While the Western Cape is known for its excellent wine tasting – an activity popular among locals and foreigners – gin tasting has become the latest must-do activity in the area. In the last few years, craft distilleries have popped up all over the place, not just in the Western Cape, but also in Jo’burg and Durban. These distilleries are trailblazers in the country, stocking local bars and restaurants with their popular gins. And if you’re a local gin lover, you can visit most of these distilleries in person, where you can witness the gin making process for yourself, and sample the gins too! A gin tasting experience is a great activity to add to a Garden Route holiday itinerary, or a safari holiday in the Western Cape. Gin enthusiasts – both in South Africa and abroad – will be happy to know that we’ve put together a guide to the craft distilleries of the Western Cape, featuring some of the country’s top distilleries and their gin.
Situated in the sleepy seaside village of Stilbaai, Inverroche Distillery is home to some of the most popular craft gins in South Africa. Founded by Lorna Scott and her family, Inverroche was started as a small distillery, and over the last six years, the distillery has grown tremendously. Today, Inverroche produces three unique craft gins sold both locally and in 15 countries worldwide. The distillery’s unique craft gins are created using more than 9 000 Fynbos botanicals, and each gin has a distinct flavour that cannot be found in any other gin. Inverroche offers a number of experiences at the distillery, including tours, tastings and gin distilling classes. A gin distilling class will give you the opportunity to infuse your own gin, as well as name your gin with a limited edition label.
Triple Three Estate Distillery
Triple Three Estate Distillery is an award-winning distillery set in the heart Stellenbosch. Blaauwklippen Wine Estate is the home of the distillery, and the wine estate’s gin journey began when Blaauwklippen’s master distiller, Rolf Zeitvogel, started distilling gin using a rich variety of ingredients to create three distinct gins. The distillery’s range of gin is comprised of Just Juniper Berry, African Botanicals and Citrus Infusion gin. In 2017, Triple Three won double gold and gold at the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirit Awards. If you’d like to sample these three gins, you can make a reservation to visit at The Spirits Room, where you can enjoy a gin tasting.
Six Dogs Distillery
Set between the Breede River Valley and the Hex River Valley, Six Dogs Distillery was started by Charles Bryant in a shed once used as a shelter for his six dogs, with an old copper geyser which served as a still. The distillery produces two flavour-filled gins – the Six Dogs Karoo and the Six Dogs Blue. The distillery’s gins are made using wild Karoo plants, homegrown botanicals and fruits from neighbouring farms. The brand’s Six Dogs Blue is popular because of its unusual blue colour, which changes from blue to light pink when tonic water is added to the gin! The gin gets its beautiful colour from the Blue Pea flower. You can enjoy a Six Dogs gin and tonic at a number of bars and restaurants along the Garden Route.
Hope on Hopkins Distillery
Hope on Hopkins Distillery is Cape Town’s first artisanal distillery, and the distillery’s stills were the first to be licensed by the City of Cape Town – a trailblazer in the craft gin industry! Hope on Hopkins distills three gins – London Dry Gin, Salt River Gin and Mediterranean Gin. They also make their own vodka and their own version of tequila. Hope on Hopkins is also the home of ClemenGold Gin, Musgrave Pink Gin and the Bloedlemoen. The distillery’s taproom is open for tastings on Saturdays. Bookings can be made for up to 12 people, which makes this experience perfect for groups and families on holiday in the Cape.
The Woodstock Gin Company
The Woodstock Gin Company was started in 2012 when distiller Simon Von Witt started producing his own liqueurs, before experimenting with botanicals to create gin. Soon enough, the Woodstock Gin Company was born! The distillery prides itself on producing handcrafted, quality South African gin, and they are passionate about creating innovative gin recipes. The distillery’s range of gin includes Inception Wine Base, Inception Beer Base, High Tea Gin and Cask Aged Gin. They also produce their very own tonic water, and gin and tonic mix. The Woodstock Gin Company is open six days a week for tastings, which can be booked directly through the distillery.