New drinkers hotspot in the heart of Hackney

The new drinks market will be open the first Saturday of every month. Pic: Hackney Drinks Market

The new drinks market will be open the first Saturday of every month. Pic: Hackney Drinks Market

There is a new market in Hackney and it is unlike any other in London. Hackney Drinks Market, specialises in locally produced beverages of all types.

After the success of the first market in May, market founder Max Kennedy said he is excited about the second one this Saturday that will focus on London’s gin distillers.

“I want to create a landmark market, a bit like Columbia Road,” Kennedy said, “where we are famous for drink producers.”

Gin lovers, can enjoy five local distillers on site on Saturday afternoon which will be offered among at least 20 London-based drink producers, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic,

“Hackney Drinks Market was the first one we participated in,” East London Liquor Company founder Alex Worpert said. “I think it’s brilliant. It’s great that there’s a hunger for something like that, where you can go buy the product directly from the producer.”

East London Liquors Company, located in Bow Wharf, will be one of the gin distillers at the drinks market. The distillery has been opened for about 10 months. In addition they craft rum and vodka.

“There’s this stigma that if it’s handcrafted, it has to be expensive,” Worpert said. “[The market] is proving that something handcrafted in London can be affordable.”

For the gin special, visitors can enjoy specialty beverages that they can’t find anywhere else. 58 Gin will be showcasing their specialty gin, cherry blossom flavoured, which is only available at the market.

“I think [the market] is a really great idea,” 58 Gin owner Mark Marmont said. “It’s a good way to bring the independent, craft market together… It’s really nice to be part of that community.”

58 Gin is a distillery located in Hackney Downs Studio, on the same property as the market. Marmont said 58 Gin has only been producing since January.

“Every month we are trying to be different,” Kennedy said. “This month we have lots of new traders.”

One of these new traders is London Cru, located in Fulham, which is the city’s only urban winery.. It has been open for two years, but winery assistant Alex McNair said this is the first drinks market London Cru has participated in.

“We think that the drinks market is a brilliant platform for us, and other small producers, to share our stories and showcase our products,” McNair said. “The variety of brewers, distillers, roasters etc. on show, together with some epic food pairings, should make for many great Saturday afternoons in East London.”

Kennedy said his vision for the market is “it showcases people who are making drinks in London.”

Even the food available incorporates drink culture, with producers crafting beverage-inspired charcuteries, snacks and seafood. Among these products are international bar foods, liquor infused cured meats and fresh seafood.

“I think London needed a drink market,” Kennedy said. “It’s an exciting thing to do to start something that’s never been done before.”

Kennedy said his passion for the local drink producers and knowledge from running the Dalston Food Market inspired him to start the drinks market.

He said: “It doesn’t feel like work to me.”

The Hackney Drinks Market had its first opening on May 2, with over 1,000 visitors throughout the day. It will be held the first Saturday of each month, but Kennedy said there have already been proposals to host it every weekend.

Kennedy said: “The first market was to concentrate on Hackney, but the idea is to spread around London eventually. However, currently a large concentration of our producers comes from Hackney.

“We’re not just about East London, but we want to be as local as possible.”

The market is located in Amhurst Terrace in Hackney. There is no cover charge, and producers will be selling items at stalls.

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