Women Leaders


Double Dutch HR-92
Raissa De Haas

In early 2015, Raissa De Haas & her twin sister Joyce, established Double Dutch, a brand renowned for its premium cocktail drink mixers that enhance the quality of gins, vodkas, and tequilas without overpowering their subtle flavors. Double Dutch is a one-stop solution where the trio of finest ingredients, latest scientific research, and the art of mixology elevate the flavor of every drink. Hailing from the Netherlands, the land of gins, their love for quality drinks and excellent blending developed from their childhood and just kept growing. However, they were greatly disappointed when they found out that people’s love for spirits kept increasing in giant strides, however, mixers and sodas remained completely ignored and underestimated. Having started with just two flavors Cucumber & Watermelon and Pomegranate & Basil, today Double Dutch sells 750,000 mixers a month from a collection of 12 different flavors including an Indian tonic which has been awarded best tonic globally, in 30 global markets. Headquartered in London, Double Dutch has offices in Antwerp, Belgium in Europe.

From homemade tonics to an award-winning brand
Since their childhood, Raissa saw her parents experimenting with distilling and grew up with batches of gins all around them. Pursuing their Masters from UCL London in 2014, turned out to be a major game-changer for the twins. While studying, they noticed that the demand for gin was booming, however, mixers needed a shakeup. Hence, Raissa started off creating homemade tonics for their friends at university and they were a massive hit. The year 2015 brought them a massive success as they won the “Most Promising Startup” award from UCL and the same year Business legend Richard Branson supported them by voting them as “The Most Innovative Food and Beverage brand”. Since then, there was no turning back for Raissa and Joyce and they further went to bag the best premium adult soft drink with the likes of GQ and the Independent voting Double Dutch as the best tonic water. Double Dutch also bagged the spot of being the first mixer brand to launch quinine-free tonic, to focus on double paired flavoring for mixers, and use molecular gastronomy for recipe development.

Spicing up your booze nights
Though Double Dutch had no competitors and was offering one of their kind flavors, they wanted to ensure that every flavor is different from the other and must have its signature taste. They wanted people to be able to recognize the flavor when they tasted it. This not only helped them register the flavors into the minds of their customers but also kept them coming back for more. As innovation and the drinks industry go hand in hand, willing to experiment and bring out something new, they used the science of molecular gastronomy to create innovative pairings and launched the Cucumber, Watermelon, Pomegranate & Basil flavors. Their 12 key flavors include an Indian tonic which has been awarded best tonic globally, a spicy ginger beer, and the recently launched cocktail soda range with a Bloody Mary soda and a Margarita Cucumber soda. "Our Dutch background gave us an innate love for quality drinks which united with our scientific training to produce a twin powerhouse of innovation and extremely good taste," adds Raissa. “All drinks are low in calories, made with natural ingredients, and are delicious whether drunk solo or paired with premium spirits.” Having established a successful brand, today the twin sisters have an award-winning range of premium tonics that are stocked in bars and retailers all over the UK & Europe.

Having come a long way, Double Dutch has established itself as a market leader and dominates the global market. With its award-winning products, it has not only revolutionized the drinks industry but has also laid a solid business framework for others by making existing beverages more desirable by its products which offer multiple taste options. Innovation and the strong desire to come up with something unique and different from previous products have been the known secret to its success. With innovation and hard work at the core of every product it comes up with, Double Dutch has been winning hearts and has added several feathers in its cap: Winner of the Class Bartender's Choice awards 2018, Winner of 2017 Casual Dining Innovation Awards, Winner of 2016 Casual Dining Innovation Awards, Winner of 2016 Best Premium and Adult Soft drink at World Beverage Innovation Awards, Winner of the 2016 Nacue Varsity pitch "Creativity & Design", Winner of the 2015 Foodpreneur Award by Sir Richard Branson and Winner of the 2014 UCL Bright Ideas Award for the most promising startup.

"Our Dutch background gave us an innate love for quality drinks which united with our scientific training to produce a twin powerhouse of innovation and extremely good taste," adds Raissa. “All drinks are low in calories, made with natural ingredients, and are delicious whether drunk solo or paired with premium spirits.”

Attracting the right attention
For Raissa, being awarded the 2015 Foodpreneur award by Richard Branson for the most innovative and disruptive F&B product in the UK brought a major transformation. They have not only received business mentorship and advice from team Virgin but also the legendary businessman Sir Richard Branson took them to the US to pitch for Target. Grabbing attention for some eminent business leaders across the world, Raissa and Joyce also received investment backing Charlene Heineken and her husband Michel. The support from Charlene Heineken, the lady behind the success of Heineken and her husband, has certainly positioned Dutch Double in a supreme position.

Turning challenges into triumph
When Raissa set out for making their mark in the drinks industry, the first major challenge they were set against was the industry being dominated by the opposite gender. Raissa, rather than looking at it as something that would stop her from pursuing her vision, looked at it as a challenge that can be overcome. Soon it became clear to them that their products were a perfect fit for the food & beverages industry and all it needed was the right set of products followed by precise marketing strategies. Being female leaders with a clear vision and unique products, indeed made them stand taller than the rest rather than working against them. Through her success, Raissa has been a living example of turning challenges into triumph.

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Being a mentor
“It is not just about flavourful drinking at Double Dutch, doing business the right way is an important principle for us,” says Raissa. “At Double Dutch, we have strong female representation at all levels in the business, and a clear policy in place to support diversity. We both feel strongly about the fact that women need to support women - but without excluding men.” At Double Dutch, empowering female entrepreneurs is also a major part of its entrepreneurial vision. Having faced the challenges of the mainstream business world, Raissa understands the challenges a female entrepreneur can face and wants every female leader to be ready with all the necessary tools to handle failures effectively and continue achieving stupendous success in the business world. Double Dutch has launched a scholarship and mentoring program for female bartenders to guide and train women looking to build a career in the industry. As a part of the program, Double Dutch has collaborated with numerous bartenders to offer practical hands-on training and share the industry knowledge with successful female applicants.

Success is no more about enjoying it alone but is more about sharing secrets and empowering others to overcome their fears and limitations. Though the pandemic has slowed down the pace but hasn’t been able to demotivate the Double Dutch team to think big, dream big, and go behind their goals. “We are exploring new ways to drive sustainability through our supply chain. For example, we are looking to leave a positive impact on the environment by ensuring our brand is now carbon neutral by the end of 2022,” shares Raissa. When Raissa started Double Dutch, the products were far from perfect. However, she persisted, kept working, getting better every-day, and weaving every experience into products. With stupendous success, Raissa believes in staying grounded and is indeed an inspiration for many. “It’s not about numbers, but rather about the learning process,” says Raissa.