Case Study Overview
Lovely Drinks is an award-winning organic producer of artisan sodas and juices, founded by Rick & Victoria. The production aims were ...
- To add a level of automation to their existing carbonation process
- To increase production speed
- Consistent carbonation
- Equipment to work alongside existing equipment
After assessing current production methods, Vigo supplied, installed & commissioning a Vigo manufactured 2 head carbonator & counter pressure filler.
Lovely Drinks is an award-winning organic producer of artisan sodas and juices, based near Bristol.
Founders Rick (right) and Victoria Freeman began making elderflower champagne using an old recipe of Rick's mums as their inspiration and elderflower from their garden. It was only meant to be a hobby but the drink proved too good to keep to themselves and so they began producing on a small scale and selling to local markets and food festivals. They experimented by adding roses which proved to be a popular flavour combination. Demand and customer loyalty grew, and they now produce a wide range of soft drinks, including garden lemonade, rhubarb tonic water and cucumber and mint fizz, using locally sourced, minimal ingredients. Lovely Drinks has won numerous awards, including Great Taste awards (20 awards), Taste of the West Awards and Bristol Good Food Awards. In addition to UK sales, they now export to Rome and Hong Kong.
Rick and Victoria have been customers of ours for many years and were already using filling, capping (as shown right) and labelling machines supplied by us, in addition to stainless steel tanks used for product chilling. The speed of carbonation, however, was holding their production back and was quite slow and labour intensive, so Rick was looking for a carbonator which would give them consistent carbonation and, at the same time, add a level of automation to their existing process. Production methods at that time included using a filler and in-bottle carbonator (stand-alone machines). Separate operators were required for each different step of the bottling and carbonation process (i.e., rinsing, filling, carbonation, capping, etc.).
We discussed the production requirements with Rick and recommended our Vigo manufactured 2 head carbonator and counter pressure filler (right). We invited Rick to Vigo to see the machine in action and were pleased to supply them with the machine.
Production using this machine allows Lovely Drinks to package their carbonated products into bottles at speeds of around 350 bottles per hour, with only 2 production operatives, whilst achieving consistent carbonation levels and fill heights on all bottles. The machine also allows the flexibility of carbonating small batch sizes on a lower budget [this is difficult to achieve using the alternative in-tank method of carbonation where batch sizes are always restricted by the size of pressure tank and a much larger budget is required for all the necessary equipment, including pressure tanks].
We asked Rick the following questions ...
Apart from taste, what do you think it is that has captured the imagination of followers of Lovely Drinks and led to the high levels of demand you are experiencing?
'The quality of ingredients is important and I think people like the simplicity of the brand, design and the product itself.'
Why did you choose Vigo for help with your carbonation requirements?
'We have been working with Vigo since we started and have always had a great relationship with them. They are local and always give a lot of useful advice with new equipment purchases as well as providing excellent support.'
What do you think of the equipment and service supplied?
'The equipment is perfect for our small run requirements and the service is excellent as usual.'
What are the next exciting steps for Lovely Drinks?
'We are planning now to install a fully automated bottling line at a new site we have acquired – we will of course be coming to Vigo for the equipment!'