Mingling & Wriggling: An Independents Evening

On June 22, Bristol Pound and Wriggle, a Bristol restaurants mobile-app, collaborated to host an ‘Independents Evening’, a gathering of our local, independent food and drink businesses at the Bristol 2015 Lab. Business owners had the chance to meet, mingle and catch up while enjoying drink samples from six different businesses: Moor Beers, Psychopomp, Bristol Beer Factory, Little & Long Coffee, Lovely Drinks and Stewart Wines.

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There was a constant buzz of individuals from different businesses connected to the Bristol Pound and Wriggle– suppliers, retailers and marketers alike- chatting and getting to know one another, over clinks of wine glasses and pops of bottles of locally  produced gin, ale and juice.

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When grabbing drink samples, it was natural to stop to have a conversation with each individual behind the table, more often the owner or founder of the business itself. I had a long chat with Victoria of Lovely Drinks, and we talked about how the family business all began with Elderflowers picked from fields right by her family’s home. The sentiment of the businesses and individuals present was captured through a conversation with Danny of Psychopomp, as he described how him making gin began (and still continues) as a hobby, and his passion for the product and what he does was evident as he described the process of producing gin.

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It was also easy to find yourself bumping into individuals who you had met behind the counter in a café or behind the table at a street food stall, both recognizing each other but having the opportunity now to get to know each other a little bit better and chat in a different environment.

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All in all, the evening was a great way to get to know some of our local traders and businesses and for some mingling and community-building among the Independent community. With about 800 local businesses accepting the Bristol Pound and many of these a part of Wriggle too, it’s really neat to witness the social benefits that go hand-in-hand with a stronger, more localized economy. There’s something really special about knowing that when you choose to spend your £ (or £B, of course!) at a local, independent café, restaurant, supplier or other business, you’re directly supporting another Bristolian, and it’s even more special to get to know the faces and individuals behind the businesses you choose to support.

(All photos by Christy Nunns Photography)