Bottle of Ginger is fundraising to launch a bottled ginger beer to change local 'juice' culture!
THE ISSUE WITH JUICE
The mass-produced and mass-consumed soft drinks of today are packed full of sugar and artificial ingredients, free of any nutritional value and detrimental to our personal health, the wellbeing of our communities and the life our planet.
Our government has begun to address the issue of sugar in drinks by implementing a sugar tax, in effect forcing key manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar in their drinks. This seems a logical step to record a statistical change – people will be effectively consuming less sugar from soft drinks. What is currently not being recognised is that manufacturers in order to avoid the tax and retain their customers are substituting this sugar with artificial ingredients and sweeteners linked, just like sugar, in numerous studies to obesity, diabetes and cancer. We believe that this approach is a ‘sugar-coating’ which refrains from addressing a number of much more complex and real cultural and socio-economic issues facing our community.
LOCAL JUICE CULTURE
The consumption of soft drinks can be used as a measure for geographic food, health and economic inequalities in Scotland.
In 2011, Bridgeton was classed in the top 5% of most deprived areas in Scotland meaning that the community faces complex socio-economic issues. We know that economic poverty and food poverty are linked. Bridgeton is a food desert. Families and individuals on limited budgets, with limited cooking skills and limited access to affordable fresh food, have often no other option than to turn to processed convenience food. ‘Juice’ culture is representative of this. In Bridgeton, we consume twice the national average of sugar from soft drinks per person per day than the national average. Increased levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease are reflective of this diet.
Proximity to derelict land has also an impact on health and a lower life expectancy. In Glasgow, 60% of people live within 500m of derelict land. In the East end, this figure is even higher. Post-industrialisation and de-population of the area has left voids in both the urban fabric as well as the community. Once, factories and tenements were intertwined and the green, the steamie and the high street were hives of community activity. Over the past century, these institutions were dismantled, the community displaced - the population decreased from 150,000 to 15,000 inhabitants. Today, 2 out of 3 local people do not feel part of the Bridgeton community.
BOTTLE OF GINGER
We believe that a community drinks company has the potential to drive local change. Our aim is to change local ‘juice’ culture by challenging local habits and perceptions of juice, by re-defining the product and by re-thinking the processes involved in soft drinks manufacturing.
We also believe that by getting the local community involved in the discussion around soft drinks, and in working together to grow ingredients, develop, design, manufacture and distribute better drinks, we will begin to see a shift in consumption habits and a strengthened sense of community. By transforming derelict land, dis-used gardens and under-used visual greens into edible landscapes we will also see an improvement in the wellbeing of the individual, the community as a whole and the place we live.
That’s why our aspiration is to establish a Community Drinks Company in Bridgeton - a micro-brewery, community manufactory and series of urban micro farms producing a range of local community drinks.
We started our journey as Bottle of Ginger by asking the question: ‘Can ginger be better?’ and began to answer this by exploring the East end’s soft drink manufacturing heritage, locally growing ingredients and experimenting with drinks-making. Utilising a previously derelict piece of land at Urban Edge we grew herbs, cucumbers, melons, roots and flowers which we then juiced, infused, extracted and brewed learning the basics of making drinks with natural ingredients.
We learned a few lessons from the olden days of soft drinks too - when glass cheques (empty bottles) were used as currency, ‘juice’ was delivered in crates to your door and your local corner shop brewed their own bottles of ‘ginger’. We began to experiment with this traditional corner shop method of drinks-making - natural fermentation - a process which utilises wild yeast and bacteria cultures to breakdown sugar to produce drinks rich in nutrients, probiotics and vitamins.
As a result we developed a heritage-inspired, naturally fermented ginger beer. Our ginger beer is completely free of artificial ingredients and refined sugar. The drink is made using only natural, organic and ethically sourced produce - unrefined sugar, filtered water, ginger and lemon – lightly fermented and carbonated by naturally occurring wild yeast.
YOUR investment in OUR community.
We’re asking for your help to launch our ginger beer into independent shops and cafes around Glasgow! Your crowdfunder donation will go towards producing our first batch of bottled ginger beer, covering the costs of product development, the organic and ethically sourced ingredients, recycled packaging and distribution.
The profits from the ginger beer will be re-invested into engaging the local community in discussions, foraging walks, micro-farming and drinks-making workshops. In autumn, we’ll use our newly acquired knowledge and skills to transform our local harvest into our first community grown, developed and brewed drink!