No sugar, no sweetener and no artificial ingredients. When Joe Benn and Hugh Thomas came to us with a clear vision for their fruit-infused sparkling water, we simply had to say yes.

Co-founders Joe and Hugh came up with the concept for Ugly Drinks when they were visiting Tokyo in 2013. Noticing the wide range of unsweetened drinks on offer, they struggled to think of a UK equivalent. So they set about creating the first sugar-free and sweetener-free canned carbonated drinks in Europe.

The drinks are made from natural sparkling water sourced from the Welsh borders and are infused with the essences and oils of different fruits. That’s it. They contain zero calories, zero fat – and the cans are 100% recyclable.

We knew it was going to be tough for Ugly to make a dent in such a highly competitive retail sector. But their youthful tenacity and sense of purpose were infectious. In 2015 we decided to trial the products and it’s been a beautiful partnership ever since.

Joe Benn and Hugh Thomas from the Ugly Drinks company

What happened next

From the vibrant cans to the lively product descriptions, Ugly Drinks has shown that simple can be fun. Our customers have warmly embraced the brand and have valued its honest, no-nonsense approach.

There are currently two types of Ugly Drinks available (Lemon and Lime and Grapefruit and Pineapple), but plans are in place to develop new flavours and formats as the business continues to flourish. Since launching with us, Joe and Hugh have gone on to supply to more than 1,000 stockists in the UK. They now hope to expand overseas.

It’s always encouraging to see a dynamic startup do so well. Ugly Drinks, we’re rooting for you!

The team at Sourced Market are some of the nicest people in food and drink. They really care about the brands on the shelf as well as the people behind them. They’re always ahead of the curve and support young brands and founders from early on in their trajectory. We feel really proud to be stocked in their beautiful markets.

Joe Benn and Hugh Thomas, Ugly Drinks