What is the history of gin in South Africa?
Gin has always been prevalent in South Africa due to the Anglo-Boer War and the Second Boer War, during which the British army produced gin for the soldiers in towns like Stellenbosch. That's enough history - I can only shine light on the most recent history of gin in South Africa as I’ve only been of legal drinking age for 3 years!
What is the South African gin industry like now?
Gin has really taken off in the last couple of years in South Africa, following the global trend. A couple of core distilleries were around before the gin boom, such as Distell, but more crafty guys like Inverroche and Jorgenson’s made it seem possible to the little guy. There are now around 170 distilleries awaiting licensing - its taken off in a big way.
Do South African gins have a distinctive style?
South African gins definitely have their own style due to our plant kingdom. There are more plant species from the Fynbos family on the top of Table Mountain than there are in the entirety of England. The trend is definitely Fynbos styled gin. From asking and looking around I believe the two most common styles of distillation are straight infusion and steep & soak.
Which South African gins should international gin lovers get their hands on first?
International buyers should definitely look out for Jorgensen’s Gin, Monks Gin, Blind Tiger Gin and of course Autograph gin - its delightful!
How to people like to serve gin in South Africa?
South Africans love a big glass with lots of ice and tons of garnish – from strawberries to candy floss, it’s all been done. Thankfully there is a trend to get back to basics with clean fresh citrus zest G&T’s
What gins from outside of South Africa are most popular there?
The most popular gins are still the big brands such as Tanqueray Gin, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Beefeater Gin and Gordons Gin, although Whitley Neill Gin and Malfy Gin have made some awesome progress into SA and Cape Town.
Where do you see the South African gin industry going next?
The industry in South Africa follows the global trends slowly. Traditionally SA is a wine and beer drinking nation and the popularity of spirits is only starting to grow. Some say that rum is the next big thing, although I find it hard to believe as South Africans have got a bad association with rum. I’d like to see more growth in the gin category and lower ABV spirits such as vermouth.