Title Banner Text: What we do

Community and Gin…to me they go hand in hand. When I started this company, in 2018, I was amazed at the response. So many Teessider’s saw the bottle and were immediately swelling with pride at their home town. Everything about Steel River Drinks flows with that sense of pride, I have often called them my juniper inspired love songs, and they are in a way. They have always been my way of trying to put Teesside on the Gin map, showing the rest of the country what Teesside is capable of. 

Since 2018, the business has grown and so has that pride in me. I saw my own success and realised that a large part of it was down to the community that made me who I am today. So how could I accept this success without giving something back. To me it’s a no-brainer. Every business has a responsibility to give back, it’s how the world works in my idealistic mind…and although I can’t change the world yet (world domination is a work in progress) I can make sure my business stands by my ethos. 

Supporting the Community

I was brought up on a council estate in Thornaby, and there were times when things could have gone in a very different direction for me. I know people from my childhood who just slipped through the cracks and have never really found success or happiness since. Some, sadly are no longer with us, and some are not where they could have been, but regardless of all that I’m still proud of where I was born. So proud. Teesside has a sense of community that I think is rare to find outside of middle-class villages in the countryside. In fact, I would even go as far to say our sense of community can often be even greater. We have bigger hurdles to jump, and many people are tested far more in life than most, relying on our community to see them through. 

Steel River Drinks invests a large proportion of its profits back into the Teesside community, because I am in a position where I can. I haven’t been this fortunate my entire life, in fact its been a very recent thing, so in those years I relied on my community as many do. And it got me to where I am now. A place where I can give back and support some amazing local organisations who’s work inspires me everyday!

Jay holding £250 cheque with head of Neighbourhood Welfare Middlesbrough Homeless cafe and Hub

Neighbourhood Welfare Donation

As part of my mission to support my local community, I recently visited the amazing Neighbourhood Welfare Homeless Cafe and Hub in Middlesbrough. Susan Gill and her dedicated team of volunteers work tirelessly to meet the needs of the local homeless community. I feel privileged that I can assist in their efforts with a £250 donation.

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Jay Byers holding four new chromebooks in boxes to delivery to local schools

Local School Laptop Donation

In lockdown learning is hard enough for kids without the added barrier of equipment, or lack thereof. Many schools have been struggling with the demand for laptops and so I wanted to help where I can and donate 20 new laptops to local schools in Thornaby who are struggling most with the demand.

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Jay holding large cheque with member of MQA Foodbank

Gift Giving Week

As part of our mission to support the Teesside community, I organised a gift giving week that involved supporting 5 amazing organisations, based in Tees Valley, through a £200 donation.

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Jay stood with Hartlepool Carers employee next to large pile of stacked Cadbury's Heroes Boxes

Hartlepool Carers: Christmas Gifts

Hartlepool carers launched a gift giving appeal asking for donations that they could give to the local young carers, who may otherwise get nothing this Christmas. I was determined to help. Since many of these carers are too young for gin, I thought chocolate was the next best thing!

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