Guest Blog: Two bottles on a shelf

11th May 2016

Guest Blog: Two bottles on a shelf

This is a guest post by Chris Coles, Founder of Vin2o, a social enterprise which sells wine and dedicates 100% of profit to clean water projects.

I’d like you to imagine you are in a shop and you want to buy a beer. You’re in the market for a high quality product, made by people passionate about their craft. On the shelf in front of you there are two beers. The first is a good product from an interesting producer, it’s got all the right provenance and the label looks great. The second beer is a good product from an interesting producer, the provenance is sound and it looks great, only this product has something else. This beer was made from surplus bread, and it helps to fund a campaign to prevent food waste. Which beer do you choose?

When social enterprise products are done right they are first and foremost great products, equal, if not better, than the alternative. Toast Ale is a great ale because it’s made from great ingredients by people who know their craft. The fact that it helps to prevent food waste is the final flourish, the cherry on top. If you believe in a fair and sensible food system then the choice between the two bottles of beer on the shelf becomes easy.

It’s the same for my business, Vin2o. We sell great wine made by real wine makers with a passion for their craft, and who look after the environment they live and work in. The fact that 100% of profit goes to fund clean water projects for some of the most vulnerable people in the world is really important. To me it is the North Star of the business, and drives everything we do. But I know it wouldn’t mean a thing, if there wasn’t great wine inside the bottle.


The number of social businesses in the UK is growing. Conscious consumers can see that the choices they make between products can make a huge difference. Companies like Toast Ale, Vin2o and many others have made a choice to put purpose over profit but we’ll only win by creating great products that give you the confidence to choose that second bottle on the shelf.