Alternative Assignment – Nisbett

Walk into any bar on Rainey Street in Austin, Texas and you’ll see a room full of young, tattooed hipsters comparing music tastes and discussing the newest reason why Trump is the literal worst. Walk into any bar in the old Truman Brewery or any other hip bar in Shoreditch and you’ll hear the exact same conversations, just with an added British accent.

blog-bungalow-austin.jpg
Bar on Rainey Street in Austin, Texas

The difference? It’s in the drinks. While Hackney hipsters are resigned to staples like Bacardi and Smirnoff (along with as some local brews to keep things interesting), Austinites have an array of local choices, the top of which is Deep Eddy Vodkas and I think it’s about time Austin shared the love.

The formal borough of Hackney includes Stoke-Newington and Shoreditch and together they make one of the most up and coming, dangerous, and hipster boroughs in all of London Proper. It is also a sister city to the one and only Austin, Texas, creating formal international trade ties as well as informal cultural ties.

“Hackney is cool,” 23-year-old Oli, a Hackney native said. “I don’t know how else to describe it other than cool. And diverse.”

With over a quarter of its population under the age of 20 and 21% between the ages of 20-29, Hackney is very much a young borough and therefore that would be the main clientele of Deep Eddy. While there would be the obvious issue of making a name for themselves in a nightlife literally built in a centuries old brewery and bars seeping with Ciroc and Smirnoff, Deep Eddy has always had a youthful brand that would fit right in.

big-chill2.jpg
Big Chill Bar in the Truman Brewery of Shoreditch

This is a community with an ever changing history and demographic. This is also a community rapidly facing the effects of gentrification at the hand of the London hipsters. With the help of street artists like Banksy and Space Invader bringing a cool factor to the area, the once Kurdish-heavy, older and poorer demographic has shifted with the influx of new, hip businesses.

“This area has gotten much safer in the past few years and a lot of the people who’ve lived here forever have seen the shift,” longtime resident Hettie, 54 said. “All these young people move in and bring new stuff to the area but it’s gotten quite expensive and some areas that used to be quite dangerous are now in hot demand.”

There are many reasons I believe this is the perfect neighborhood for Deep Eddy to expand into. For one, the nightlife scene is already established. There is a need for a wide range of new, cool alcohol brands to set these bars apart from those in Soho or Covent Garden.

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Deep Eddy Advertising campaign in Austin

Instead of coming to these bars just to get drunk and dance to house music, the people that go to Big Chill House and others in the old brewery come to socialize and show off their knowledge of craft beers and indie bands. The drink you’re holding is just as important as the cigarettes in your pocket and the vintage shop you bought your top from.

Also, I believe the brand would translate really well into this neighborhood and this clientele. Since it is so culturally similar to Austin, I feel like it would allow for the brand to use a similar marketing strategy to that which they already use, just with a few modifications.

Hackney.jpg
Gentrification in numbers

Another reason I’m confident in Hackney is due to the rapid gentrification mentioned earlier. With so many new businesses pouring money into the area and social and local medias portraying the area as the hot new thing, the buzz will open the door for the brand but Hackney’s new residents who aren’t going anywhere anytime soon will give it its staying power.

While gentrification has its obvious negatives especially when it comes to preserving the culture of a city, it can have positive impacts on companies looking to get into an up and coming area from the beginning. It gives them street cred to say “we were here first” and to hipsters, that’s usually the most important thing.

In the next ten years, I see Hackney continuing to grow and evolve from the “murder mile” era into something much more similar to Austin or even Denton. Hopefully a place that hasn’t lost sight of its roots and the cultures that make it unique but has changed into something safer and more prosperous.

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Due to their sister city status, Austin held a Hackney exhibit during SXSW showcasing Hackney innovators and creators. The relationship is already there!

I think this would be a great opportunity for Deep Eddy to make a name for themselves not only in Hackney or London but in Europe as well. Starting somewhere familiar to gain a reputation then expanding throughout the wealthier boroughs and on to other parts of the UK seems like a good way to go. And if they manage to make the same great drinks for the Brits that they do for the Texans, they’ll have nothing to worry about.

Yours Politely, Natalie

 

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Alternative Assignment – Thorne

 

Walk into any bar on Rainey Street in Austin, Texas and you’ll see a room full of young, tattooed hipsters comparing music tastes and discussing the newest reason why Trump is the literal worst. Walk into any bar in the old Truman Brewery or any other hip bar in Shoreditch and you’ll hear the exact same conversations, just with an added British accent.

blog-bungalow-austin.jpg

The difference? It’s in the drinks. While Hackney hipsters are resigned to staples like Bacardi and Smirnoff (along with as some local brews to keep things interesting), Austinites have an array of local choices, the top of which is Deep Eddy Vodkas and I think it’s about time Austin shared the love.

The formal borough of Hackney includes Stoke-Newington and Shoreditch and together they make one of the most up and coming, dangerous, and hipster boroughs in all of London Proper. It is also a sister city to the one and only Austin, Texas, creating formal international trade ties as well as informal cultural ties.

“Hackney is cool,” 23-year-old Oli, a Hackney native said. “I don’t know how else to describe it other than cool. And diverse.”

With over a quarter of its population under the age of 20 and 21% between the ages of 20-29, Hackney is very much a young borough and therefore that would be the main clientele of Deep Eddy. While there would be the obvious issue of making a name for themselves in a nightlife literally built in a centuries old brewery and bars seeping with Ciroc and Smirnoff, Deep Eddy has always had a youthful brand that would fit right in.

big-chill2.jpg

This is a community with an ever changing history and demographic. This is also a community rapidly facing the effects of gentrification at the hand of the London hipsters. With the help of street artists like Banksy and Space Invader bringing a cool factor to the area, the once Kurdish-heavy, older and poorer demographic has shifted with the influx of new, hip businesses.

“This area has gotten much safer in the past few years and a lot of the people who’ve lived here forever have seen the shift,” longtime resident Hettie, 54 said. “All these young people move in and bring new stuff to the area but it’s gotten quite expensive and some areas that used to be quite dangerous are now in hot demand.”

There are many reasons I believe this is the perfect neighborhood for Deep Eddy to expand into. For one, the nightlife scene is already established. There is a need for a wide range of new, cool alcohol brands to set these bars apart from those in Soho or Covent Garden.

deepeddyvodka-02.jpg

Instead of coming to these bars just to get drunk and dance to house music, the people that go to Big Chill House and others in the old brewery come to socialize and show off their knowledge of craft beers and indie bands. The drink you’re holding is just as important as the cigarettes in your pocket and the vintage shop you bought your top from.

Also, I believe the brand would translate really well into this neighborhood and this clientele. Since it is so culturally similar to Austin, I feel like it would allow for the brand to use a similar marketing strategy to that which they already use, just with a few modifications.

Hackney.jpg

Another reason I’m confident in Hackney is due to the rapid gentrification mentioned earlier. With so many new businesses pouring money into the area and social and local medias portraying the area as the hot new thing, the buzz will open the door for the brand but Hackney’s new residents who aren’t going anywhere anytime soon will give it its staying power.

While gentrification has its obvious negatives especially when it comes to preserving the culture of a city, it can have positive impacts on companies looking to get into an up and coming area from the beginning. It gives them street cred to say “we were here first” and to hipsters, that’s usually the most important thing.

In the next ten years, I see Hackney continuing to grow and evolve from the “murder mile” era into something much more similar to Austin or even Denton. Hopefully a place that hasn’t lost sight of its roots and the cultures that make it unique but has changed into something safer and more prosperous.

hackney (1).jpg

I think this would be a great opportunity for Deep Eddy to make a name for themselves not only in Hackney or London but in Europe as well. Starting somewhere familiar to gain a reputation then expanding throughout the wealthier boroughs and on to other parts of the UK seems like a good way to go. And if they manage to make the same great drinks for the Brits that they do for the Texans, they’ll have nothing to worry about.

Yours Politely, Natalie

Additional Links:

The World’s 25 Most Hipster Neighborhoods

Hackney Wikipedia

Austin vs. Portland: Which City is More Hipster

Its a London Thing.

The past five weeks of my life have been spent studying abroad in London and they have been both the best and worst weeks of my life. I have always had a love for British culture and for experiencing the world and I never thought I would actually get this opportunity and while it was wonderful and I will remember this for the rest of my life, it was, in reality, very different than the vision I had in my head.

In the weeks leading up to my trip, amid packing, my sister’s wedding and finishing up spring semester, my boyfriend of two and a half years broke up with me and I was devastated. It turns out the timing could not have been better as having a way to literally put an ocean between me and my problems was the best solution.
I needed this trip as a way to grow away from the expectations of my everyday life. I left the States in a place where I was less sure of myself and where my life was headed than I had ever been and knew that if I used this trip correctly, I could figure out who I am, in my own terms.


I can’t say with certainty whether or not I achieved this in my time here. Am I a different person than the one who boarded the plane five weeks ago? Yes. I’m more confident and capable and can appreciate myself more. Am I the perfect or complete version of myself who has all her shit together? Not even close (and I have many memories of crying on a London fire escape to practical strangers to prove it).


I can say, however, that the experiences, both positive and negative, as well as the people, those I bonded with and those I didn’t, have left an incredible and lasting impact on my life. I think I will look back on these five weeks and the people I met here as the turning point in my life. I am capable. I am strong. And I lived in a freaking foreign country for a month and kicked its ass.

Yours Politely, Natalie

 

Hackney: The Times are Changing

For my neighborhood assignment, I wanted to pick a neighborhood I knew nothing about but that would be somewhere I would spend my time if I were a local. I decided on Hackney because I had heard there was a music scene there but my expectations were pretty open. I decided the best way to experience the city was to spend a day there alone, walking around and finding the cool places on their own, without help from TripAdvisor or any other place aimed at tourism.

When you get off the train at Hackney Downs, it looks like a pretty sketchy borough of London. This unassuming city which has in recent years become a hipster hotspot, has a long history within London.

The borough the way it is today was founded in 1965 when it merged with Stoke Newington and Shoreditch, both of which share a large present day hipster population and have recently been facing the effects of gentrification. The name Hackney, however, dates back to the 1200s when the area was believed to be surrounded by marshes, making it somewhat inaccessible and therefore deemed an “island”.

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Hackney coat of arms which is a combination of the three combined boroughs

Both Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road, prominent Hackney avenues were once apart of a large Roman road that ran through the borough.

What was once a place frequented by nobility, the borough now stands as one of the most economically struggling parts of London with every ward in the 10% of “most deprived” in the country with “47% of its children living in low income homes. It also has a reputation of being very unsafe, at least in recent history but has seen a significant drop in recent years.

This low income, dangerous vibe is still apparent when you step off the tube with rundown shops and homeless people on every corner. When I first got there, I thought perhaps I was in the wrong place, while I know hipsters are known for getting in before the rush, this place seemed like a sleepy town full of people just trying to get by.

After wandering through residential streets for a while, I finally arrived at Mare Street, one of Hackney’s most popular. The shift in atmosphere was palpable. All of a sudden there was free wifi, a huge museum, manicured gardens in front of the courthouse and a picturesque art film theatre. The people shifted too, gone were the shop owners and families heading home and in their place were young, rainbow-haired “cool kids” toting their vintage shopping bags and casually taking drags from their hand-rolled cigarettes.

Unlike near Shoreditch High Street and the markets there, the hipster seen in central Hackney is a little harder to find and is much more word of mouth than tourist attraction. While Mare Street stood out, it was only after a little bit of searching that I came across it.

They’re were Labour posters in many windows, and anti-tory stickers littered among the streets.

“It’s not uncommon to see labour posters,” Viki, 34 said. “People who’ve been here their whole life are much more conservative than the kids moving in who are very liberal. They’re bringing a new mindset to the city.”

There is definitely a variety of cultures but they haven’t quite mixed yet. There is a lot of Turkish and Kurdish influence due to its high population and I saw lots of orthodox Jews walking around with their children which lends itself to an interesting culture.

jewish-family-hackney-credit-kafka4prez-via-flickr
Orthodox Jews walking through Hackney

“The [Kurdish] community here is very welcoming,” Olan, 52 said. ” My family has lived here for a long time and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else other than my home.”

There is lots of local media like the Hackney Gazette and the Hackney Post which focuses on community news and attractions like Hackney One Carnival and Hoxton Hall events.

While I chose this neighborhood to focus on the hipster music scene, what I found in the heart of Hackney was much more intriguing. A meeting point of culture as well as a once overtly dangerous neighborhood now dealing with the effects of gentrification.

“Things have been changing a lot in recent years and it’s not all bad,” Freddie 21 said. “The hipsters yeah, have been changing the culture but its the companies moving into places like Shoreditch that are changing things. It has gotten a lot safer though I think.”

For a city once nicknamed “murder mile” and has recently been in the news for the mugging of a 92-year-old woman, theres is quite a distinct and vibrant culture that hopegully will be able to retain its sense of self with the current influx of outsiders, although I do hope the upward trend of safety continues for the sake of its residents.

Yours Politely, Natalie

 

External Links:

Hackney Wikipedia Post

Woman, 92, dragged along ground by robber in Hackney

Hackney Gazette News