A pair friends from Bucks who launched a mixer brand less than two years ago are celebrating after being shortlisted for an award.

Ross Smethurst and Melanie McNelly, both from Hughenden Valley, launched TwelveBelow in May 2018 to rave reviews.

TwelveBelow aims to challenge the ‘slimline’ market with its naturally low sugar range of premium tonic waters.

The brand is the UK’s first naturally low sugar tonics – and its range boasts a four-strong line up of low-calorie waters.

The new range has four flavours – classic premium, apple and garden mint, pear and cardamom and rhubarb and ginger – and each contains 12 calories per 100ml.

Ross and Melanie say they are delighted that their apple and garden mint flavour tonic has been shortlisted in the Free From food awards.

The company has been nominated in the drinks category, which is sponsored by Asda.

Co-founder Melanie said the pair are looking to “disrupt” the booming tonic water market with TwelveBelow.

She said: “The idea for the company started when we started to really look into light and slimline tonics, and we were shocked to find they were either full of artificial sweeteners, overpowered spirits or simply didn’t taste good.

“Our tonics have been developed to not only complement a whole host of spirits, but to taste great as a standalone drink.

“We understand that the modern drinker is looking to enjoy a delicious drink but is more health-conscious than ever.

“TwelveBelow genuinely delivers on that need. Being shortlisted for the Free From Award is really exciting and reinforces our pledge to be the healthier option.”

The bottles are sold separately in 200ml bottles (£1.20) and 500ml bottles (£2.20) – and they contain no artificial sweeteners or preservatives and are instead made with organic agave.

TwelveBelow is available in local Farm Shops, Mid Counties Co-op, and online retailers.

The Free From food awards are the UK's only industry awards for free from food and were started in 2008 by FoodsMatter and Free From Foods Matter to encourage innovation and celebrate excellence in the free from food industry.

The awards are entirely independent, supported by sponsorship and entry fees only.

The winners of the awards will be announced and presented on April 28 at the Royal College of Physicians in London.