If you’re planning on using more local shops this year, here’s a guide to some of the leading independent businesses to try, as well as some of the great food, drink and products made right here on home soil, from gin stocked in Harvey Nichols to a farm shop selling some of the best pies around.
1. Poetic License gin, Roker
One of Sunderland's most successful exports, 50,000 bottles of Poetic License gin are made at the distillery at the Roker Hotel each year and sold worldwide, as well as being stocked on the shelves of supermarket chains such as Asda and high-end stores including Harvey Nichols. Look out for its limited edition Rarities range where they experiment with unusual flavour profiles.
2. Bread&, North East BIC
Bakery Bread& opened at North East BIC in 2020 and has proved particularly popular over lockdown. It already supplied sourdoughs and sweet treats to places including Trakol in Gateshead and The Urban Kitchen in Pallion and is now forging links with other businesses thanks to its new base, supplying to places such as CoffeeHaus coffee shop and Fat Unicorn in Sunderland city centre, as well as many others.
Photo: JPI Media
3. Northumbria Spring, Southwick
Northumbria Spring is bottled at source at the Clearly Drinks factory in Riverside Road, Southwick, which became a household name in its former guise as Villa. Today, the bottling plant still bottles Villa pop, but it also has huge success with its range of own brand waters: Northumbria Spring, Perfectly Clear, Revolution Waves and Upstream. So much so, that last year was its best performing in its 135-year history.
4. Support a local coffee shop
In recent years, Sunderland has welcomed a wave of quality independent coffee shops, such as Grinder, Cole, Paticake Patisserie, Fausto, Pop Recs and many more.
Photo: jpi media