Today we had the pleasure of working on a super exciting project with the @nordiemcr team, based in Levenshulme! We first worked with Oddie, the co-founder of Nordie, when he managed The Pilcrow, which used to be our bar with the @portstreetbeer crew before it became @sadlerscatpub At Cloudwater, we are big fans of Nordie’s shrub soda, which is a drink made with fruit-infused acidic syrup and sparkling water. The drink’s origin dates back to 17th-century England when vinegar was used to preserve fruits and berries. We had LOTS of fun making this soda, which involved a very hands-on and creative process! For the base of this soda, we used a gooseberry sour beer from our Barrel Project, a Cloudwater twist for the sour component. Then, we macerated the zest with sugar for three days to make the shrub base. Finally, we infused the rosemary, lemon, and apricot puree. This delicious soda will be available soon, so stay tuned for updates! 🍋
What motivated you to delve into the hospitality industry?
We both enjoy the energy and dynamics of the industry – it’s fuelled by teamwork with everyone working hard to achieve a common goal, and that appeals to us. The feeling you get at the end of a busy shift when everyone pulled together to make it go like clockwork is unbeatable (you’ll know if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant at Christmas!). It’s a tough industry though, and it can be a real emotional rollercoaster. Hopefully our little business and the way we operate is making small steps to bring positive change.
What experiences or influences shaped your vision for Nordie?
We both have different tastes in what we’re after when we go out and in the past one of us has always had to compromise because most places specialise in one thing. With Nordie we wanted to create a place that had something for everyone – just a small selection of each product type, but with each done well. We try to keep an equal split of each category of drinks, and with thought put in to each. In terms of the space itself, we wanted to create a place that felt light and spacious and healthy. It needed to feel welcoming and accessible and easy going.
Nordie has a strong emphasis on local and organic products. What sparked this commitment, and how do you go about sourcing and selecting the beverages and food you offer?
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to local breweries – there are so many on our doorstep, all producing high quality products that we love showcasing. It’s important to us that we support other local businesses where we can, and build relationships with our Manchester neighbours and that’s why we endeavour to stock as many local products as we can.
What drew you to the idea of collaborating with Cloudwater to create a new soda, and how do you see it fitting into Nordie's overall drink offerings?
It’s really important to us to have a good selection of alcohol-free drinks on the menu. We try to have an equal split of beer, cocktails, wine and alcohol free so that not one category is forgotten or overlooked. We’ve always been Cloudwater fans and love working with other local businesses
Can you share any insights into the creative process behind crafting Nordie's cocktail menu, and any hints or ideas on how this collaboration soda may integrate with these?
The cocktail menu has been evolving since we opened - it’s such a good opportunity to get creative and to spend time researching and delving into the wealth of ingredients that are on offer. We have a great team who are really passionate about this aspect of our menu and a lot of what we offer is down to them wanting to share their knowledge and showcase their favourite ingredients and combinations
What challenges have you faced as an independent business, and how have these experiences shaped Nordie's growth and identity?
Where to start! It’s a tough industry as it is, without bringing a financial crisis and a global pandemic into the mix. To be honest, the main challenge is the hospitality industry itself and the results that come from people’s perceptions of it – that’s people on the inside as well as the outside. Business owner fatigue is very real and it’s really hard to keep going all the time, especially when there seems to be no respite from the challenges that await. Chatting to other business owners helps. We have some really great people in our phonebook who we can reach out to when we need advice and we’re so grateful for all the support we’ve had - hopefully we can return the favour one day. I hope our identity as a business and venue remains unchanged, despite any challenges we may face. We set out to create a neighbourhood bar in its truest form, and this will forever be our main priority no matter what.