Gember Distillery is a real gem, and were awarded two Gold awards at the 2022 awards for their amazing gins. We were curious to find out more about this unique operation.
Please tell us your name, a bit about yourself, and your role in the company.
I am Simon Cranswick (CEO), a 56-year-old ex I.T. executive, bald, fairly large English-speaking South African (Engelsman) and my partner, Wynand de Vries (COO), a 31-year-old builder with a rich Afrikaans culture (Boerseun).
We both have a real sense of fun and humour to go with it, and we both love a good braai and a “jol”!
However, it is the third commonality of belonging to a small genetic pool known as gingers that really cemented our friendship.
We are highly driven entrepreneurs and have a passion for quality products and great service.
Please tell us when your company was founded and some of its history.
Gember Distillery opened for trading in February 2022, and the founder-owners Simon Cranswick (CEO) and Wynand de Vries (COO) are not only great friends but are also redheads – hence the name “Two Gingers”.
Our distillery is in Muizenberg, and we manufacture the Two Gingers Craft Gin range, which we have coined “Four Seasons in One Day” – something we can typically experience not only with the weather in Cape Town, but also with our fine range of craft gin.
We have realised that at our core we are selling customer experience (CX) and therefore everything we do has to have CX in the forefront of our processes – such as Product Development, Marketing, Packaging, Distribution, Customer and Supplier relationship management, and events such as tastings and festivals.
Our brand is personal and is executed in a way that garners an emotional attachment from the public at large.
Our tag line is “Still Talking” which is all about letting the Still do the Talking. Once you experience our gins, there is no doubt that you will enjoy yourself!
Spirits are currently riding on a huge wave of popularity. What avenues do you think still need to be explored, and what do you predict will happen in the near future?
One of the challenges that the Gin market has is that there are so many flavoured mixers on offer, that the traditional “G & T” has become more about the tonic than the Gin. In response to this, many producers of Gin have de-prioritised the craft processes in the art of distilling, and are rather trying to compete by adding flavourants and colour to the Gin post the distilling process.
We are more purists at heart and have rather left the drama creation to the labelling and packaging of our products. This enables the recipe used to distill each of our products to really shine through with vibrant flavours. We predict that this will be a more sustainable way of riding through the fashion trends of those that are currently on offer by so many producers.
What makes your products unique?
Flavour, choice of botanical mixes in our recipes and the quality “wrapping” we put into all elements of our products and services. All of our gins can be easily distinguished by the palate without the use of a palate cleanser.
We have also developed a product for each of the four seasons: Summer, Autumn, Winter & Spring. This is a little bit of marketing fun, but each flavour has deliberately been targeted to complement the profile of each season. Gin has always been the traditional drink of the warmer months of the year, however, we deliberately set out to counter this by establishing gins that bring spice and warmth to the colder months of the year.
Having said this, each of the gins can be enjoyed any day of the year, leading us to the term we coined for our range: Four Seasons in One Day!
Are all your spirits fermented and distilled the same way?
There is no fermentation process in our production. We macerate (marinade) the botanicals in the raw alcohol for 48 hours and then distill them at closely controlled temperatures to ensure the flavour profile we are after for each product remains consistent.
What is your philosophy regarding the making of spirits?
Develop great products through smart research and development processes and subsequently make use of neutral feedback to enhance and/or refine the flavour profile, before it is launched as a product.
We also want to bring the “sexy” to gin, like the wine market has done. To do this, we have collaborated with established chefs to develop some great food and tapas pairings for each of our gins, something that has now been established in some fine dining institutions.
What are the different spirits you have currently, and the differences between them?
We have managed to make four unique craft gins in under eight months. They have all been manufactured in the same way, the only difference being the recipe of the botanical mix we have used to accent each of the four flavour profiles.
Where are your products available?
· Spar Tops (most WC and now moving into the Gauteng and Bloemfontein markets)
· Norman Goodfellows (nationally)
· Picardi Rebel
· Delta & Booze Town Liquors (Bloemfontein)
· Liquor City
· Tabooz in Sandton
· Craft Cartel (Illovo)
· Wine and Craft in Constantia
· Wine Concepts
· Many restaurants and hotels – numbers grow by the day
· Blue Bottle Platinum
· Liquor City
· Ultra Liquors (WC)
……. more to come soon!
Do you perhaps have some innovations in the pipeline?
Yes, a one-a-year Limited Edition to round off the SA Craft Gin offering and establish it as a real collector’s range!
A more personal question, recall the most interesting spirits you ever had, the occasion, and the memory.
The 1st September 2022 launch of our Spring Gin named La Primavera, the Italian name for Spring. This literally means the “first greens”, which in this gin is represented by a delicious Lemongrass enhanced with Wild Jasmine. This was a very memorable occasion for me, as it was the celebratory milestone for the completion of the Two Gingers “Four Seasons in One Day” craft gin range.
Gins for all seasons:
Two Gingers Pink Pomelo Gin
Their Pink Pomelo Gin has a burst of pink grapefruit on the palate that is accentuated by undertones of cardamom and a slight sweetness from Liquorice root.
An easy and refreshing drink to be enjoyed at all times, especially on dreamy summer days.
Two Gingers Spice Route Gin
A gin to be savoured in autumn.
Our Spice Route Gin has bold notes of spice botanicals and a nutty hint from Grains
of Paradise, all of which are bolstered with a fresh burst of sweet orange peel.
This complex Gin evolves on the palate with every sip, making it a drink to be enjoyed on any occasion.
Two Gingers Soul Flame Gin
A winter fire sipping gin.
The first accents of our Soul Flame Gin are subtle floral notes from Wild Jasmine, supported by hints of cinnamon from Cassia bark.
A warming sensation is experienced when sipping this gin, making it the ideal soul warmer on chilly occasions.
Two Gingers La Primavera Gin
A refreshing spring gin.
La Primavera literally means “the first greens of spring”.
Wild jasmine and lemon grass combine to give a fresh and awakening profile on the nose and palate, whilst earthy undertones from Orris and Angelica roots come to the fore.
This is a vibrant gin that will make your taste buds dance to the joys of spring.