12 Ethical London Drinks (and why we love them)
We have seen a surge in demand for ethical, local and sustainable foods during the pandemic, but what about what we’re drinking? Amy Luck takes a look at the London-based drinks brands working for people and planet.
So, what do we look for when it comes to drinks? What makes a drink ethical? Here are a dozen ethical drinks and why we love them.
1. Toast Ale @ToastAle
Toast Ale use surplus bread to replace virgin barley, using less land, water, energy and avoid carbon emissions. They give all their profits to different charities, funding systemic change to fix the food system and use their platforms to engage people in conversation about the planet. Plus, the beer is delicious, an ‘Eel favourite is the chocolate stout. Cheers.
2. The Green Vic @thegreenvic
All about people and planet over profit, The Green Vic is aiming to be the world’s most ethical pub by donating a portion of their profits to charities, supporting the homeless community to get jobs with them and stocking everything they serve from non-profits or social enterprises. The pub launch has been put on pause for now but they are planning an exciting online alternative to go live in a few months’ time... Watch this space!
Credit: Toast Ale
Keeping it local
3. The Urban Wine Company @Urbanwineuk
The Urban Wine Company (UWC) bring together people across London and the Home Counties that grow grapes in their gardens and allotments. They are currently selling their Tooting White Fizz.
This year’s annual harvest takes place at All Saints Church, Brudenell Rd, Tooting, SW17 8DQ on the 25th September between 8am until 1pm. Members can then get their own wine made from their own grapes and this includes a Rose still and a Rose fizz. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to sign up.
4. Ki Kefir @ki.kefir
New health craze here to stay, kefir specialists Ki Kefir make small batch drinks using traditional methods. Sourcing milk from grass fed cows and organic and regenerative pastures in East Sussex and selling into London.
Credit: Earth Ale foraging for ingredients, taken by Chris King
5. Earth Ales @earthale
By name by nature, Earth Ale brews beer from natural ingredients and foraged from wild ingredients in England, infused in a natural brewing process to create seasonal batch recipes. Brewed in North London, they also have a bus taproom serving their beers which can vary from flavours such as dandelion root and pine sap to plants as weird and wonderful as lemon verbena and hogweed.
6. Clarkshaws @clarkshaws
London’s first microbrewery to produce all Vegetarian Society accredited products, Clarkshaws processes are designed to be vegan and vegetarian friendly. All the ingredients in their beers are sourced in the UK, supporting local producers and reducing the ‘beer miles’ of all of their products. They also make deliveries in their electric vehicle and reuse wastewater in local growing projects! Which is why they won a London Food Link Urban Food Award 2019.
7. Hiver beers @HiverBeers
Based in Bermondsey, Hiver beers bring bees and beers together by buying independent British beekeepers honey and using this as an integral part of their brewing process. Founder Hannah Rhodes first tasted urban honey at London Food Links Urban Food Fortnight!
Drinking for good
Photo: Usman Khalid by Miles Wills
8. Haven Coffee @haven_coffee
Founded in 2019 by Usman Khalid, and one of our 2020 Urban Food Award winners, HAVEN Coffee runs pop-up coffee shops for workspaces and events across London. Each cup is not only fairly traded and organic but helps support refugee communities, by promoting refugee artists, organising events and providing barista training to refugees. And with a new home in St Mary's Road, Walthamstow, we can't wait to pop in for a 'coffee with a conscience'.
9. ChariTea / LemonAid @lemonaid_uk
ChariTea iced teas are made from organic and Fairtrade ingredients that are ethically sourced from cooperatives and plantations around the world. Every bottle sold donates to the Lemonaid and ChariTea Foundation which fund social projects in the growing regions that their products are sourced from. Give back while you drink!
10. Nemiteas @nemiteas
A London-based tea company who provide employment to refugees as well as ensuring all their teabags are Organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance certified and plastic-free. We know where the next ‘Eel tea break will be sourced from.
Skipping the sugar
11. Dalstons @DrinkDalstons
London born soda brand Dalston's are going back to basics and putting real fruit at the heart of their drinks while avoiding refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. You can have your fizz and drink it! See our Roots to Work with co-founder Duncan.
12. Treats Hibiscus Drinks @treatshibiscusdrinks
The hibiscus plant, or Sorrel in the Caribbean, has been drunk for generations as a natural alternative. Treats Hibiscus Drinks use natural organic ingredients including hibiscus, ginger, clove and cinnamon. Tried it yet?