A Story of Courage, Bot­tled

SLOW Magazine - - Contents - Text: Kayla Cloete Im­age © Si­mone Mus­grave

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of her ad­ven­tur­ous grand­fa­ther, Si­mone Mus­grave coura­geously ventured into un­known ter­ri­tory and started a life-chang­ing jour­ney of her own. Mau­rice Boon Mus­grave left Ply­mouth, Eng­land, in 1949 to start a new life in Africa. Three months on a ship with a small baby – and no idea of what would meet him on the other side – failed to dis­suade him from this bold ad­ven­ture.

Fast-for­ward some 60 years, and the same coura­geous spirit lives on in Mus­grave’s grand­daugh­ter, Si­mone. Work­ing as a pro­duc­tion and in­no­va­tion spe­cial­ist in the food in­dus­try for many years, Si­mone no­ticed that gin was tak­ing on new life in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

“The gin cul­ture in the United King­dom is about three years ahead of us, with over 400 craft gins on the shelves, and dis­til­la­tion plants are op­er­at­ing at an ad­vanced level,” she ex­plains. See­ing the op­por­tu­nity to break ground in an undis­cov­ered lo­cal mar­ket, Si­mone made the bold de­ci­sion to leave the se­cu­rity of full-time em­ploy­ment to start a new life as an en­tre­pre­neur.

“I took a leap of faith and launched my own artisan gin in­fused with the same African botan­i­cals my grand­fa­ther dis­cov­ered when he ar­rived on the con­ti­nent in the early 1900s as a mis­sion­ary. In my fam­ily’s spirit of ad­ven­ture and courage, I re­leased Mus­grave Gin two years ago.”

Since then, Mus­grave Gin has taken hold of the South African mar­ket with its wildly pop­u­lar Mus­grave 11 and Mus­grave Pink Gin, which can be found in bot­tle stores, bars, and restau­rants across South Africa, Africa, and some of Europe.

“We’ve se­cured a na­tional foot­print and gar­nered a na­tional com­mu­nity of Mus­grave fans. With­out their sup­port, we would not be grow­ing at such a rate. It has truly hum­bled me to see how the South African con­sumer has re­acted to our brand,” Si­mone re­marks.

A rather iconic el­e­ment of the brand, the Mus­grave Pink Gin, which was awarded first place at the 2016 Michelangelo Wine and Spir­its awards, is a bold in­no­va­tion. “Pink drinks have grown in many cat­e­gories, such as wine and MCC, and gin is no dif­fer­ent. It is how­ever not only about the colour of the gin but also about how the brand tells a story,” Si­mone ex­plains.

Mus­grave Gin tells the story of the courage it takes to ven­ture into new ter­ri­tory. Not only did Si­mone as­sist in bring­ing an in­ter­na­tional trend to lo­cal shores with a new prod­uct, but she also did so as a strong-willed fe­male in a male­dom­i­nated field.

“South African sys­tems are deeply en­trenched, very in­adapt­able, and very mas­cu­line. En­try into the sys­tem re­quires quite a push, as well as com­mit­ment and brav­ery as a woman,” Si­mone says. “But I think our fem­i­nin­ity is a huge ad­van­tage, and we ought to tap into it more and use its power to reach our dreams.”

De­spite how dif­fi­cult the sys­tems of South Africa might make it for en­trepreneurs, es­pe­cially fe­male en­trepreneurs, Si­mone is still hope­ful re­gard­ing the state of the coun­try. “Although we do face doom and gloom in our gov­ern­ment and fi­nan­cial land­scape, there are still some in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties in South Africa. The gin busi­ness has proven that. In the last two years, roughly 50 gins have launched since I launched my own. I ad­vise all young peo­ple not to be neg­a­tive as there re­ally are bril­liant op­por­tu­ni­ties in Africa and South Africa.”

When asked about the plans for her own fu­ture, she re­sponds, “Mus­grave is go­ing to be ac­ti­vat­ing more and more ex­port mar­kets, while con­tin­u­ing to grow our lo­cal fol­low­ing. We have some ideas and are pos­si­bly iden­ti­fy­ing new in­no­va­tions that fit with our brand vi­sion, but will have to con­tinue watch­ing the mar­ket to see if they are the right types of prod­ucts to put our re­sources be­hind.”

What­ever the fu­ture has in store for this en­tre­pre­neur, we are glad to have a coura­geous spirit such as hers in­no­vat­ing in the male-dom­i­nated space of the lo­cal al­co­hol in­dus­try.

For more info, visit www.mus­grave­gin.com.

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