The History of South African Brandy October 30, 2023
Blue distillate - and how to correct it June 06, 2023
Growing the Craft Spirit Industry - Would you like to contribute?
First published on Distillique's website 2015 GM Bosman
In the Global Beverage Market, the Craft Spirit Industry is probably one of the fastest growing segments in the world, both in terms of the number of producers and the number of products available (and of course in terms of sales).
Have you ever considered the possibility that YOU might have something to contribute?
If you are interested (but you do not want to read through the whole preamble) please feel free to skip down to the applicable section - I do realise I have a tendency to expand above and beyond what might be required.
What does Distillique do?
Since its inception in 2007, Distillique has had only one goal - to grow the Craft Spirit Industry. We have described this goal in many ways, but most succinctly, we envision a day when there is a Craft Distillery in every town in South Africa.
When Distillique was founded, our MD - Gert Bosman - and his legal team identified the following challenges facing entrants into the Craft Spirit Market:
- A lack of knowledge - people did not know HOW to distil or HOW to make a quality product
- A lack of access to equipment and consumables - people did not have access to what they needed to produce spirits
- A lack of support - there was no-one available that could answer their questions, help them with licensing, product development, production, marketing and distribution.
Distillique was founded to overcome these three challenges.
We provide training in the form of more than 15 Practical Workshops and Courses. We provide a massive range of local and international products - both in terms of equipment and consumables. And lastly we provide support in terms of advice, consultation services, and representation on the national level (legal and industry related).
- Distillique has trained more than 12 000 people in distilling from around the world - Making it (possibly) the largest distilling training school in the world.
- Distillique has 15 scheduled training courses running - and a few speciality on-demand courses - probably making it the widest range of distilling training courses available worldwide
- Distillique has sold more than 600 stills - making it the largest still supplier in Africa
- Distillique is the only one-stop distilling shop in Africa for home and craft distillers providing distilling training, supply, installation, commissioning and consultation service
- Distillique has customers in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, the UK, Scotland and Ireland, the US, Canada ... and even Seychelles, Mauritius and Bali!
To date, Distillique has supported more than 70 Craft Distillers in opening up new Craft Distilleries, with MANY more in the Product Developmental and Licensing Phases.
The Distillique Craft Distillery Business Course
For the last couple of years Distillique has been presenting a two day course specifically geared to addressing the needs of those individuals wanting to make the jump from Home Distiller or Product Development, to a Functional Commercial Craft Distiller.
During these intensive two days we focus on all the legalities involved with this type of undertaking (in terms of South African Law), we go through the license application process and requirements, analyse different Distillery Layouts and processes, and evaluate equipment requirements based on individual Distillery activities and needs.
Most of the second day is spent on doing a detailed Feasibility Study of your proposed Craft Distillery, a VERY comprehensive 3 year Cash Flow Analysis and Projection, as well as working through a complete Business Plan Template.
Populating the Business Plan Template
Due to the detailed nature of the Business Plan Template, it does sometimes happen that our trainees feel slightly overwhelmed by this challenge - specifically if they come from more "practical" professional backgrounds, where Business Planning, Registrations and Budgets did not necessarily form part of their day-to-day activities.
For this reason I have spent the better part of 3 months, expanding and populating the template for a fictional Distillery, producing multiple product types, to give as wide an overview as possible. The idea being that this completed plan would end up serving as a reference document or inspiration for future Craft Distillers - to be sent free of charge to everyone who has completed our course in the past, and provided in addition to existing course material to new trainees.
Working after-hours and on my off days, what started as a 120 page framework has now metamorphosed into a document over 900 pages long, close to 200 000 words, and the end is not yet in sight.
The reason for this massive increase is the fact that the document is now no longer JUST a Business Plan, but it is becoming more of an Operations Manual, including sections on Marketing, Tasting Room Operations, Health and Hygiene, Labour Relations, Disciplinary Procedures, Basic Financial Principles, etc. etc.
In trying to create a document - call it a Reference Manual - that would be as useful as possible for Craft Distillers, it therefore seems that I have bitten off a little more than I can chew (on my own).
I would therefore like to ask for your assistance in completing it.
How can you contribute?
We are privileged to have contacts with experts in MANY different Liquor and Spirit related fields, and whether you realize it or not, each of you have something to offer.
Please understand that in asking for your contributions, we are not looking for recipes, intellectual property material or privileged processes. we would like you to provide us with your "Pearls of Wisdom"- those little tricks of the trade that you have picked up or figured out to make your life easier. The lessons experience has taught you.
For instance, the following fields can contribute:
- Brewmasters - Ensuring hygiene in fermentation tanks and Mash Tuns
- Social Media Professionals - Tips on running successful campaigns on different Social Media Platforms
- Marketers and Sales - Approach strategies for Tasting Events, "Cold-calling", Liquor Distributors, etc.
- Hospitality - What do you look for if approached by a Craft Spirits sales representative?
- Barstaff - How do you sell or use Craft Spirits?
- Distillery and Winery Guides - Tips on Tours and handling visitors
- Laboratory Staff - Notes on Lab processes and procedures, list of recommended equipment
- Bloggers - Advice on running and growing a blog
- Bottling and Packaging - Advice on procedures, equipment maintenance, stock storage
- Coopers - Advice on maintaining and treating barrels
- Etc. etc. etc. ...
Whatever you think we or our clients might be interested in, we probably will be, and we would like to urge you to send it through. Regardless of how basic it is (cleaning a pump or pipe) to how complicated (creating and using an App during marketing).
What's in it for you?
Obviously there will be a little work involved in this, and these days nobody seems to do anything for nothing, so what can I offer you as an incentive?
- Full Credit - All included sections will have a contributor profile attached as a footnote. We will also publish your insights and advise (with full acknowledgement and accreditation) on our website "Article" Blog, on selected social media platforms and newsletters.
- Satisfaction - Yes. we are appealing to your ego here. The knowledge that you contributed something useful to craft distillers, and thereby to the Industry as a whole.
"I'm interested in participating, so what now?"
Should this be soemthing you would be interested in participating in, and contributing too, please feel free to send me an E-Mail - email@example.com
You can ask any questions you would like, send through proposals, or just send through your contribution.
We look forward to hearing from you.