Since taking over as the landlords of the Robin Hood Inn, Craig Hennessey, and his partner Titanilla, have transformed the pub into an environmentally friendly dream.
Craig said: “Obviously with running a bar we use reusable plastic, so we have gradually phased out all of our plastic packaging: our takeaway containers, our veg-ware... recyclable coffee cups, then the final straw was plastic straws.
“We made the change to paper straws, we had a lot of negative feedback regarding the paper straw - the quality, the life and how people would actually just prefer a plastic straw. “We didn’t really feel like that was a good enough answer so we went looking elsewhere for an alternative product and found the company Hay Straws who are based in San Francisco.” Unfortunately, the straws were only sold in the United States, and although they were available on Amazon, it was too pricey to justify the spend. They have since established themselves as the distribution network for the straws in the UK and they are in talks to sell the product to other local businesses, and some further afield. “We’ve visited some key players in the local market who also have the same ethos as us to expand on their sustainable practices and everybody who we have spoken to has been excited by the product and are desperate to stock the product,” said Craig. “We’re excited to be a part of it, it’s not a new idea
“In Cumbria, hay straws have always been a thing especially come hay making time. Alternative types of straws are often hit and miss when it comes to bar patrons but Craig says the hay straws have been received quite well by their customers.
“People have gone wild for them really so much so we used all of our products, we used the next shipment of products and that’s how we have managed to establish a network of distribution with the company to be able to bring it to the country.”
The pair have always been conscious of their impact on the environment but a surge in the popularity of documentaries such as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. “Since David Attenborough’s recent programmes, it’s sort of touched everyone that plastic is too much for the planet,” he remarked. “This is a suitable alternative and to be a part of that is quite exciting, actually we could make a difference to this global problem from a little village just north of Carlisle.”
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Natural wheat stems. Our straws have been tested as gluten-free, and we test regularly to ensure they are safe for gluten-intolerant people.
Our wheat stems are hand harvested, and the best ones are selected for making HAY! Straws. This ensures the highest level of quality.
We Support Small Farmers
We work directly with small farmers around the world to source our wheat stems. This offers an extra financial opportunity for the farmers to sell the stems, which are a byproduct of wheat harvesting.
Unlike paper straws, which go through a pulping process with added chemicals, our HAY! Straws use the materials nature provides us. Our stalks are harvested, cut to length, and then thoroughly rinsed in sterile water three times to remove any dirt or bacteria. No chemicals are added—ever.
HAY! Straws are 100% natural and can be thrown in the compost after use. They can be composted in backyard or municipal
We use unbleached kraft boxes and print with soy-based inks. We’re proud to deliver our product in plastic-free packaging.
Cocktails and low viscosity drinks. Suitable for use in warm and hot drinks. Why not try a seasonal gin cocktail at the Robin Hood Inn - Smithfield, Carlisle