Gin for the win: A Joburg brewer's gin has taken over the world

Gin maker Jaqueline Grobler serves her gin at a local restaurant PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Gin maker Jaqueline Grobler serves her gin at a local restaurant PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Her handcrafted gin‚ infused with a smattering of African botanicals used in traditional healing‚ has won a Johannesburg gin maker four international awards.


Jacqueline Grobler’s craft labels Ginifer and Westcliff were recently recognised at the American Distilling Institute’s Crafts spirit competition in Maryland in the US. The competition is devoted to judging craft spirits globally every year.

A panel of experts who evaluated the SA gin brands in a blind tasting included a mix of distillers‚ journalists‚ bar owners‚ importers and bartenders.

Ginifer won silver in the international contemporary grain-to-glass gin category. Ginifer Chilli scooped two accolades and Westcliff got bronze in the best international contemporary gin category.

Grobler launched her own alcoholic beverage company five years ago‚ first with AngelHeart – a spicy liqueur – followed by Ginifer Gin‚ of which there are two variants‚ and later Westcliff. From a business that started in her garage with her husband‚ Jaco‚ she now has her own distillery.

Grobler said of her win: “It’s easy to ask your friends to give you feedback on your products and for the most part it’s positive. These awards provide legitimate and honest feedback; recognition and real endorsement.”

Grobler uses 13 gin botanicals‚ the bulk of which are sourced from Europe‚ combined with African botanicals used in traditional healing.

“A few of these unique botanicals are sourced from the Faraday Muthi Market in the Joburg CBD. The inclusion of these local botanicals gives our gin a distinctive taste and smell.”

Grobler said the local gin scene is still in its infancy.

“Small breweries and distilleries locally are slowly and steadily gaining momentum as demand grows‚” she said.