Give us a brief history about your brand and how you got started
It started as a hobby, using a converted copper geyser as a still. It was housed in our farm garage. We lit a fire at the base and our dogs used to keep warm in winter around the still. Through research and experimentation, the growing realisation that there was nothing stopping us from creating gins that would stand out amongst the best in the world, and with the huge support of family and friends, the hobby turned into not just a business, but an all-consuming passion.
How is your brand and product different to the vast competition out there?
Innovation is the hallmark of our brand. Very simply we try to be the first in everything we do, both in South Africa and around the world.
What inspired your logo?
Our six dogs.
What made you want to start distilling and was gin your initial focus?
Gin was the focus, not least because it’s my wife’s favourite drink. The scope for creativity in what was clearly a growing market segment was all the inspiration that was required.
What are 5 words that describe you?
Adventurous, innovative, passionate. These are also the words that describe our brand. My wife might add driven and demanding!
Is this your main source of work or do you have another job as well and if so, what do you do?
It’s more than full time, and there’s never a moment that we are not creating, producing, engaging with our customers and finding ways to grow the business in South Africa and in the 20+ countries to which we currently export.
Which other distillers do you admire?
I admire Rupert Holloway of Conker Spirits who makes the finest London Dry gin in the world. Try it! I also admire the pioneering work being done by iStill in The Netherlands.
What kind of personality would you say you have (Rebel / Jester / Outdoorsie / Bold / Optimist / Peace-lover)?
All of the above?
What is one of the best stories you can share about your experience in this industry?
Where craft distillers work together and help each other out, the stories are always positive. Sadly, this doesn’t happen often enough. At another level, it’s always amazing to engage with gin lovers – some who are connoisseurs and some who are first time drinkers – and to see their reaction to our products.
What is one of the worst stories you can share about your experience in this industry?
If your company could drive, what would be its vehicle of choice?
Series 1 Land Rover, for the packaging, but with the engine of a Land Cruiser to go the full distance!
How do you reach your customers and how do you interact with them?
Building relationships with customers, and with our suppliers and partners in the trade, has always been our focus and it’s for this reason that we have invested in our staff who have developed into a passionate and incredibly competent team. While there is no substitute for face-to face engagement, we’ve also utilised social media and tried to build our presence in every way that we can.
What is your definition of a Craft Spirit and how many brands do you feel achieves this?
For us it is about making the craft gins ourselves, in our own distillery on our farm from where we hand harvest many of the botanicals we use in our gins. It’s about using only natural ingredients. And it’s about owning and managing the business ourselves.
But this does not mean that we have any issue with the brand owners who are not themselves distillers – provided that these brand owners are adding value to the category through innovation. This is also our vision for the industry in South Africa – that the world will see us as an innovative, exciting country that can and does make a huge difference to the world of craft distilling.
What is your vision for the Gin category in South Africa as well as your brand?
Same as above.