Mirco and Lorenz met each other at a young age, when they were both boy scouts. They decided to work for themselves during an InterRail tour in 1999 and jotted down their ideas in a notebook containing possible business models that ranged from opening their own bar to managing a squad of cleaners. They were always going to focus on something real instead of a virtual product. It also had to promise a lifestyle that was fun and allowed the pair to spend a lot of time in pleasant cafés. Sitting in their kitchen over a frozen pizza and cola one day, they had the idea of developing a cola drink that was better than the leading brand on the market. A cola with lots of caffeine, a little less sweetness and a twist of lemon.
To cover the need for some working capital to start the project, saving accounts were emptied out and fritz-kola was established with funds of around €7,000. After extensive research into a new cola recipe, the pair tried to obtain the necessary ingredients from pharmacies around Hamburg. There were a few minor setbacks, but with a little help, they finally developed a new recipe for their drink.
The logo and name of fritz-kola came into being as a result of very pragmatic considerations. There wasn’t enough cash to design a logo and make sure that it met legal requirements, so the two friends used their own faces as a logo instead. No question about who owns the rights to those. There were several suggestions on the table regarding the name of the cola. A survey was carried out in front of a shopping centre. The name had to be a positive, catchy and natural. The nice North German name ‘fritz’ won the race.
By autumn 2002, things had moved on and a production partner had been sourced. The labels were printed in a copy shop and professionally stuck to the bottles by hand with a glue stick.
The first test bottles of fritz-kola made their way to a drinks party at some student digs in traditional brown (Vichy) beer bottles. There was a choice of two flavours, and the cola with the green cap lost out to the one with the white cap. After this resounding success, the first production order was placed and 170 crates of fritz-kola were made on 30 January 2003.
In the following year, the fritz-limo range was expanded to include an apple spritzer, an apple and cherry spritzer, a melon flavour drink and lemonade.
At the start of 2004, another milestone was reached in the project story: the bottles were moved out of private laundry rooms into a warehouse in Ellerbek, near Hamburg.
The range was expanded further in 2006 with the addition of fritz-kola sugar free and a coffee and cola drink. Since the same year, a small quantity of fritz-kola has been sold to customers in Holland, Austria, Switzerland and Spain.
In 2008, fritz-kola moved to a waterfront office in Hamburg-Billbrook. On 1 March of the same year, the company changed its legal form, turning Hampl und Wiegert GbR into fritz-kola GmbH. fritz-kola began to build up its own sales team. The new 200ml individual bottles were unveiled at the 2008 Internorga trade fair. The next new flavour was also introduced – fritz-limo orangeade.
2010 there has been a reason to celebrate. The hamburg founders price ‘fast climber’ goes to fritz-kola. The export of fritz-kola and fritz-limo was expanded to include the northern neighbour denmark.
In 2011, the sustainability project was launched, and all artificial flavouring and colouring was banned from the fritz-limo range of soft drinks. The melon flavoured drink was replaced with a natural melonade. On 3rd December 2011, our fritz-kola drink with steviol glycosides became the first cola in Germany to contain extracts from the stevia plant. The export of fritz-kola and fritz-limo was expanded to include Poland.
In 2012, MISCHMASCH was launched on the market – a combination of cola, orange and lemon.