Locally ginspired craft beverages scoop awards

The Crystal and Moringa gins earned the Old Packhouse Distillery two gold awards at the recent SA Women's Wine and Spirits Awards. From left: Ngwako Ramolefo and Emmanuel Mohlalohanyi.

The Old Packhouse Distillery, well known in the area for their pink delight of Blueberry gin and their citrus infused gin, once again picked up awards for their craft beverages but this time at the SA Women’s Wine and Spirits Awards in Cape Town on Friday, June 22.

Their original Crystal gin scooped them a gold award and the latest addition to their pack, the Moringa gin, also earned them a gold title.

The Moringa gin was the brainchild of comedian Mashabela Galane who approached Mark Dando and his team at the Old Packhouse Distillery to create the beverage using the plant native to India. The Moringas are sourced from a project in Ofcolaco, once again the Old Packhouse Distillery team sourcing ingredients as locally as possible. The Moringa plant is beginning to gain more popularity as a new ‘superfood’ for its highly nutritious profile.

Read: TZANEEN: Triple gold for local gin producers

The Crystal gin is a more traditional flavour, a classic gin taste, whereas the Moringa has notes of fennel and gives an extremely soft and smooth flavour.

It is quite incredible what the team have achieved in such a short time period, only starting the distillery project in May 2017.

So far, they have scooped a Gold for their Crystal gin and Double Gold for the Valencia gin at the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards in September last year.

The Crystal and Moringa gins earned the Old Packhouse Distillery two gold awards at the recent SA Women’s Wine and Spirits Awards. From left: Emmanuel Mohlalohanyi, Günter Obojkovits and Ngwako Ramolefo.

Mark Dando told the LETABA HERALD, “The Michelangelos really put us on the map. When we first started out, there were maybe 30 craft gins on the market and now there are probably 130.”

The competition doesn’t seem to phase the Old Packhouse Distillery as they have products that they wholeheartedly believe in and the support shown from the local community is testament to their great tasting gins.

“From the Distillery’s point of view, we are grateful for the community support. The local people from Tzaneen and Haenertsburg are proud of the product and it’s become to be ‘their product’,” says Dando.

The distillery currently outputs 1200 bottles a month but current maximum capacity is 2400 bottles a month.

Read: HAENERTSBURG: A berry good weekend indeed

The bottling and processing is managed with the patience and creativity of still master Günter Obojkovits and his team, Emmanuel Mohlalohanyi and Ngwako Ramolefo.

When asked how they perfected and balanced the flavours of the new Moringa gin, Obojkovits told the LETABA HERALD, “It is a creative process. If you ask a composer how he compiled his symphony he might tell you ‘I don’t know, it just happened’. Well, it is similar with our gins, it just came together and Mark and I knew we had a great tasting product.”

The team intend to showcase their new experimental project – craft rums – at the Haenertsburg Spring Festival in September. Two delightful rums will be available in very limited numbers; an aged rum and a sipping rum which has notes of honey and vanilla. Watch this space!

  AUTHOR
Beth Coetzee
Journalist

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