CAPE TOWN - South Africa is seeing a growing trend of craft gin distilleries, especially in Cape Town with the emergence of brands such as Sugarbird Gin, according to Rob Heyns, the founder of Sugarbird Gin.
Heyns said the craft gin trend was on the rise with R700 million contributing to the collective R19 billion spirits industry in South Africa in 2015 and that it had been predicted that gin alone would contribute R1bn to the economy during this year.
He said the number of local distilleries had grown from about 19 in 2014 to 30 in past year and the craft gin industry on average generated employment for about 200 people.
Heyns said currently Sugarbird was a small business, which did not own a distillery and did not do the distribution themselves apart from the product creation, branding and marketing.
He said the craft gin trend was gaining momentum similar to the burgeoning craft beer industry and it was very rarely that he did not come across a new brand without a week passing by.
"Our model is to be much more focused on the product and the brand. One of the reasons that craft gin has become very popular is the plethora of ingredients used in gin. You will never find two of the same gins."
Heyns said a lot of the traditional gin drinkers were traditionally older people but now a lot of younger drinkers were coming through. He said South Africa was the fifth biggest consumer of Scotch whisky, which meant the country had a palate for high quality spirits.
Heyns said Sugarbird was born out of an entrepreneurial wish to bring affordable and delicious tasting gin to all and that gin is also a vehicle for female entrepreneurs and offers bursaries to further their skills and launch their innovations.