NOVELTEA Co-founders Lukas Passia (left) and Vincent Efferoth (right)
Jamie Hardesty

Young entrepreneurial duo launch alcoholic tea startup in Newcastle

Newcastle University graduates Vincent Efferoth and Lukas Passia have launched NOVELTEA, a new brand of cold-brewed tea infused with alcohol.

Starting with two flavours, The Tale of Tangier, an infusion of Moroccan green mint tea with Caribbean rum and The Tale of Earl Grey, an infusion of Earl Grey tea with gin and botanicals, the company is looking to take a slice of Britain’s evergrowing beverage market with the new niche product.

The young entrepreneurial pair set up the business after securing a place on Newcastle University’s ‘Rise Up Founderships’ programme, a startup support scheme which helps emerging talent with financial backing, office space and mentoring.

Charlie Wainwright, Business Adviser at Rise Up, based in Newcastle University’s Careers Service, said: “Lukas and Vincent have approached the challenge of launching a product into a new drinks category with real diligence and knowledge of its consumers and retail customers.

“During the six month Foundership programme they have made exceptional progress, benefitting from their network of business advisers and category mentors. They deserve to be successful.”

NOVELTEA has made an exciting start to life, gaining the attention of trendy bars, 5-Star establishments and artisan food halls eager to jump on the bandwagon of the alcoholic tea trend. Next month the brand will link up with Fenwick Newcastle as its retail launch partner.

Cofounder Vincent Efferoth gave an insight on the merits of the new drink.

He said: “To enhance the taste of tea, we cold-brew The Tale of Earl Grey and The Tale of Tangier for up to 12 hours to produce a smooth taste, drawing out the distinctive flavours without causing some of the bitter notes that can be associated with tea.

“Cold-brewing produces lower levels of caffeine and extracts more antioxidants than hot-brewed processes.”

Robin Winterschladen, Wine & Spirit Buyer, at Fenwick Newcastle, commented: “NOVELTEA presents a very unusual but on trend proposition with its alcoholic tea blends, as the UK is a dynamic market for gin, rum and tea. We are delighted to be the first retailer to stock NOVELTEA within our flagship store.”

Katie Wray, Lecturer in Enterprise at Newcastle University and Programme Manager of Founderships, added: “Lukas and Vincent are a great example of what can be learned and achieved during 6 months with the Founderships.

“They have used their time well to expand their network significantly and have iterated well to reach a launch-ready position.”

Cofounder Lukas Passia added: “When we set up NOVELTEA, our mentors at Newcastle University guided us through many aspects of the startup stage, from R&D and mixology, to advising us on supply, manufacturing and strategy.

“We have been very fortunate to have had access to the Newcastle University Founderships Programme and have been introduced to some very influential connections as a result.”

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