A Love Letter to Calderdale
I am often asked how Equinox started. And about how the UK’s leading Kombucha brand came to be rooted in the hidden valley of Calderdale in West Yorkshire. Well, the company was born in 2012 after a local couple, Robbie Charles and Daphne Charest, returned home to Calderdale after discovering Kombucha backpacking around Asia. Having […]
I am often asked how Equinox started.
And about how the UK’s leading Kombucha brand came to be rooted in the hidden valley of Calderdale in West Yorkshire.
Well, the company was born in 2012 after a local couple, Robbie Charles and Daphne Charest, returned home to Calderdale after discovering Kombucha backpacking around Asia. Having drunk it regularly during their travels, and feeling the benefits of drinking real, living booch on their wellbeing, they decided to bring the miracle of this fermented tea back to the UK. Equipped with jars full of SCOBY, they started to brew it in their kitchen in Calderdale, selling their organic ‘booch’ at local markets.
And it took off!
Because Calderdale is special.
The valley ecosystem that we live in is unique. The biodiversity to be found in our small valley is astonishing, and people are always out exploring its hidden corners and wooded slopes. From hiking, to climbing to biking, we have some of the best trails in Yorkshire. As Rupert our Head Brewer says, “there is a quietness on the tops that is magical”.
Calderdale is one of the most stunning and distinctive environments in the North of England. As our community partner Beth Morgan from Rooting and Fruiting has said,
“The wild wilderness – the contrast between the valley and the flowing water, the steep sided gnarly woods and the expanse of the surrounding moorlands takes my breath away”.
The river Calder is also something to behold – especially when the rains lash in, and we all take a deep breath as we watch the water levels rise. This raw force of nature is one to be respected. Our brewery sits on the banks of the Calder in Mytholmroyd and was unfortunately flooded in the Boxing Day floods of 2015. Our warehouse up the valley in Sowerby Bridge did the same in Feb 2020.
We all love and fear the river, but are grateful for its lifeblood that runs through the heart of our valley.
It is our human community here that helped us recover from the floods and has continued to support our business since its birth.
Socially, we have a mix of the best of grassroots Yorkshire’s ‘get on and do’ approach to life, combined with a large Asian community that is now well established in the region, largely from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.
In addition to the ethnic diversity, we have an ancient Celtic culture rooted in social innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. As an example, the UK Cooperative movement was founded down the road in Rochdale in 1844!
Hebden Bridge, sitting in the middle of the valley is a transition town and the home of the Hebden Bridge School and Learning Community that attracts families from across the UK. It is also full of artisan café’s, independent bookstores and Valley Organics, which is one of my favourite places to go and get healthy organic goodies!
Todmorden, a little further down the road founded the Kindness Movement in the region and is a hot bed for community projects, grassroots movements, and a new Climate College at the Todmorden Learning Centre.
80% of our staff come from the local area and that sense of home and family sits at the heart of who we are and how we do business.
We are grateful for the supportive environment that Calderdale has given us as we have grown and matured as a company. Indeed, we wouldn’t be who we are without it.
So, on this Valentine’s Day, why not take some time to appreciate and offer gratitude to the people and places who have supported you?
After all – you wouldn’t be who you are without them.