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Distillique - Craft Spirits

Articles Relating to Craft Spirits by Distillique

The Section for the discussion of Craft Spirits - Answering questions like "What is Craft?", and looking at the activities of the Southern African Craft Distilling Institute (SACDI) and RealCraft, the Craft Certification Organization.

What is SACDI?

The Southern African Craft Distilling Institute (SACDI) is a private, independent, organisation, with the express goal to develop and support the Craft Spirit Industry in South Africa. It was founded in 2009, and hosted the first every Craft Spirits Conference in 2016, where the 127 attendees discussed and approved the SACDI definitions of Craft. Since then it has been engaging behind the scenes with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) in order to influence legislation in South Africa for the benefit of the Craft Spirits Industry, with some major successes.

What does SACDI do?

SACDI members can rely on SACDI to:

Promote Craft Distilled Products in general, your distillery, your products and creating general public awareness of the uniqueness of Craft Spirits Support the Craft Distilling industry by acting on challenges SACDI members face. Represent SACDI members and lobby for favorable Craft Distilling Legislation Support your distillery with day-to-day issues - in an objective and unbiased manner Together we can achieve so much more than we can individually.

What is SACDI's Goals?

In the words off the Secretary Pro Tem of SACDI - Hendre' Barnard:

When I started my tenure at Distillique 6 years ago, it was a job. A position I was suited to, an opportunity to do something different. However, I soon realized that this was not a job, but an adventure, and that on a daily basis I was in the company of Heroes.

Very often these heroes sit in my lectures and training sessions. Normal, everyday individuals, willing to risk it all to follow their dreams. To create something out of nothing. These special people are willing to give up everything, make huge sacrifices, and fight overwhelming odds in order to achieve something. To build a brand. To leave a legacy. To bring something new and wonderful into the world. In these terms, if someone asks me what SACDI is about, I’ll tell them we perform “Hero Support”. We are the sidekicks of these modern day Spirited Superhero’s.

The idea of SACDI is not to control or regulate – there is enough of that happening already. SACDI is there to assist our current and future Craft Spirit Producers to achieve their goals. To educate the consumers in the true value of a Craft Spirit. To promote honesty and integrity in the industry. We aim to do this, not in search of fame or fortune, but because of a true passion and love for this incredible industry, and the people that work in it.

To us, the word “Craft” is not just a hype word, or a marketing descriptive. To us, “Craft” is a statement of action, of emotion. It is what we do, it is what we devote our lives to, and as such it is worthy of protection. The potential for Craft Distilling in South Africa is truly unlimited, and only by working together can we truly achieve our goals. The old way of thinking of others as your competition is over – through cooperation we will always be more successful.

What is RealCraft?

The RealCraft Certification Authority is one of SACDI's first major projects. It took us 3 years to get everything in place, and we will be rolling it out quite soon.

If you are on this site, then you know about Craft Spirits.

The word implies that this is a noble trade and encompasses values of authenticity, passion and integrity.

However, because these qualities are implied and not guaranteed, it is easy to be duped by fake and misleading brands. Brands finding short cuts to ride the “Craft Spirit” wave and who are deliberately misleading consumers in order to make a sale and make money.

Brands like these are bringing the name of the Craft Spirit Industry and all its Crafters and Distributors in disrepute.

Craft relies upon a passion that is translated into a technique or skill in making products by hand.

Craft Spirit Production is about Passion, Quality, Choice, Individuality and Authenticity.

So, if we break down “real” Craft Spirits, it must have the following qualities:

  1. Authenticity (to the product)
  2. Integrity (to the method)
  3. Non-repudiation (to your consumer)
What is non-repudiation you ask? Non-repudiation is the guarantee that somebody cannot deny the validity of something.

Creating Craft Spirits is about making sure you create a quality alcoholic product (ideally containing alcohol produced by yourself, if you are a Distiller) while being as unique, different and as experimental as you are legally allowed to be by law.

A product that has your specific signature, that tells your story.

The creators of Craft Spirits are hands-on, passionate people – starting as novices and becoming specialists, who transcend the gaps between passion, art and science to create unique spirits for individuals who are passionate about authentic products.

They are not just in it for the money – they actually want to contribute something to society. Their creations.

The goal of the RealCraft Certification Authority is to provide the consumer with the piece of mind that the product they are purchasing, is REALLY Craft.

  • Health Warnings on Spirit Labels

    Health Warnings on Spirit Labels

    If you know what you are looking for, it can be quite scary when walking through a Liquor Store Aisle and seeing all the illegal products on the shelves - products that can be deemed illegal just by mistakes on the labels.   Now many of these products are blatantly illegal - and the price is already a give-away (selling below Excise Tax for...
  • Andy Watts from James Sedgwick Distillery on Whiskey Aging

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    This is an extract from an interview with Andy Watts from the James Sedgwick distillery who, again in 2018, was selected as producig the world's best grain whisky at the World best whiskies award. Leah van Deventer from Food24 interviewed Andy Watts, the Master Distiller and Blender at Bains Distillery.  The full Interview is available at this link. Age vs Quality Q: How important...
  • How do I Dilute my Spirits?

    How do I Dilute my Spirits?

    This is one of the most basic steps for any distiller, be it a Home Distiller, Hobby Distiller, Craft Distiller or Commercial Distiller. Your distillate (or infused product if producing Gin) will come out at a high percentage, and you need to dilute it down to bottling or legal strength. We do this by adding water. Sounds simple right? If only … How strong...
  • American Whisky in South Africa - Legal or not?

    American Whisky in South Africa - Legal or not?

    As the Craft Spirit Market grows, and South African consumers are being exposed to more new and interesting products and brands - the opportunities for exports to South Africa from foreign Spirit Manufacturers have grown. We have seen this with imported Gins, obviously, and more recently a great number of imported Rums, but what has gone a little unnoticed is the large influx of...
  • Chasing the Green Fairy - Absinthe Facts and Fiction

    Chasing the Green Fairy - Absinthe Facts and Fiction

    Absinthe (The green fairy spirits) has shown a remarkable revival the last 20 years after having been banned in most of Europe for almost a hundred years. Although there were no legal definitions for Absinthe (except for Switzerland), until its inclusion into EU Liquor Legislation, there are very good guidelines on what makes a good, and what makes an inferior absinthe. Also, not a...
  • As a Craft Distillery, how do I work with the Department of Agriculture?

    As a Craft Distillery, how do I work with the Department of Agriculture?

    The Department of Agriculture’s Liquor Division is probably them most unappreciated and undervalued group of Government Employees in the country. Yes, a lot of people have bad things to say about them, and they get blamed for not allowing us as Crafters to do what we want, and to innovate and to be daring, but they have a thankless job. They are entrusted to...
  • What do I need to Register for with SARS as a Craft Distillery?

    What do I need to Register for with SARS as a Craft Distillery?

    SARS, or the South African Revenue Service, is currently the biggest challenge that faces Craft Distillers and Entrepreneurs in South Africa. There are various reasons why this is the case. Most people will point fingers and blame ineptness, laziness, corruption, etc. In my personal capacity however, I do not think that it is fair to paint all SARS employees with the same brush. There...
  • How do I get a License for a Craft Distillery in South Africa?

    How do I get a License for a Craft Distillery in South Africa?

        Getting a License for a Craft Distillery in South Africa is not easy, it is not fun, and it is not quick … but it can be done. The aim of this article is to give you an indication of the steps that need to be followed, the different organizations you will be dealing with, and everything else you need to do...
  • What Size and Type of Equipment do I need for a Craft Distillery?

    What Size and Type of Equipment do I need for a Craft Distillery?

        Selecting the right equipment for your Commercial Craft Distillery can be quite a task. We often get asked to provide a "standard Craft Distillery" quote, but the fact to the matter is that there is no such thing.     What do I need to know to Design a Craft Distillery? Our standard response to any Quote request is the following 6...
  • Innovating with Whisky in South Africa

    Innovating with Whisky in South Africa

    In a previous Article we looked at Whisky Legislation in South Africa, specifically the challenges it poses, and the restrictions we face. A question I often get from our Clients and Trainees is: “Within the laws and regulations, can I innovate with Whisky in South Africa, and how do I do that.” The answer to this question is YES you can, and in several...
  • The Challenge of Craft Whisky in South Africa

    The Challenge of Craft Whisky in South Africa

    Craft Gin has taken the world by storm, with literally hundreds of new brands, spirit producers and distillers flooding the markets of Europe, Africa, the Far East and Australasia. But this “craze” is nowhere near as big in the United States. Yes, there are Craft Gins produced and consumed in the USA, and yes there are some big brands coming out from those Northern...
  • Tips for Crafters to Grow Distribution in Pubs and Bars

    Tips for Crafters to Grow Distribution in Pubs and Bars

        Looking at the premium Spirit Category where Craft operates, over the past couple of years, even if we account for inflation and excise tax increases, Spirits revenue grew considerably, and is forecast to continue to grow annually. This refers to revenue. Volume on the other hands remains, at best static.      In times past the premium spirits market was dominated by a...
  • Factors to Consider to Increase the Perceived Value of your Product

    Factors to Consider to Increase the Perceived Value of your Product

    In an ideal world, our products will speak for themselves, value would be determined by quality and taste alone, and customers would pay accordingly. In an ideal world … But the world is not ideal, or fair, and we are faced with this little thing called Marketing and Hype that plays a role in determining the price of our products – or at least...
  • What makes one Distillery stand out from Another?

    What makes one Distillery stand out from Another?

    Note: The following is clearly a question of personal taste, but it is based on research conducted by students in Tourism Management who are focusing specifically on Spirits Tourism (and more particularly Spirit Tourism). What is Spirit Tourism? The definition of Spirit Tourism (in this discussion) refers to the visit of Spirit-related attractions which can be museums, distilleries or spirit events. In general, if the...
  • Interesting Botanicals to use in Gin

    Interesting Botanicals to use in Gin

    Unlike whisky which may be spelled whisky or whiskey in different parts of the world, gin is gin the world round. The name gin is derived from genièvre (French), jenever (Dutch), and ginepro (Italian), all of which mean “juniper”, and it dates as far back at the 13th century. In most cases (Jenever being one of the exceptions) the spirit is essentially flavorless before...
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    Turning Waste Potatoes into Profit

    Distillique regularly receives inquiries from individuals that want to explore the feasibility of different raw materials for use in producing spirits – mostly because they have easy or cheap access to those raw materials. This is specifically true for farmers, as fruit and vegetables that do not conform to market standards may still be successfully used for fermentation purposes to make spirits. One example...
  • The Benefits and Drawbacks of Custom Bottles

    The Benefits and Drawbacks of Custom Bottles

    Custom bottles can provide a unique look and provide large brand benefits, but Craft Distillers must evaluate the pros and cons. Everyone knows that your branding and packaging has to work hard on a retail or bar shelf in order to attract consumer attention. Custom bottles are a powerful way to achieve this end, especially when finished with complimenting packaging components like boxes, ribbons,...
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    Distillery Waste Management Plan Template

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