LGBTQ+ Food and Drink Brands
Good food and drink isn’t hard to come by nowadays but finding good food and drink brands (and I’m talking "good" in the “Superman does good, you’re doing well” sense of the word here) can be difficult. Ethical issues can crop up with a lot of larger conglomerates and it’s safe to say that a lot of their track records when it comes to diversity can be shady, to say the least.
That’s why I wanted to write a feature that highlighted some of the wonderful LGBTQ+-owned food and drink brands that are out there. Not only were all these food and bev companies founded by at least one LGBTQ+ person but they continue to make a positive impact on the world and its inhabitants, be that through charitable donations or the creation of some wonderfully subversive and erotic cakes. No, really.
From fermented hot sauce to freshly brewed beer, these are the brilliant (and delicious) products that you should be adding to your shopping list. The people who make them deserve your support all year round and you won’t regret giving your money to any of these companies, MOB. The cherry on top is that a lot of these LGBTQ+-owned food and drink brands work tirelessly to support worthy causes like The Good Law Project and Diversity Role Models as well. If there's any great brands you think I've missed out, feel free to send me a message!
The Bonbon Boys
Grabbing a paper bag full of pick ‘n’ mix before you go and watch something terrible at Vue is objectively one of the best methods of eating sweets in existence. That’s why I think The Bonbon Boys were really tapping into something special when they launched a business that allowed for customers to get hefty hand-selected pick ‘n’ mix boxes delivered directly to their doors. Owners Kalem Brinkworth and Joe Quinlan have revolutionized the pick ‘n’ mix arena; the paper bags are gone and replaced by pizza boxes that you can fill to your heart’s delight with a frankly astonishing array of high-quality sweets. None of which have been handled by a five-year-old in Wilko’s with a penchant for picking his nose.
Gayle is the world’s first LGBTQ+ beverage company. At the very heart of the brand’s mission is a powerful call to action: an earnest encouragement to love one another and to celebrate the power and beauty of diversity. The brand was conceived in Australia by Virginia Buckworth and launched in 2017 but has since grown to expand its reach to Europe as well. Their Gayle Ale is a bright and expressive session ale that’s brewed exclusively for the brand by Brass Castle, a Malton-based Yorkshire brewery. It’s lovely stuff. and Gayle is a lovely company.
SaucyBitch’s fermented hot sauces are capable of livening up even the blandest meal. These vibrant sauces (which come in a range of flavours from ‘Mellow Yellow’ to ‘Triple XXX’) are all made from locally sourced chillies that are kindly donated to SaucyBitch by a community of chilli heads in east London. As for the cute pup you’ll find on all the bottles? His name is Captain, he belongs to founders Dean Smith and Steve Cook, and he is a very good boy.
The Queer Coffee Co.
Providing quality coffee and quality vibes are the primary aims of The Queer Coffee Co. and it’s safe to say they deliver both in spades. Whether you’re opting for QCC’s ‘Espresso Yourself’ (a coffee handpicked from a blend of speciality Arabica beans from Brazil, El Salvador, and India) or ‘Some Like It Decaf’ (a Brazillian decaf with rich notes of caramel and dark chocolate) you can be secure in your purchase of an excellent brew. Every purchase of a QCC product also goes to support the LGBTQ+ community with 20% of profits being donated to the charities working hard to make the future brighter. Previous charity partners include The Good Law Project and LGBT Youth Scotland.
I'm not saying that all alco-pops are crap but – c'mon – you've never really been refreshed by a WKD have you? As a remedy to all the over-sugared beverages on the market, housemates George and Owen decided to create Luv Jus – a cocktail in a can that blends pineapple, refreshing mint with a fragrant hit of jasmine in one of its flavours and rich, sweet blood orange mixed with tangy pomegranate in another. Combine those ingredients with a dash of clean, crisp vodka and stamina-boosting Korean ginseng, and you've got the perfect festival fuel on your hands. Not only is Luv Jus perfect for keeping the party going but a proportion of profits go to support LGBTQ+ charities and initiatives while providing a social platform celebrating the community through events such as comedy nights, art exhibitions and film screenings.
There’s nothing quite like chowing down on a ‘whoreo’ cookie – that’s a fat cookie which is filled with white chocolate chips and double-stuffed Oreos before being finished with homemade white chocolate and Oreo drip for the uninitiated – and there’s no one that bakes them but the Kween Kream. Selling “overtly sexual slices of sweet stuff,” this Insta-only queer erotic bakery specialises in a kinky and delicious array of treats. An online shop is coming soon (pun intended) but in the meantime, you can get involved by waiting for their next hyped cake drop.
Here’s something that you should know: every time you buy a bottle of PROUD beer, you effectively send a direct donation of 20p to their LGBTQ+ charity partners. Those charity organisations (Diversity Role Models, LGBT Foundation, and Terrence Higgins Trust) cover a wide range of topics from tackling homo-, bi- and transphobia in schools to helping to prevent HIV from spreading. Here’s something else that you should know: PROUD’s LGBTQIPA beer is absolutely delicious. It's made from Yorkshire water, local malt, New World Hops and a bit of wheat. Light, refreshing, and perfect for any occasion.
Strathearn Tea is a lovely Scottish tea company that makes some truly exceptional brews. Part of Strathearn’s portfolio includes their LGBTeaQ+ range – a selection of specially made tea and coffee where the proceeds go to helping out your favourite LGBTQ+ charity or organisation. Not only do they support an excellent cause but the ‘Turmeric Chai Tea’ and the ‘Feeling Fruity’ lemon-infused tea are both hand-blended loose leaf teas that’ll have you rethinking your morning cuppa. Quality teas that have been made with heart, these.
The Queer Brewing Project
Don’t worry if you don’t know your sessions ales from your saisons, The Queer Brewing Project are all about creating approachable beers that balance accessibility with interesting flavours. Whether you’re a complete beginner in the beer scene or a seasoned pro with many, many pints under your belt, Queer Brewing’s core range is the perfect place to start. The ‘Existence As A Radical Act’ pale ale is a tropical bomb that’s been hopped with citra and simcoe and fermented with kveik yeast; the ‘Flowers’ witbier has fruitier notes of coriander seed and orange peel; and the ‘Tiny Dots’ pilsner is a timeless serve that purports to offer an “a touch of calm in a world of noise”. I think we could all use a bit of that right now. And that the world could really use with more companies like The Queer Brewing Project.
A brand like Ottolenghi (founded by the man himself, Yottam Ottolenghi) needs no introduction. Yet, even taking its global reach into consideration, it’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer quality of everything that Ottolenghi produces. From the stunning tableware and plates to rosemary spiced nuts, nothing is given the Ottolenghi seal of approval until it is absolutely immaculate. There’s a reason Ottolenghi is one of the successful LGBTQ+ food and drink brands of all time.
Taking care of yourself is super important for your overall health and well-being and giving your body the right balance of macronutrients and vitamins is one way you can help keep yourself in check. Exalt is a brand that specialises in high-protein smoothies and cold-pressed juices that are perfect for glugging on the go and making you feel good. Having started the business in a little kitchen in Hackney, owners Charlie and Dan have turned it into a thriving brand. Don’t worry about this being too #wellness either. Cheeky drinks like the ‘Yoga Mom’ might be packed with vanilla vegan protein, spinach, banana, almond butter and pumpkin seeds but they also taste bloody lovely.
The Gay Farmer
One of the biggest turning points in the life of most food lover’s is the moment that you finally realise what good olive oil tastes like. Rest assured that the organic extra virgin olive oil produced by The Gay Farmer will never make you want to buy the below-average stuff ever again. Made using organic, biodynamic sustainable farming methods – and the use of ethical traceable produce – this olive oil is spicy, rich, and exactly what you’ll want to be drizzling on your next salad.
Happy Endings make some of the best ice cream in London and I’d say that I think about their ‘Tres Leches’ ice cream sandwiches about three-to-four times a week. Pastry chef Terri Mercieca founded Happy Endings back in 2014 and has turned it into a sweet and dreamy empire. Seeing Happy Endings on a dessert menu out in the wild is the ultimate seal of approval that you’re somewhere with taste.
Little Bird Gin
With a label inspired by the work of artist Alberto Vargas, Little Bird Gin is a far cry from your fuddy-duddy gin brands of old. Pink-grapefruit, orange peel, ginger, and seven more botanicals make up the flavour profile of this truly memorable unique. Mix it with tonic for a G&T that’ll have a smooth and citrusy taste you’ll keep on glugging away at.