Today’s spotlight is on Shirley - the Founder of OTC Beverages, a Caribbean sorrel and ginger drinks brand that recently made important changes to their packaging to make it biodegradable and lighter to lower their transport carbon footprint.
Hi Shirley, can you tell us a bit about you?
I’m the Founder of OTC drinks. We are a family-run business that makes Caribbean drinks the traditional way - Cold-pressed and 100% organic. Before that I’d spent 30 years working in the city for companies including Telerate, Deutsche Bank and HSBC.
How did you come up with the idea of starting OTC Beverages?I was at my dad’s 80th birthday when I looked at the homemade drinks we were serving at the party and thought “Is this a better way of presenting this? Me and my children’s generation are not going to do what my father’s generation and the generation before did, which is making the drinks at home. I realised that the generation who had created the culture, food and beverages that I had grown up drinking and eating, were getting older and are passing away at a rapid pace, so I felt moved to preserve their legacy, and that’s how OTC Beverages came to life.
What did sustainability matter to your brand and how have you made it happen?A lot of thought and research has gone into ensuring we save the environment for our future generations. Me and members of the team are mothers, so taking care of them now, and the future is paramount to the OTC brand.
To do this, we’ve moved to PLA sleeves on the bottles this year, to make sure our bottle sleeves are 100% biodegradable as its better for the environment. Prior to going into full production, we also wanted to ensure our brand packaging was recyclable and that our bottles were not just light weight, but right weight - this is a new type of bottle that reduces the weight of bottles without affecting the performance, safety and the prestige of the bottles.
Sounds like a lot of thought has gone into this. What were the biggest challenges in changing your packaging to become more sustainable?
It was not that challenging changing the packaging, it was more a case of finding the right supplier with the right MOQ, pricing, who could support our requirements.
To get to where we are today, our sleeve supplier has been working on the viability of the product during the sleeving process and had to get the construction of the sleeving to a level where it would not deteriorate.
Our bottling supplier is also constantly looking at ways to ensure they improve on the weight of their bottles to reduce the transportation impact on the environment.