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

Elle (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

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.

WHY GIN?

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.

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