Meeting the brilliant minds behind the brands

Give us a brief history about your brand and how you got started

I have been involved in many brands since starting to distill in 1994, starting with my Savingnac brandy and going on to start the gin revolution in 2007. Then I was trading as Jorgensen’s Distillery making Gin, Vodka, Absinthe, Limoncello etc. My focus now, and main brand is Procera Gin which we make in Kenya.

How is your brand and product different to the vast competition out there?

Easy. Procera is the only gin in the world to use indigenous African juniper berries – juniperus procera – hence the brand name. It has a more earthy and citrusy profile, less terpene than communis. It is presented in a hand-blown bottle with a hand-made stopper providing job creation hubs for local communities.

What inspired your logo?

Africa is the inspiration: African juniper gin.

What made you want to start distilling and was gin your initial focus?

With a background in farming and wine making distillation was a logical next step. Gin was definitely not the initial focus, but it certainly is now.  I am also doing some fun stuff with agave and palm spirit.

What are 5 words that describe you?

Teacher cum mentor, creative, craft ambassador, maverick, botanical traveler.

Is this your main source of work or do you have another job as well and if so, what do you do?

This is all I do: create gin recipes for my self and others, and make gin as well as I can.

Which other distillers do you admire?

Matt Beech from Autograph. He is creative and talented, with an excellent palate. He also makes the best cocktails in town.

What kind of personality would you say you have (Rebel / Jester / Outdoorsie / Bold / Optimist / Peace-lover)?

Rebel, outdoorsy

What is one of the best stories you can share about your experience in this industry?

My eureka moment was my first look at juniperus procera. It is changing the gin world and will continue to do so. An African (and world) gin revelation

What is one of the worst stories you can share about your experience in this industry?

Blowing up an antique still… Be careful out there.

If your company could drive, what would be its vehicle of choice?

There is only a Land Cruiser Pick-Up Double Cab

How do you reach your customers and how do you interact with them?

Cold calling the world’s best bars and barmen who become our brand barkers. Then build a decent relationship with them. On line is good too

What is your definition of a Craft Spirit and how many brands do you feel achieves this?

Owner operated, nothing artificial, distilled on site, not bought in and doctored.  There are many good gins in SA that achieve this such as Autograph.

What is your vision for the Gin category in South Africa as well as your brand?

Get rid of the fake, coloured and flavoured gins (or compel them to operate in a non-gin environment) to secure the integrity of the genre. Procera is here to stay and grow as the world’s best (and most expensive) martini gin