs so that you can start your business with peace of mind.

5. Raise the funds to get started

In order to set up your own business, you'll need to raise enough capital or dip into your savings. There are a number of techniques you can use to set up your business: your own funds, appealing to private investors, asking your bank for help via a bank loan, opting for participative financing and online donations, or approaching your local chamber of commerce or commercial administrative offices to request business startup aid.

6. Create the formulation for your flagship beverage

Then it's time to formulate your product and your first range of beverages. Whether carbonated concoctions, health drinks, or alcoholic recipes, your first beverage must be able to meet the various regulations for the industry, current market trends and the tastes of your target consumers. What's more, this beverage will have to bear a fair price, depending on the sector chosen.

In order to develop your drink products, turn to producers and factories specialized in your field. You can also get in touch with specific distributors to help you with the logistics of sourcing and deploying your catalog. Regardless of the type of beverage you wish to offer, it's a good idea to ensure that you include high-quality ingredients in its formulation.

7. Produce your innovative beverages

Then it's time to produce the beverages: regardless of it's on a small scale with a producer or in your own brewery, for example, or in collaboration with larger operations, beverage production requires you to think through the entire chain from raw material to market.

Whether it's the processing of the raw material, the bottling process, the chosen packaging, the techniques for transporting the product to the trade, etc., all these elements are part of your sales and marketing strategy, and nothing should be left to chance.

8. Approach restaurants and hotels

To test your products on a panel of customers at the start of your business, why not distribute your beverages in selected bars and restaurants, or in certain hotels?

In your area, don't hesitate to make appointments with shopkeepers to devise partnerships with brands that can reach your target audience directly. Depending on customer feedback, you can then adjust your offer and respond to demand in a more specific way, to develop an even more successful product on the market.

9. Distribute your beverage in big-box stores

For the next step, you can also turn to the mass retail sector alongside the hotel and restaurant business. Large supermarkets and big-box stores often feature brands that are just starting out, particularly in the committed, environmentally-friendly beverage sector. Make an appointment with the sales people around you to discuss potential future partnerships.

10. Launch your own sales outlet

Finally, on the marketing side, you could launch your own business or online store to market your products and work on the development of your branding even further. The importance of having your own ecommerce site goes beyond the fact of being able to sell on the internet: having your own merchant site is the best way to ensure quality for consumers and reassure potential customers by showing the image of an established company with a complete marketing strategy.

By advertising on social networks or in the traditional media, you'll invite consumers either to visit your store or to consult your ecommerce site to discover your new company and become future loyal customers. 

Starting an ecommerce beverage business: How to open an online store

Opening an online beverage store is very simple: all you need to do is choose the right ecommerce solution. If you opt for an open source solution, opening your online store can cost you tens of thousands of dollars! This is because you're dependent on the expertise of an external service provider, who will charge you for even the slightest modification to your online sales site.

Consider turning instead to cloud computing and a turnkey solution such as WiziShop, which will allow you to launch your online sales site in a matter of minutes. With WiziShop, you won't need to monitor the technical aspects of your ecommerce site, and you'll benefit from over 400 ecommerce features for as little as $40 per month, with the first month at $1.

What's more, search engine optimization is WiziShop's top priority: a strong argument for making your beverages headliners on search engines like Google.

To help you in the launch and development of your startup business on the internet, WiziShop offers you a free video training course on ecommerce. And if you have any questions or encounter any problems during your adventure, our team of Business Coaches will be on hand for personalized support, as will Maia, the AI for all your ecommerce questions, available 24/7.

Don't wait any longer: create your beverage company and market your drinks on your WiziShop online store with a 3-day free trial right now!

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