Each month, FoodBev will be interviewing a business leader from a different corner of the food and beverage industry. November brings insight from Kirsty Loveday, CEO of Love Drinks, a premium alcoholic drinks distribution company.
With research showing a decline in the consumption of alcohol among young consumers, competition is set to be fierce between the alcohol and alcohol-alternative sectors.
Love Drinks offers the opportunity for younger, startup alcohol producers to educate themselves further about the industry, enhance their branding, and ultimately refine their business to increase their chances of contending in this fast-paced beverage sector.
The alcohol market is ever-changing; how can it adapt to the decline in alcohol consumption amongst young consumers?
There is already a shift towards low and no alcohol products. For us, we will always remain premium and will constantly push those boundaries to stay at the top of our game. We believe drinking less but better is the key trend and therefore consumers will reach out for those brands who promote and sell based on authenticity, story, and the quality of their chosen liquids.
What made you decide that the alcohol industry was the one for you to specialise in?
I fell into this industry after leaving university, but the passion of the people is what inspired me to stay. I also enjoyed the challenge of making an impact and improving the selection of brands that are now available in the UK market. Championing family-owned or entrepreneurial brands where you can share amazing peoples stories and their passion behind what they do has always been incredibly motivating for me.
Being a female entrepreneur within a sector that is so male-dominated, have you faced many obstacles from various angles because of this?
I see being a woman in a male-dominated industry as an opportunity to stand out and defy any challenges that may have stood in my way. Ultimately, if you are passionate about what you do and professional in the manner you go about it, then these are the key ingredients for success and your gender really shouldn’t matter.
‘Liquid you can change, people’s inherent values you cannot and should not.’
What do you look out for when adopting a new client to your portfolio?
It’s all about having the same values. Liquid you can change, people’s inherent values you cannot and should not. It’s important that our brand owners have similar long-term objectives and understanding of what it takes to successfully grow a brand in what is an incredibly competitive and crowded UK market. It’s a long game, and slow and steady wins the race. A very open and honest relationship with challenges on both sides but a true partnership to work together and overcome obstacles is key.
What’s been the most challenging aspect of running your own business?
I’m very emotionally involved with the business, so I ride the highs and lows like a rollercoaster, it’s pretty exhausting but I give my all in everything I do. Challenges outside of my control, such as Brexit and other market challenges, I find difficult to accept. The most challenging is definitely the people element. People are at the absolute heart of what we do, so recruiting the right people, and retaining and developing them is critical to business success.
Why is it important for beverage brand-building companies like yours to exist?
We give the smaller, more authentic brands a voice. We have built a reputation in the industry, so there is an expectation that we only deal with the best of the best. It’s hugely rewarding to be able to develop small independent brands into key players in our market.
‘We support and encourage our customers to innovate […] and offer the best experiences to their consumers that they possibly can.’
Being uncompromising about the quality of what we offer will mean we are always aspiring to be the best in our industry. We have also always understood that being successful in any business is more than just what you do, but it’s about why you do it.
We are incredibly passionate about the people in our industry, whether they be the brand owners, our team, or our customers, and we constantly strive to make sure we are adding value in all areas. We support and encourage our customers to innovate, use the best products and offer the best experiences to their consumers that they possibly can.
We put emphasis on the wellbeing of all the people we work with, hence the launch of our newest initiative LфVE Well, which is a partnership with Healthy Hospo and a Mibody Fitness to offer wellness and fitness support to some of the partners we work with. Look out for our website!
Kirsty Loveday was talking to FoodBev Media’s Harriet Jachec.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019