Company Drinks is an art project in the shape of a drinks company.
It links the history of East Londoners ‘going hop picking’ in Kent to the formation of a new community enterprise, which brings people together to pick, process and produce drinks in east London today.
Company Drinks is a new type of company, where the commercial supports the communal and cultural. Each year, we run a full drinks production cycle of growing, picking, processing, branding, bottling, trading and reinvesting. We produce syrups, sodas, saps, tonics, ciders, pops and beers. And we create an open, inter-generational and cross-cultural public space, where we can meet to produce something useful with and for each other.
We began in 2014, with a simple invitation to residents in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to go picking again. Since then, more than 36000 people from across the borough and London wide have engaged with our company through harvests, workshops, public events and Hopping Afternoons, and we’ve been recognised on a national and international level . Today, we’ve developed into a fully-fledged community enterprise with a permanent base in Barking Park.
Company Drinks wants to become a solid example of how to combine local heritage (‘going picking’ and the area’s agricultural and industrial past) with local resources (spare fruit, growing spaces), local skills (recipe ideas, specialist and localised knowledge, drinks production) and a local economy.
Company Drinks was set up by Kathrin Böhm of Myvillages in May 2014, with the help of the Create Art Award. We registered it as a Community Interest Company in 2015. Today, it’s run by Kathrin, Cam Jarvis, Pip Field, Oribi Davies and Tracky Crombie.