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The Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge 2021

The Trophy for the best gin went to Time Anchor Distillery for their Mirari Celebration Gin.

Merari Celebration Gin

We asked the founder and master distiller Shanna-Rae Wilby a few questions to find out more about this remarkable gin.

Where did you grow up, and what made you go into distilling?

I grew up in Durban. My alchemy journey started in a rose garden. As a child, I would accompany my grandmother into her garden, picking roses to infuse into medical-grade ethanol and learning to create basic perfumes. This was the inadvertent starting point for my vocation as the head distiller at Time Anchor Distillery. The path to the creation of Time Anchor Distillery and our premium Mirari Gin range was further explored through youthful experiments with confectionary-infused vodkas at university. My husband Warrick Brown noticed how passionate I was, and I was gifted a 5-liter micro-distilling copper pot still. I used this 5-liter micro-distilling copper pot still for my early creations. Our distillery has progressed from a 100 litre holding capacity to 100 000 litres since its founding in 2013. Until May 2018, I single handily ran the whole of Time Anchor Distillery, right from the distillation, through to the packaging of all of our products. I am proud to say that we now employ three wonderful ladies full-time and will continue to employ women in our community and keep Time Anchor Distillery as a female-run and operated business.

Tell us about yourself.

I am obsessed with flavours and smells. I am always working on flavour, taste, and smell combinations. I am always looking out for new things, whether at the Joburg Fruit market, a walk through the botanical gardens, or at a local restaurant or bar. There are flavours to be found all around.

The full Mirari range

Tell us about Mirari.

We launched our Mirari Gin range in 2017 after two years of recipe development. Our Gins are all distilled with natural herbs, berries, roots, herbs, fruits, and spices and are coloured naturally. It was important to create a range that has a flavour combination for everyone.

What makes Mirari Celebration gin different?

Our celebration gin is one of my favourites. Not only was its development labour of love, but it also took a year of product development to perfect. I created it in 2018 as a wedding gift to my husband. The whole citrus is vapor distilled in the gin, giving it a wonderful bright citrus note. It also has the most expensive spice in the world, saffron, and then to pay homage to the fact that we are Johannesburg’s first craft distillery, we added 23ct gold.

We are thankful to our partners who helped to make this event possible:

For all enquiries, visit https://themeritchallenge.com, or email hello@themeritchallenge.com

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