International Women's Day 2024 - Deanne Blake

Feb 19, 2024

At Cloudwater, we have a diverse team consisting of 50% women who are involved in different areas of the business such as production, packaging, warehouse, retail, hospitality, and management. We value and celebrate the achievements of women as it is an essential part of our identity here at Cloudwater. On February 6th, we hosted an extraordinary brew day in honour of IWD 2024 and invited women from various Manchester organisations who have inspired and impacted us and their communities. Participants in the project include Flawd, Manchester Laces, Odd Arts, Eat Well, Isca, and other notable figures like Maxine Peake and Rivca Burns who attended the brew day..It was amazing to have everyone under one roof, and we cherish the result of the day which you might be holding in your hands right now. Enjoy!


Q: What is the inspiration behind Root2Ginger?

I have Jamaican heritage and grew up in a house where we always had cans of old jamaica ginger beer.   My love for the fiery taste of ginger began from childhood and I watched my Mother and Aunts in the kitchen making a wide range of Caribbean drinks including ginger beer.  Many years later I began to make my own ginger drink and this slowly developed into the concentrate now know as Root2Ginger Fiery

Q: How did you get into the drinks industry?

I was encouraged by family and friends to start selling my drinks.  I made a much simpler version of my original Fiery ginger drink for over 25 years and gave it to family and friends at Christmas in a kilner bottle from Wilko with a label on it that said "Deanies ginger beer cordial".  

During covid I was asked for my drink many times as people began to value the health benefits of ginger. I decided to work on a consistent recipe using natural organic ingredients including Organic Peruvian ginger. 


Q: What’s the most creative way you’ve seen your product be used? 

Our drinks are very versatile, people do all sorts of things with them, we have recently been used by a new bar in Ancoats Finders Keepers that have developed a plum cocktail for their menu with our Root2Ginger Spiced.  Our drinks have a lot of appeal to people who want to drink mindfully or have a great mixer so they are used in cocktails or mocktails or simply enjoyed on their own with still, sparkling or hot water.   Someone told me this week they use it in their apple crumble recipe!


Q: What’s your favourite recipe that you’ve made with your Cold Pressed Ginger?

I love all of my drinks but I'm especially pleased with the Spiced as it was a happy accident during Covid I just put whole spices Ceylon cinnamon, green cardamon, star anise ane pimento  in my ginger to make a hot night time drink for my family and it became a regular night time comfort in our bubble.   It was an achievement to scale this up and make it work and I was overwhelmed when the next year it won a 3 star great taste award which was received by only 241 products from over 14,000 entrants in 2022.

I love making ginger mojitos with our Root2Ginger Fiery with or without the rum, they taste great as the burn of the ginger just adds to this classic drink.


Q: What are the influences behind your product?

Tradition and the use of natural ingredients for real flavour is really important to me.  We use craft brewing techniques and do not rely on artificial flavours or preservatives.   


Q: What is your favourite part about being a family business?

My favourite part about being a family business is the time it gives us together, whether we're manufacturing, in meetings or at an event, it's all great experience for us.   We each have different strengths and interests in the business and inspire each other. I love that at work I am not 'Mum'  we are each individual and we just work together to get the job done. It's not always easy but we talk things out and work well as a team. 

Q: What’s your process behind recipe development?

Our starting point is always the best organic ingredients we can source and pushing flavours as far as we can go so that they withstand dilution and a range of uses. We want to achieve concentrated natural flavours that do not compromise.


Q: What is your most proud accomplishment since starting Root2Ginger?

Our first stall at Altrincham Market where we started trading our drinks in May 2021. Me and my 3 children Adisa, Diallo and Dene all turned up and we had the best day, it will always be a special day to us. We had so much fun and were overjoyed by people's reaction to our drinks. Our stall looked great and we were really proud of ourselves that day.  

Winning Great taste awards for our entire product range  of Fiery Fierce, Mint and Spiced in 2022 was also a great achievement for us and one we did not expect as this was the first time we entered. 


Q: What did you used to do, what inspired you to take the leap to doing this full time?


I used to be a regional senior manager in the largest private fostering company in the UK.   I worked as an Agency Decision Maker making decisions about people's suitability to foster children and young people. I had my dream job and enjoyed my work very much. I hadn't expected Root2Ginger to have such momentum and had no plan when I started.  It quickly became apparent that there was potential and when my boss asked me what I was still doing there it was time to make a decision and give it 100%.  My sons encouraged me and I especially wanted to be an inspiration to my then 14 year old daughter who was hesitant. I wanted her to know the importance of taking risks in life.


Q: What sets root to ginger apart from other ginger beer brands?


We come from generations of ginger drink makers so we've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that make our drinks authentic! We use 100% organic ingredients in our drinks and we do not rely on flavourings or chilli for heat.   We pack our drinks with lots of fresh premium organic  Peruvian ginger and that is what gives our drinks a fiery kick. We make our drinks ourselves and quality control all of our products ensuring they have the best taste.  We use traditional brewing methods to draw out all the flavour and reflect our cultural heritage and we love what we do.

Is there anything else that you really want to tell people, any interesting stories or facts about root2ginger?


Root2Ginger is rated Excellent 4.9 on Trustpilot.


We have been featured on ITV Love Your Weekend and BBC iplayer Foodfest


Proper DIPA

Our 8th DIPA in our  Proper DIPA series is out this week, called Proper DIPA NZ edition, a perfect example of the beautiful things that happen when modern meets tradition.We've infused Southern Cross and NZ Cascade to accentuate the JW Lees yeast strain.This DIPA excels in both body and hop intensity, delivering a hearty hop medley characterised by quintessential NZ hop aromas of white grape, all culminating in an exceptionally dank finish.Enjoyed in the video by JW Lees brewer Matthew and available in our webshop now. 

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