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Feature: Drinks project inspired by hopping history

PUBLISHED: 12:15 01 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:38 01 October 2014

Hop picking

Hop picking

Kathrin Bohm

There’s nothing unusual about making your own food – but what about drinks?

Kathrin Bohm, who's been co-ordinating a social enterprise project encouraging people to make and sell their own drinks (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)Kathrin Bohm, who's been co-ordinating a social enterprise project encouraging people to make and sell their own drinks (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

For the past six months, a project led by artist Kathrin Bohm has tried to get the people of Barking and Dagenham involved in creating a range of beverages.

“We’ve had a really good response,” said Kathrin. “We weren’t sure if it was the sort of thing anyone would be interested in, but we’ve had people from all walks of life, young and old, get involved.”

Commissioned by Create and run by artist group Myvillages, Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks was inspired by the thousands of east Londoners who headed down to Kent to pick hops each summer.

“We’ve picked everything ourselves, and a lot of the berries were harvested in Barking and Dagenham,” Kathrin said.

The hop picking trip attracted people from all walks of life (pic: Elena Heatherwick)The hop picking trip attracted people from all walks of life (pic: Elena Heatherwick)

“We ran coach trips to pick hops in Kent and a farm in Essex, and there were people on those that had been hop picking as a child.

“The trips were so popular we could have run more coaches.”

The culmination of the summer’s project is a celebratory drinks tasting session at Eastbury Manor House on Monday.

Lemonade, cola and beer, all pictured, will all be available to try, with bottles on sale for just £1.

Drinks made by the project (pic: Kathrin Bohm)Drinks made by the project (pic: Kathrin Bohm)

“The profits are going to go back into the project,” said Kathrin. “This isn’t just a one year project; we want to keep on running it.”

The ultimate aim is to create a new community enterprise, with the first batch of 20,000 drinks to be sold at events throughout the borough.

“The labels have got pictures on from our trips and some of the people involved came up with names from the drinks,” Kathrin added.

“We’ve got BAD cola, for example, which stands for ‘Barking and Dagenham cola’.”

With the group moving into their new base at the Park Centre next month, Kathrin hopes to run weekly sessions and keep the drinks movement in Barking and Dagenham very much alive.

Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks has been commissioned by Create and is supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

The drinks tasting is taking place at Eastbury Manor House between 4pm and 7pm on Monday.

Read more:

Artist group wins award for Barking and Dagenham drinks project


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