Weekend Witness - - Leisure - SAMAN­THA SNEDORF

DIS­TILLERY 031, as the di­alling code in­spired name would sug­gest, is a Dur­ban-based dis­tillery run by An­drew Rall, the founder and a mas­ter dis­tiller. They dis­til an award-win­ning range that in­cludes three gins, vodka, rum, brandy, liqueur, ab­sinthe and cachaça, which is made from sugar cane.

Rall has been dis­till­ing for about 12 years, with Dis­tillery 031 com­ing in as the old­est craft dis­tillery in KwaZulu-Na­tal and one of the first in South Africa.

“We started dis­till­ing well be­fore the Cape Town gin boom be­gan,” he said.

Rall has al­ways had an in­ter­est in spir­its but, for a long time, fo­cused on quan­tity rather than qual­ity. It was dur­ing a pe­riod liv­ing in the United King­dom that he spent some time in Scot­land and fell in love with sin­gle malt whiskies.

“Vis­it­ing whisky dis­til­leries sparked an in­ter­est in dis­till­ing and qual­ity spir­its. About 12 years ago, I was drink­ing with some friends when we started dis­cussing why there were no qual­ity spir­its be­ing made in South Africa,” he said.

Af­ter some in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Rall re­alised that the only rea­son that SA didn’t pro­duce great spir­its was that no one had tried, so he took it upon him­self to give it a bash.

“My pas­sion was (and still is) rum, but along the way, I be­gan to dis­cover amaz­ing craft gins in the United States and Europe and fell in love with gin,” he said.

The dis­tillery leans to­ward both clas­sic gin botan­i­cals and a few that are unique to KZN.

“We com­bine botan­i­cals like ju­niper, co­rian­der, car­damom, and an­gel­ica root with unique botan­i­cals like African Rose­hip, cof­fee cher­ries and then some,” Rall said.

The botan­i­cals are sourced from around the world but, wher­ever pos­si­ble, he has tried to use lo­cal in­gre­di­ents.

“The bar­rels we use for D’Ur­ban Bar­rel Aged Gin are made with French oak (the same type as used to make Co­gnac) be­cause they im­part a very sub­tle flavour to the gin. We do use many lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, how­ever.”

Dis­tillery 031 pro­duces D’Ur­ban Dry Gin, D’Ur­ban Scar­let Gin and D’Ur­ban Bar­rel Aged Gin.

The D’Ur­ban Bar­rel Aged Gin was the first South African bar­rel-aged gin to win a gold medal at the Gin Mas­ters in Lon­don in 2017.

— BizCom­mu­nity.


D’Ur­ban Scar­let Gin uses cas­cara (the bright fruit from cof­fee cher­ries), sourced from Beaver Creek Cof­fee Es­tate on the South Coast.

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