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Social enterprise puts surplus fruit back in the mix

PUBLISHED: 12:36 27 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:54 29 September 2020

Cathy Heng from The Social Drinking Company. Picture: The Social Drinking Company

Cathy Heng from The Social Drinking Company. Picture: The Social Drinking Company

The Social Drinking Company

A social enterprise is making use of surplus fruit to make non-alcoholic cocktails with a conscience.

Fiona Lawlor and Susannah Day from The Social Drinking Company. Picture: The Social Drinking CompanyFiona Lawlor and Susannah Day from The Social Drinking Company. Picture: The Social Drinking Company

The Social Drinking Company’s ethos is to give back to the community, with £5 donated to food poverty charities from each bottle of Social Shrub sold.

After careers in advertising, friends Cathy Heng, from Hampstead, Susannah Day, from Richmond, and Fiona Lawlor, from Teddington, wanted to do some good by combatting food waste and poverty. They intend to donate to numerous food poverty charities, such as UK Harvest and the Felix Project.

Their surplus food is sourced from the Co-op which Cathy says has been “wonderful, absolutely amazing”.

She collects fruit from half a dozen of the Co-op’s north London stores, using it for their Social Shrub drink.

The trio experimented with the recipes in their own kitchens, after applying to the councils to allow them to do it.

Using an old fruit preservation technique called macerating, their modern take extracts flavours over a two-to-three week period.

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The drink can be mixed with soda and ice or used as a cocktail base.

Cathy, an art designer, has created a cocktail recipe book using their three flavours. She designed the labels on reusable glass bottles and said they have created a premium, sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktail for the emerging alcohol free market.

The drinks are currently stocked at Bingham Riverhouse Hotel and Petersham Nurseries, both in Richmond, and the group hope to expand into bars such as Groucho club and pubs in Hampstead.

“We’d love to spread the drink around locally and do good,” says Cathy.

Cathy also takes leftover Co-op supplies such as bread, vegetables and non-perishables to Muswell Hill Soup Kitchen, which is currently fundraising to buy a van.

“It is so wonderful to have it going somewhere good, rather than rotting away,” she says.

“We want to help feed people who are vulnerable and can’t see where their next meal is coming from.

“During the pandemic so many people have lost their jobs. They must be feeling terrible. They’ve got to feed a family.”


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