You’ve heard of craft beer – the lovingly made tipple beloved of hipsters, students and real ale enthusiasts.

The latest drinks trend to hit the north east is … craft cola. A Newcastle graduate has launched a start-up producing a tasty cola using all-natural ingredients that is just as obsessively brewed as any craft ales.

Newcastle University graduate Kieran Dougan and his childhood friend Dan Young – both from County Durham – have set up 40 Kola, a company manufacturing top-notch soft drinks.

The company’s signature drink – also called 40 Kola – has already gained an impressive client base in the north east, which includes establishments such as By the River Brew Co, Harissa Kitchen, Arch 2 and Flat Caps Coffee. 40 Kola can also be purchased online at Amazon.

The beverage’s name comes from the fact that each 330 ml bottle contains 40 mg of caffeine.

The company also offer other drinks, including Lemon+Lime – made with real lemon juice – and Kola CUT, which has only one third of the caffeine and sugar of 40 Kola.

In addition, the start-up has teamed up with department store Fenwick to produce a Christmas-themed soft drink.

Kieran, who studied chemical engineering at Newcastle University, said, “We got to work researching the market and devised our own recipe then launched 40 Kola last year.”

“After that, we launched Lemon+Lime as the majority of soft drink companies produce traditional lemonades, and we wanted to produce a crisp, fresh new product.”

“Our third product is Kola CUT, which contains a third of the sugar and a third of the caffeine of 40 Kola, and is one of the few all-natural reduced-sugar soft drinks.”

Dan, who is responsible for marketing the business’s products, said, “Our brand is about making a positive impact on people’s lives and to give something back to people. Aside from this, all our products are totally natural, with no artificial colours or preservatives.”

40 Kola have received support from Newcastle University’s Start Up programme, which helps graduates looking to become freelancers or start small businesses.

Just how seriously do 40 KOLA take making soft drinks? Very, according to their website, which states, “For some, the soft drink they choose is merely an inevitable something that they have to indulge in every-now-and-then, but for some, it is a non-negotiable deal breaker, the climax of a lengthy search for refreshment. For us, it’s everything.”

To learn more about 40 Kola and their quest for the perfect soft drink, please visit

(Featured image courtesy of Simon Cocks, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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