A newly-married couple have set up a cold-brewing business near York with ambitions to revolutionise the soft drinks industry.

Emily Fitch-Deeley and Andy Deeley are the team behind Fitch Brew Co, an innovative start-up at Easingwold making a range of cold-brew coffees and teas in cans.

The cold-brew process is distinctive because it produces a more mellow flavour.

The idea came after a trip to the US, where Andy became obsessed with cold-brew coffee – and realised there was a gap in the market for something similar back home.

"When I visited the US, I saw the range of innovative soft drinks was really exciting and cold-brew coffee was just everywhere, but not in the UK," he said.

Two years ago, they launched a crowd-funding appeal and raised £150,000 in 29 hours to kick-start the business.

A year on, Fitch sells five cold-brew coffees (including the UK’s first canned cold-brew coffee flavoured with blood orange) and have launched the UK’s first ready-to-drink sparkling cold-brew teas: Rosehip, Hibiscus & Elderflower and Chamomile & Ginger. The company is now listed with six national distribution companies and its products stocked in hundreds of venues around the UK from independent to national chains.

Recently, the couple opened a shop at the factory – Unit 24 Shires Bridge Business Park, Easingwold – where people can pop in and buy the products (open Fridays, 9am-6pm).

Their mission, said Andy, was to constantly challenge traditional perceptions about what could be done within soft drinks.

Emily has a background in the industry having worked for Corona, Pernod Ricard and BrewDog, while Andy's business expertise has been in working with start-ups.

All Fitch's products are 100 per cent natural, with no or low sugar, are vegan friendly with zero caffeine.

The timing could not have been more perfect. Market research shows the demand for novel soft drinks is growing, fuelled by people wanting to pursue healthier lifestyles and cutting back on alcohol.

Andy said: "Consumer trends are changing. Over the past five to ten years there has been a shift towards veganism and consumers have become more health conscious. People are looking for sugar-free and organic."

He added: "There is a change in alcohol consumption too among Generation Z and Millennials. One third of uni students don't drink anymore. There are social pressures and not wanting to be drinking and being put on Instagram. People's conceptions of being healthy have meant a shift away from alcohol."

From that perspective, Andy and Emily believe the time as ripe to introduce exciting, new, quality products into the soft drinks market.

"The premium adult soft-drinks market is about giving options and the chance to have something more interesting.

"You will see over the next five years a more dedicated raft of drinks in pubs and venues."

Needless to say, Andy and Emily want Fitch to be at the cusp of leading that market.

Andy likens the expansion of artisan soft drinks to the growth of the craft beer industry.

He said: "Think of the craft beer market 20 years ago when there were few options. Now the market is flooded with exciting craft beers.

"It is similar with soft drinks. The market is stagnant with Coke, 7-Up and Pepsi. We are ready to shake up the industry with drinks that are innovative, exciting and functional, with health benefits."

All of Fitch's products contain less than five per cent sugar – so fall below the sugar tax. Andy points out the sugar content is all natural. The new cold-brew teas contain ingredients with health properties too, he said. Rosehip is thought to boost the immune system and support digestion and hibiscus reduces blood pressure and can even aid weight loss, he added, while chamomile and ginger were renowned for helping inflammation and had calming properties.

He added: "Our vision is to become the category leader in soft drinks and to build a brand through the UK market and then export it.

"We want to become a good exporter for the region. We would love to have staff and to become a respected employer in the region."

What is cold brewing? 

In cold brewing, heat is replaced with an extended chilled temperature brewing period.

Once the purified water has been chilled to the required temperature within the large fermentation vessel, the coffee grounds or loose tea leaves are added and left to steep for 16 hours.

All of the products are produced in-house, at Fitch's Yorkshire brewery at Easingwold.

Fitch uses single-origin coffee beans and loose-leaf tea, which are ethically sourced.