We’ve been working with our friends at Ben’s Canteen for the past 3 years, curating their craft beer range and generally enjoying their tasty coffee and food (if you find yourself near either Clapham Junction or Earlsfield, be sure to pay them a visit) so we thought it was about bloody time we got to know them better with a little Q&A on our blog. This is the first of a series in which we’re getting to know the brewers, producers and other key people we work with in this amazing industry of ours and beyond. We hope you enjoy.
Ben Walton from Ben's Canteen
1. What’s your name and job title?

I’m Ben, Founder of the Canteens and Bloody Bens.

2. Could we have your elevator pitch?

Ben’s Canteen are neighbourhood hangouts in SW London serving informal Brunches and Dinners. We’ve also created a side business called Bloody Bens that make products that are anything but ordinary – we currently produce a Bloody Mary Mix and make Earlsfield’s first ever Gin.

3. What is the potted history of BC?

We started in 2011, on St John’s Hill near Clapham Junction and then opened a second Canteen in Earlsfield in 2014.

4. Why is it called Ben’s Canteen?

I couldn’t think of a name! I knew I didn’t want to be called Bar & Kitchen which seemed to be the rage in those days – I wanted to imply that we were going to be a relaxed, community focused place where you could hang out but not a pub. Canteen seemed to capture that and Ben’s because I thought my mates would tell their mates, my friend Ben has opened a restaurant and then they’d go ‘oh look, Ben’s, that must be the place’.

5. Which is the favourite beer you sell and why?

My current fave beer that we sell is the Partizan Brewing Co, Lemongrass Saison – utterly delicious and great with food.

6. Share with us your favourite fact, stat or quote…

70% of 18-24yr olds voted Remain. Fuck Brexit!

7. What makes you most proud to run Ben’s Canteen?

That we’ve always tried to use quality produce within an affordable price range. People always tell me the food is delicious and thank goodness for that as I’m pretty fussy over where I eat out and it would truly pain me if we served really average food.

8. Picture this: You are moving to a desert island but they only stock one kind of drink per resident – what would you choose and why?

Gin! Because we still our own (Bloody Bens Signature Gin) onsite in our Earlsfield Canteen and I’m bloody proud of that.

9. If a film were made about Ben’s Canteen, what would be the theme tune?

Johnny Cash, Hurt. Running your own biz without co-founders can be a tough, lonely bastard place and restaurants can accentuate that. But that’s ok and it’s ok to admit it – there shouldn’t be so much stigma attached to stating the truth. And in my case, I use that to channel me to find solutions and work hard to bounce back from tough situations.

10. Do you have anything to add?

Small businesses are what keep high streets interesting. However, you have to support them (although they have to be good enough to earn that support, just being a local biz isn’t enough) otherwise they’ll disappear and you’ll have a street full of closed shops and soul destroying mediocre chains.

Thanks Ben!

You can find the Canteens at:

140 St. John’s Hill, SW11 1SL

422 Garratt Lane, SW18 4HW

 

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