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My Lockdown Life – Anne Qvortrup

BEAST speaks to Anne Qvortrup, founder of Sprycraft Drinks about her lockdown life and how her Danish roots and age-old traditions inspired her dream

sprycraftdrinks east london

The idea to introduce a new more meaningful drinking experience for Anne Qvortrup turned into a captivating flavour experience and Sprycraft Drinks was born. Using fresh, seasonal ingredients to produce its limited batch SPRY editions, its short drinks can be enjoyed with friends in the great outdoors, or at home with a simple, hearty meal.

What does your lockdown life look like at the moment?

Like most other people’s lives I think. Working from home and making sure I get my daily outdoor exercise and meeting up with my friends and family on video chat. However, I’ve had an international career and lots of my friends and family live abroad, so I have always done this. Now I get to meet up with my local friends online too, however I am looking forward to more real life chats..

What have you found the most challenging about the lockdown?

In Denmark we say, there is no bad weather but only bad clothes – however I must admit that January was tough It was dark, rainy, cold and you just felt like cuddling up in your favourite spot with a cup of coffee. On the high side – I finished four books that month, which was amazing, being able to step into another world for a while. I really miss a nice meal out in a restaurant, a drink with friends sitting down and going to the cinema or museum on a Sunday afternoon.

How has your business/work been affected by lockdown life?

It’s been a challenge for most businesses. We launched our products in the middle of an epidemic when most of our customers were really struggling and many restaurants were forced to close. The majority of our sales go to these costumers, who unfortunately needed to cancel orders to keep their costs down. We have, however, been blessed because we had the platform where we could reach out to the end consumers, who luckily have showed us massive support. It fills us with love to see that so many want to support small independent producers.

Do you have a go-to lockdown meal at the moment?

Oh yes, while most of my diet is local plant-based food, I ensure when I eat meat it is the best quality! Just around the corner from where I live, on Fish Island, we have luckily have From the Ashes BBQ – their Smoked Pork Bun is absolutely amazing, it brings back all the good memories of my childhood.

What have you been doing to relax during this time – have you found anything really effective?

I’ve experimented with new ways to compost our waste. We’ve tested growing mushrooms out of our waste and even more exciting, experimented with Worm Farms. I have to say that especially the worm farm has peeked my interest. I don’t think I would have used the time on research if it hadn’t been for lockdown. However, worms are such cool creatures. They can turn your house waste into compost which then can be used for new soil for your houseplants. Did you, for example, know that worms have five hearts and breathe through their skin?

We started our current farm with 500 worms, however by experimenting, adding new floors and various type of waste to the farm – we can see they have had a really good time! The farm is now full of baby worms and hundreds of cocoons. The experiment is now how we can create a cocoon nursery and at the same time give away all this beautiful soil to friends and family to fix up their plants or grow new tomatoes in their apartments around East London.

I think this is a smart way for the community to come together and create beautiful spots for composting. There is a great educational perspective on this as well. It might be a weird comparison, but did you know that if you take a scale and add all humans in the world on one side and all ants in the world on the other side – then the scale will be equal? Then think about the waste generated from the two species. Ants have got a fully regenerated home where they don’t have any waste. Humans however… ya, I don’t think we should get into the details about how much waste we generate, but instead let’s just agree that we have so much to learn!

Have you read any interesting books or articles, or watched any great films or TV series you’d recommend?

A while ago I watched David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet. I think we, as a community, can do much better in preserving our planet. As part of our agenda in SPRY, we are now supporting 1% for the planet with donations and we are going through the assessment to become Bcorp certified. This is a small step forward where we can support a sustainable future. I also watched a documentary about a cat killer Don’t fuck with cats, which reminded me that the internet is a weird and twisted place sometimes.

Have there been any silver linings for you during this period?

Tons, it’s been great to have the time to relax and reflect. We’ve been working on web stuff we wouldn’t normally have worked on. There’s been a lot of great online courses and skills to be had which means we can do a lot of things ourselves that’s kind of great going forward.

Will you be making any changes to your life moving forward in a post-lockdown world?

lockdown life

I’ve always enjoyed a good adventure and travelling the world. You know many people have this map on their wall with all the pins showing where they have been. I have it on my phone and the countries visited are currently counting more than 50. The epidemic has shown me there are so many beautiful places to explore in UK. I recently bought a tent and planned a list of new adventures in UK which I would like to explore on foot together with friends. The next adventure is planned for the Isle of Wight.

Any words of wisdom or support for anyone particularly struggling right now? 

No matter the weather, ensure you get outside for some fresh air every day! And remember to stop up and celebrate your victories even the small ones. Last week,  for example, I celebrated that no worms escaped the worm farm for more than a month, that my sister got her cast off her foot after been stuck to the sofa for two months and just because the the sun was out 🙂

How have you stayed engaged with your East London community during this time? 

In the beginning of lockdown, I volunteered as a park ranger to help keep Victoria Park open. I think many locals struggled during these two weeks when the park was closed. Many people in East London don’t have an outdoor space, whereas Victoria Park was a small piece of freedom and fresh air.

Buying local and supporting small businesses, has really become extra important and there are so many good things popping up so I do this as often I can.

Do you have any favourite East London businesses doing great things that you’d like to shout about?

I have so many – mainly around the Wick:

  • My local gym, Groundwork Training in Hackney Wick – Katherine and Matt are absolutely amazing. Doing everything they can for us to stay sane with online classes and they motive us to exercise – I can’t wait for the gyms to open again.
  • From the Ashes BBQ on Fish Island – support it, you will not regret it!
  • Just next to the Ashes we have now got a small flower shop selling British flowers – I absolutely love this little place
  • The Jungle Boat – amazing little place where you can get new plants in the Wick.
  • Crate – its fabulous Middle Eastern Lamb is back on the menu – oh we missed it
  • Barge East – an amazing space, they do so much for the community with their farmers market and their garden
  • HWK – the best coffee in the Wick.
  • Howling Hops – best beers in the Wick
  • Nest Food – when the world opens, this is the first restaurant I will book.
  • Douglas McMaster from Silo London – follow his Zero waste cooking school on Insta.

My Lockdown Life – Anne Qvortrup

Please share any exciting projects you’ve been working on during this time, as well as information on how readers can support you and your work right now.

We’ve been working on launching our new range of flavours produced 100% from British ingredients, as with our other flavours we only use fresh ingredients, no additives here – We can’t wait to bring these new amazing flavours out to you. Follow us: @sprycraftdrinksor sign up to our newsletter on drinkspry.com

Being Danish we enjoy a short drink together with food. We’d like to bring this ritual into the British culture, be it a short drink with your brunch or a great twist to your dessert. This is why we’re partnering up with local restaurants to launch our food and SPRY pairing. We ‘e always looking for food influencers and restaurants who would like to try something new. DM us on @sprycraftdrinks if you would like to know more

Supporting friends with establishing their worm farms – DM me if you need some help @anne.qvortrup. I truly believe all London flats should have their own Worm Farms and I can also provide you some interesting tips on how to catch them when they escape from their house! J

Please support us as a small producer and buy your next drinks on @sprycraftdrinks

 

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