For twelve years, Steph Buttery worked in the Royal Navy as an officer. As part of her job, she toured the world and, whilst stationed over in Japan, fell in love with the country’s food and drink culture.
After returning home and being unable to get her hands on the favourites she’d become accustomed to, she set out to create her own Japanese-inspired sour soft drink brand here in the UK – facing some trials and tribulations, including a global pandemic that drew her back into service, along the way.
“It all began when I travelled with the British Royal Navy to Tokyo where I tasted the hugely popular alcoholic drink Chūhai,” said Steph.
“I loved the taste but back in England there was nothing on the market quite like it and shipping the drink from Japan was out of the question.
“So I set to work making the drink for myself an authentic-tasting, alcohol-free, sour fruit soft drink.”
Just when things were starting to come together for her business, the pandemic hit – leaving restaurants and stores to shut their doors as the country went into lockdown. Still, she wouldn’t let that deter her.
But that was not the only challenge. As 95% of her business dried up overnight, to add more into the mix Steph found herself being reposted back to her previous role in the Royal Navy.
Whilst working as part of a military effort to ensure that lifesaving PPE could reach those in the NHS frontline who need it most, she hit upon another way to support staff working all day and night in the battle against the virus.
Already assisting the Department of Health in London in her capacity as a Navy office, she also donated 20,000 Chu Lo drinks to London NHS staff during the pandemic – having been inspired by similar donations of food by Wasabi and Bento‘s donation of 500 meals a day to NHS staff.
At the time she said: “Naturally, while working in the Department of Health, the Chu Lo Drinks business must take a back seat.
“Having Wasabi agree to this partnership means that Chu Lo soft drinks can do their bit towards lifting the spirits of those heroes on the frontline dealing with the worst of this crisis.
“If Chu Lo drinks can help bring a smile to those most affected during this difficult time, it will have been worth it.”
Having seen huge success already in just a few short years, Steph also recently joined Gordon Ramsay on the very first BBC series of his Apprentice-style food show, Gordon’s Future Food Stars, taking on weekly cookery and business-led challenges battling it out against other entrepreneurs.
Read more:Manchester entrepreneur to appear on Gordon Ramsay’s new Apprentice-style TV show
Her Chu Lo drinks are currently available in four different sour flavours – lemon, peach, apple, and cherry – and they’re well worth seeking out.
Made using real fruit juice, the super-sour soda is low in sugar, alcohol and gluten-free, and vegan-friendly,
Find them at a range of restaurants in Manchester, or online via the Chu Lo store.
Feature image – Chu Lo
Andy Burnham wants to help more girls get into football
Andy Burnham has urged schools to do more to encourage young girls to get into football.
The Greater Manchester Mayor was speaking to Sky News‘ Kay Burley on Thursday, 8 December as he discussed the importance of promoting more women in football and sport, in general.
Burnham said that himself, the FA and notable women’s football advocates like former keeper Karen Bardsley are “determined” to make sure the buzz following the Women’s Euros isn’t just a flash in the pan.
With the England men’s team currently trying to replicate the Lionesses‘ success as they prepare for the quarter-final of the 2022 World Cup, he went on to emphasise the lasting memories football can create on a global scale.
The Mayor went on to say that with the help of schools across the UK, they hope to “make sure that the success the Lionesses had in the summer becomes a permanent legacy”, imploring schools, the sporting community and the nation at large “not let those summer memories fade”.
Insisting that he already feels the heroics of Euro 2022 have already had an impact when it comes to inspiring more girls to get into football.
He said that the uptake among “women in football” since the tournament has been “amazing” but warned educators and parents not to “leave it to chance” and provide the support to make “real change”.
Coins with King Charles III’s face on have officially entered circulation today
The Royal Mint has announced that the first coins to bear the effigy of King Charles III have officially entered circulation today.
In what marks the historic transition from Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III on the public’s money, following the passing of the former back in September after 70 years on the throne, the first coins to bear The King’s portrait – are 50 pence pieces, and they will start to appear in circulation in Post Offices around the UK from today.
The coins not only bear The King’s face, but are also said to commemorate the life and legacy of the late monarch.
The reverse of the 50 pence features a design that originally appeared on the 1953 Coronation Crown, and includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield, and in between each shield is an emblem of the home nations – a rose, a thistle, a shamrock, and a leek.
4.9 million 50 pence coins with King Charles III’s face on have been sent to UK Post Offices today.
The coin will first begin being distributing as change when customers make a purchase in store, The Royal Mint explains, before a total of 9.6 million 50ps eventually enter circulation in line with the public demand for them.
“Today marks a new era for UK coinage,” commented Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for coin collectors to add to their collections, or start one for the first time. We anticipate a new generation of coin collectors emerging, with people keeping a close eye on their change to try and spot a new 50p that bears the portrait of our new King.
“The Royal Mint has been trusted to make coins bearing the Monarch’s effigy for over 1,100 years and we are proud to continue this tradition into the reign of King Charles III.”
Also speaking as the coins enter circulation today, Nick Read – Chief Executive Office of the Post Office – said: “It is a tremendous honour for the Post Office that the first coinage featuring King Charles III is being released into circulation via our extensive branch network.
“December is our busiest time of the year so the coin will be entering our network in a phased manner.
“If you don’t receive the new 50p in your change on your first visit to a Post Office, you may well get it in your change in a subsequent visit, so keep a look out for it.”
All approximately 27 billion UK coins with Queen Elizabeth II’s face on will remain legal tender and in active circulation, and will eventually be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for new coins.