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Spirits development consultancy launches own experimental range

Spirits consultancy The Start-Up Drinks Lab has shifted away from supporting other brands to launch their drinks - to produce one of its own.

Founded in 2017 by Hannah Fisher and Craig Strachan, The Start-Up Drinks Lab was designed as a platform to help drinks entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market, with services including brand and recipe development, trial production and commercial guidance. The Port Glasgow-based company now counts companies such as Diageo and Fever-Tree among its clients, as well as entrepreneurs.

But in their down-time, Fisher and Strachan have been working on their own experimental series, The Drinks Lab: Out of Hours Spirit Experiments, through which they have created a number of small-batch spirits.

The duo is now ready to officially launch the first spirit in the series: Strange Bedfellows Experiment 001 (Batch 001). It is the result of experiments to bring together a bespoke dark rum and a single malt Scotch whisky in one product.

The Drinks Lab's Secret Society of Distillers developed 18 rums to match the whisky - a cask from the Highlands - before making their selection as its partner.

While the team expects a mixed reaction from whisky fans to a product which combines single malt Scotch with another spirit, they are excited to have brought their first experimental project to fruition.

Strachan and Fisher expect to release a handful of other experimental spirits throughout 2021 and beyond.

Fisher said: "This range of spirits is the perfect outlet for our team's wonderfully quirky and innovative ideas. Everyone in the team is enthusiastic about a wide variety of drinks and constantly questioning how they can be evolved or adapted to create a new taste. This collection channels this creativity and allows spirit-curious drinkers to be part of the thought process."

Only 880 bottes of Strange Bedfellows Experiment 001 (Batch 001) (42% ABV) will be released initially and will be exclusively available from

1 April 2021 - Bethany Whymark