A Story of Courage, Bottled
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.