Kicking off our new series of resident profiles is Eko Brewery - one of our most recent additions to Copeland Park, but a business with long-standing ties to Peckham.

Run by co-founders and husband-and-wife team Anthony and Helena Adedipe, Eko produce craft beers inspired by and infused with African ingredients, with a focus on food pairings and were recently featured in The Observer’s ‘30 things we love in the world of food, 2024’.

Anthony grew up in Peckham and so when a chance to secure Eko’s first bricks and mortar site at Copeland Park came up, he couldn’t refuse.

AA: “Coming back to Peckham felt like coming home. I’m of Nigerian heritage and seeing how the Nigerian community has grown and shaped Peckham over recent decades, it felt like a good match for Eko and what we’re trying to do.”

The name Eko is actually the original name of Nigerian capital, Lagos – so it is only right that the brewery put roots down in Little Lagos.

In terms of Copeland Park itself, Eko immediately felt they would be a good fit with the other residents on site – local bar Jumbi had already been stocking Eko beer on tap and Copeland Park staple, Social has now followed suit.

To make the move even easier, Eko were taking up a unit previously used by sake brewery, KANPAI.

HA: “It felt perfect, the brewing site was already carved out for us and we loved the feeling of being somewhere not overly developed with an industrial look. The outdoor space was the icing on the cake.”

AA: “We liked the idea of being part of an in-person community. We’ve built an amazing online community over the past five or six years which really took off during the pandemic, but there are always some limitations to a strictly online presence. With our first physical site we’re excited to build a community here and expand our customer base both in terms of individuals and businesses.”

The Eko story is a truly international one. Anthony visited Japan whilst travelling for work and toured the Sapporo brewery where he fell in love with the brewing process. But it was during their time living in America that the couple got into craft beer and the community that came with it.

AA: “I found America still quite a segregated country in many ways, across many different lines, but craft beer and brewing really brought people from all different backgrounds together.”

HA: “My family is Congolese and I found it was much more common there for women to drink beer than in the US or UK. I saw the craft beer community as a chance for more women to get into beer, both enjoying and brewing.”

When the pair moved back to England the idea of taking up brewing started off as a bit of a joke – Helena bought Anthony a homebrew book as a gift and it all went from there.

When family and friends tried the fruits of their labour they were impressed and encouraged Anthony and Helena to push their brewing journey on. Bigger batches of beer were brewed at uBrew in Bermondsey and before they knew it they were being stocked in small beer shops and restaurants.

What set Eko apart was their use of ingredients not typically used in western brewing.

AA: “We wanted to experiment with more than just hops, barley and water and began using coconut palm sugar, yam and cassava. We found out there was a long history of using these ingredients in African brewing which predates European brewing and the addition of hops as an ingredient to make the beer last longer.”

HA: “The UK craft beer scene is also now trying to be more diverse and inclusive. We are one of only two fully Black owned breweries in the UK, with Rock Leopard Brewing Co the other, and Eko is the first to have its own bricks and mortar site.”

Eko have big plans for the future and are currently running a crowdfunder to finish off the build of their brew site. Once this is complete they will take up the mantle of being the only brewery in Peckham and will be able to brew Eko Beer in-house at their taproom. They’ve got an amazing list of perks and rewards including bar tabs and discounts as well as Eko Brewery merch.

HA: “Beyond the crowdfunding campaign and build, we’d love to host craft beer events in our space and also utilise some of the fantastic venues Copeland Park has to offer. Most of all we want to take our time becoming ingrained in the Copeland Park and wider Peckham communities, both in terms of working with other brands and businesses but also bringing people in to sit down and enjoy a beer!”

Those plans are already in full swing with Eko hosting a sell-out screening of the 2024 African Cup of Nations final in collaboration with Peckham-based Nigerian street food specialists, The Flygerians. Unfortunately, the Super Eagles lost to hosts Ivory Coast 2-1, but this hasn’t put Anthony and Helena off from throwing plenty more events over the coming months.

You can find Eko Brewery in Unit 2A-2, Copeland Park and the taproom is open Fridays 5-10:30pm, Saturdays 2-10:30pm and Sundays 12-6pm.

Eko’s crowdfunder ‘Build a Brewery in Peckham with Eko Brewery‘ runs until Tuesday 26th March 2024.