ELLE EATS rest and relaxation
It’s time for a little rest and relaxation next to a pool or ocean – you’ve earned it! This month is all about (responsible) liquid courage and long, lazy sundowners
Meet marketing specialist Luvuyo Jongile and his wife Nodumo, who want to tell an African story with their gin. As their product’s the first black-owned gin in Africa, it was important to the pair that it resonate with anyone, while also giving them the feeling of home. So they created Mayine Gin, named after their son, with the help of Woodstock Gin Co. Together they crafted two varietals, a rooibos and honey bush infusion, as well as a grape-based delight with buchu and a hint of citrus, both specifically designed for the thriving Khayelitsha market.
LUVUYO JONGILE (LJ):
We did research on all alcohol types and realised that there was an opportunity to create a revolution with gin. After our launch, we started selling nationally and doing activations in the township market, where people are starting to open up to gin. We wanted to disrupt the space, create great jobs and prevent money from leaving our community. We want that money to circulate long enough to improve the townships by funding education, infrastructure and more.
WHO WAS YOUR MENTOR? LJ:
Simon von Witt, the founder of Woodstock Gin Co. He’s been a phenomenal mentor and very helpful.
WERE THERE ANY UNFORESEEN CHALLENGES TO BECOMING THE FIRST BLACK-OWNED DISTILLERY IN AFRICA?
: Yes, many of them – and we still encounter them today. Lack of funding continues to be an obstacle. Operational costs and cash flow are keeping us in one spot, even though the demand has gone from zero to 100. We’re receiving enquiries throughout Africa, and as far as Europe and the Americas. If we can get the funds we’re looking for, we’ll be able to set up a distillery in Khayelitsha that can create jobs locally and export internationally.
HAS THE GIN DISTILLERY COMMUNITY BEEN ACCEPTING OF YOUR PRESENCE? LJ:
Very much so. I’m proud to say that our product knows no colour. We’re getting a lot of love from the gin distillery community and when we attend gin festivals, they welcome us and support us. We have great personal relationships with most of the distillers.
GIN HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN SEEN AS AN ‘OLD WHITE LADY’S DRINK’. WHY HAS ITS IMAGE BEEN TRANSFORMED? LJ:
I think it’s because of the craft element. It allows us to infuse anything, so we can have different flavours influenced by different botanicals. That results in fresh tastes and beautiful colours that are not only attractive, but also create a smooth taste which is easy on everyone’s palate.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE? LJ:
We want to take over Africa first by developing and improving our brand (looks- and taste-wise) and building the biggest distillery in Khayelitsha. Then we want to export internationally.