Give us a brief history about your brand and how you got started
The Autograph brand got its start back in 2016 when the owner of the company decided to enter the craft gin realm, from this decision the team was put together which in the beginning was just three humans. Anthony, Candice and I.
Distillery Road was born out of the need for a good and affordable craft gin, it’s story on the label tells the story of an old Stellenbosch and the history of a gentleman called Daniel Bosman. These elements were chosen due to our location at 13 Distillery Road in Bosmans Crossing.
How is your brand and product different to the vast competition out there?
Autograph Gin tells the hedonistic story of spirits and gin throughout the ages, as well as being a top scoring product at many different competitions.
Distillery Road is incredibly accessible at its price point, especially when you consider anything else craft near its price range is a 500ml bottle.
Both brands also come out of the Autograph distillery where our fresh botanicals are grown on site.
What inspired your logo?
The names of both brands were used as the leads when creating the Logos, we needed them to be informative of what they were.
What made you want to start distilling and was gin your initial focus?
Gin was our initial focus and we started distilling out of passion and drive to create a product that really stands true to itself.
What are 5 words that describe you?
Creative, Casual, Busy, Informed and ‘Loskop’
Is this your main source of work or do you have another job as well and if so, what do you do?
This is my main source of work.
Which other distillers do you admire?
I really admire Roger Jorgenson, Lucy and Leigh from hope on Hopkins. And lastly Desmond Payne.
What kind of personality would you say you have (Rebel / Jester / Outdoorsie / Bold / Optimist / Peace-lover)?
I would like to say I’m just outdoorsie but there’s definitely a bit of a rebel in there too.
What is one of the best stories you can share about your experience in this industry?
It would have to be when I heard the story of ugly Betty, I was out in Wellington distilling with Roger at his place and I was taking note of all the bolts and metal pieces that had been added on to the potstill. Roger proceeded to tell me this fantastic story of a beautiful potstill called Betty who had sprung a leak and before anything could be done about it popped its top with a ball of flame damaging the still badly. As you can gather Betty was saved just with an updated name.
What is one of the worst stories you can share about your experience in this industry?
Distillation is not for the feint hearted the hours are long and rather tedious, but ultimately a labor of love. Despite all this there was one distillation I thought was going to honestly kill me with two rounds of surprise load shedding making a long process many many hours longer.
If your company could drive, what would be its vehicle of choice?
I believe Autograph gin would find itself very comfortable in something a little more luxurious such as an Audi, BMW or a Mercedes. On the other hand, I think Distillery Road would be more comfortable in something like a Land Rover, or a Jeep for those far off sunset drinks on top of that hill.
How do you reach your customers and how do you interact with them?
We reach our customers through word of mouth, tastings (before corona), Instagram and other forms of social media. Obviously, the interaction is different for each of these platforms but we are happy to engage all of our customers.
What is your definition of a Craft Spirit and how many brands do you feel achieves this?
Well the legal definition of Craft distillery is under 100 000 Litres a year if I’m not mistaken, thus I believe only the brands dominating the market might be at risk of not meeting the definition.
What is your vision for the Gin category in South Africa as well as your brand?
All we hope for is growth, for us and for the industry. It’s filled with incredible people creating incredible products!