You may have picked up a new crafting skill in lockdown or perhaps took on a 30 day yoga challenge, but these entrepreneurs took the extra leap and decided to set up a business, many for the first time.
The last twelve months have been incredibly challenging for all, from furlough and redundancies to being away from loved ones for unknown, prolonged periods of time, but there are a few lockdown success stories out there too. Some of these being excellent food and drink brands opening up shop for the first ever time.
From delivery services to lockdown liquor companies, read on to hear the success stories of these 12 brands born out of the pandemic.
Quickly becoming an influencer and editors favourite, Lockdown Liquor & Co. was one of the first blended cocktail companies to launch as a result of the pandemic, all the way back in April 2020 during lockdown 1.0. Three lockdowns later and it’s still the drinks brand of choice for many.
Set up by husband and wife duo, Natasha and Jack Durling, the pair was created to add a little spark to the endless Zoom catch-up quizzes and calls with friends, and it’s since evolved into a truly sensational premium drinks brand adored by the media. Their mixes are crafted by expert mixologists, using the best quality ingredients available to create a unique drinking experience. Choose from the house favourites, including their ever popular take on a Picante.
Forget what you might think about boxed wine because there’s a new drinks brand that’s rewriting the rules…
For the wine lovers out there, look to Laylo for some lockdown inspiration. Founded in July 2020 by friends Laura Riches and Laura Rosenberger, Laylo sources their wine from the best small-scale producers available. The brand also prides themselves on their sustainably as their beautifully designed boxed packaging uses less energy than your typical wine bottle.
Right now, they have two boxed wines available. A Tempranillo 2019, sourced from Ruth & Ana’s vineyard in Spain and a French Sauvignon Blanc that comes packaged in a beautiful paisley blue design.
Shaking up the letterbox cocktail scene is STIR-UP, the drinks brand that’s dedicated to taking its customers on a journey of cocktail discovery through classic shaken and stirred tipples. Crafted using the freshest ingredients and fine spirits, their cocktails will help you finesse the art of cocktail making at home in a matter of minutes.
STIR-UP is a cocktail subscription service, with the cocktails changing monthly. Inside your letterbox parcel, expect to find a little info about the origin and history of the beverage, as well as the drink’s mix and recipe card. Online there’s also a ‘how to’ video and curated playlist to pop on while you’re sipping on your balcony pretending you’re anywhere by dreary London. This month’s cocktail is a Clover Club.
Lockdown has made us all appreciate the smaller things in life and for chef Will Lewis, that’s his childhood favourite – the pie. Back in lockdown 1.0, Will decided to launch his own pie service, Willy’s Pies, out of his little home kitchen in Leyton. Soon things spiralled and he’s now whipping up Willy’s Pies from a commercial kitchen, still with every single pie made directly by him.
Choose from the Roast Chicken and Smoked Ham Hock pie packed inside a beef suet crust; Spinach, Sweet Potato and Spiced Lentils made using sourdough puff pastry; or the Lamb Shoulder and Wild Garlic Hot Pot tucked inside beef suet pastry. He also whips up a stellar treacle tart.
Born out of a love for the humble pub that were bordered up due to lockdown restrictions, Decent Drop set out on a mission to bring the livelihood of a pub to your doorstep through wine and cheese pairing.
The menus change regularly, with the current theme being ‘On the Beach’. Expect six wines, six cheeses, plus crackers, chutney and tasting notes inspired by the British seaside. If you order, there’s also the opportunity to join in with a virtual tasting session over Zoom too.
Manchester based, the company also delivers by courier if you live elsewhere in the UK too.
What does your dream supermarket look like? Perhaps it’s filled with artisan produce and restaurant standard dishes created by chefs from London’s greatest restaurants like Chris D’Sylva’s.
Launched last summer, the Supermarket of Dreams was launched by Chris, owner of the iconic Notting Hill Fish Shop, and brought with it independent produce from some of the best local retailers and culinary heads. Head down to the store or order online and choose from the best fresh fish, bakery goods and sushi in town. Right now their restaurant collabs include Bubala, Inko Nito and Patty&Bun.
Another foodie endeavour born out of lockdown is Restokit. Anyone who has ordered from their favourite restaurant during the last year will know a thing or two about the brand but it’s essentially a delivery service helping to bring the restaurant to you. From meal kits to finishing instructions, Restokit takes the hassle out of ordering and does everything for you, all you need to do is choose from the bountiful selection of restaurants and cuisines.
Current restaurants that you can order include Bentley’s, Brigadiers, FARMACY, SOLA and Benares.
Another delivery service that launched in the midst of the pandemic is Big Night, founded by London restaurateur Charlie Mellor and his friend Pavel Baskakov. Nowadays you’ll find the best of London’s restaurant scene at your fingertips, from Michelin-approved Italians to the best local ocakbasi.
Restaurants currently operating through Big Night include Luca, Darjeeling Express, Elliot’s and Legare.
Helping you take the hassle out of barbecuing, BBQ in a Box was set up by first-time entrepreneur AJ Mair just weeks into the first lockdown. Now a year on and the business is still a huge success.
Now with a team of passionate foodies at hand, the boxes are filled with the finest premium cuts of meat, fresh fish and delicious sides. Delivering to London and the Home Counties, build your own box filled with everything from lamb kofta to classic Cumberland sausage, pork and chorizo skewers to marinated salmon or go big with one of the bundles.
As much as we love our other halves, spending every waking second with them for months on end definitely took its toll. We couldn’t just nip down to the pub with our mates at a minute’s call or book a last minute date night after an argument – it was tough. But Box42 were on hand to help combat the endless Zoom calls with friends and create the perfect date night at home that didn’t involve yet another Netflix binge.
Perfect for lockdown anniversaries, birthdays or just levelling up your indoor date night.
Born out of lockdown 1.0, Box42 helped couples get the full date night experience at home. Perfect for lockdown anniversaries, birthdays or just levelling up your indoor date night, the boxes helped bring a bit of romance back into the relationship that had been strained due to lockdown. The team have created four different lockdown boxes, from Tuscan pottery nights to the funfair champion filled with games, laughs and treats. Each box also comes with snacks and drinks too, all that align with the specific theme.
There’s nothing more calming than a cup of tea and so when we heard about Tea & Me’s story we had to share. Founded by Rianna and Melisa, Tea & Me is an online tea company that brings you the best loose-leaf tea blends. Now run by Rianna, Tea & Me brings you the best teas to fit your mood, whether you’re stressed or you’re in need of a morning pick-me-up.
Shop their collection, picking the blends that suit your personal needs. The ‘Morning Ritual’ is a warming blend, with notes of ginger to give you a morning zing, while the ‘Sundown’ helps wind you down for the night, full of cinnamon and orange blossom.
Venture out of the city and head to Loughton High Street, Essex to find New Breed Bottle Shop, an all new specialist retailer of craft beers, small batch spirits and wines.
Born out of lockdown, after months of job uncertainty, furloughing and redundancies, friends Neil Datta and Mikey O’Kane joined forces to bring their dream business to life. Launching last December, alongside an online store which delivers nationwide, the store prides itself on supplying labels of the highest quality. Head here and explore over 200 varieties of beer from all over the UK and scour the shelves filled with artisanal distillers, including East London Liquor Company and Linden Leaf.