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 a British accent on top.
The difference? It’s in the drinks. While Hackney hipsters are resigned to staples like Bacardi and Smirnoff as well 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 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.
This is a community with an ever changing history and ever changing demographic. This is also a community rapidly facing the effects of gentrification at the hand of 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.
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.
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.
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