- Charles Rolls, 60, used to work in the fast-food store on High Street Kensington
- He set up Fever-Tree tonic water company with Tim Warrillow, 43, in 2005
- Pair sold 3million shares at £34.50 each - giving deputy chairman Mr Rolls £69m and chief executive Mr Warrillow £34.5m
- They increased number of shares they originally intended to sell after 'significant demand from institutional investors'
- A businessman whose first job as a teenager was at McDonald's is celebrating a multi-million pound payday after selling a stake in the tonic drink empire he co-founded.Charles Rolls set up Fever-Tree along with Tim Warrillow - and the pair have just made £103.5million after cashing in on the mixer-maker's recent success by selling a stake in the group.Deputy chairman Mr Rolls, 60, has certainly come a long way since flipping burgers at the fast-food restaurant, in High Street Kensington, west London.He and chief executive Mr Warrillow, 43, offloaded a 2.6 per cent holding - increasing the number of shares they originally intended to sell after 'significant' demand from institutional investors, according to a Stock Exchange announcement.They sold three million shares at £34.50 each, giving Mr Rolls £69million and Mr Warrillow £34.5million.
Deputy chairman Mr Rolls and chief executive Mr Warrillow offloaded a 2.6 per cent holding - increasing the number of shares they originally intended to sell after 'significant' demand from institutional investors, according to a Stock Exchange announcement
Following the shares sale, Mr Rolls now holds about 7.1 per cent of the company and Mr Warrillow has a 4.7 per cent interest.
Named after the tree in which quinine - a key ingredient for tonic - is found, the company wanted to offer a premium tonic water with no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or flavourings.
Father-of-two Mr Rolls and Mr Warrillow produced the group's first bottle of tonic water in 2005 and now sells a range of 12 different flavours.
The group has rapidly expanded its international sales in recent years and now makes around the bulk of annual revenues from outside the UK, with key overseas markets being the US, Spain and Belgium.
How the Fever-Tree duo tapped into the tonic water market
By SABAH MEDDINGS, CITY CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
Charles Rolls was a gin expert who turned around the fortunes of ailing brand Plymouth Gin, before selling it to Absolut Vodka in 2001.
He met Tim Warrillow in 2004 – at the time a 28-year-old advertising executive – who wanted to set up his own gin distillery.
But Mr Rolls, a father-of-two, convinced him to set up a premium tonic water brand instead.
The 60-year-old had been left disappointed after discovering many tonics were filled with artificial sweeteners and cheap aromatics.
As a result Mr Rolls and Mr Warrillow founded Fever-Tree in 2005, deciding that drinkers of posh gin deserved to have a posh tonic to go with it.
Until then, Schweppes had kept a monopoly on the market, with slim-line the only alternative to Indian tonic water.
The duo spent 18 months finding a recipe they were happy with, and in an effort to find the perfect ingredients flew to Democratic Republic of the Congo to source pharmaceutical grade quinine.
Speaking about it afterwards, Mr Rolls said: 'The purest quinine – the main ingredient, and the essential bitterness in tonic water – is to be found in Democratic Republic of the Congo.'
Mr Rolls and his business partner had initially planned to supply upmarket bars in the capital, but within weeks of launching, Waitrose had been in touch and it began to appear on supermarket shelves.
They started to tap into the growing number of professionals with spare cash who wanted to splash out on upmarket mixers.
The duo have since created a range of premium mixers, which include elderflower tonic water and Sicilian lemonade, which have become hugely popular with gin fans and are sold at bars and supermarkets across the UK.