So we’ve awarded our first ever SA Gin Business Bursary to Mayine Premium Gin – SA’s first black-owned gin brand. Over the course of a year, we will mentor co-founder Luvuyo Jongile as he grows his brand and business knowledge, culminating in a visit to Junipalooza in London 2019.
Luvoyo and his wife Nodumo founded Mayine Premium Gin in 2017 after they realised that a homegrown spirits brand was missing from night spots, so they decided to create a brand that locals could relate to and which would give back into the community through job creation and business opportunities.
The result has been nothing but positive, with Luvuyo recently landing Makro as a stockist and exploring other growth avenues. But, with a full-time job, and a family to take care of, it has not always been easy for Luvuyo to give his brand the attention it deserves.
After a meeting with Luvuyo on Africa Day, Jean Buckham, founder of the Gin Box, realised that there was a way to help Luvuyo grow Mayine: by offering him a business bursary tailored to his and the brand’s requirements.
The resulting bursary covers a wide variety of sponsorship funding and skills development across craft gin with some of the industry’s leading distillers, as well an integrated entrepreneur development program from Startup School valued at R19 000, four sponsored marketing and sales trips to Johannesburg, gin industry festival and expo tickets, attendance at all Cape Town’s Heavy Chef marketing seminars, one-on-one social media and PR training, and a video rig to document his journey online.
Launched on World Gin Day, June 9th, where Luvuyo attended his first promotional event with The Gin Box at Craft Cartel in Illovo, Johannesburg, the bursary will conclude 12 months later as he will be flown all-expenses paid to the world-famous gin festival, Juniperlooza, and mix with some of the world’s biggest names in gin. His journey and his progress will be shared internationally.
The SA craft gin industry has exploded in the past year. There are 140 gin brands and counting. The Gin Box itself has seen its subscription boxes sold out every month bar one, since we started in August 2017.
“Since we started this business, our philosophy has been to play around with spontaneous ideas, and stretch ourselves, and with this bursary, so many people have jumped on board to support Luvuyo and take his great talent to new heights. It’s going to be a super year ahead for him,” says Jean.
Jongile concludes, “”I can’t imagine where I will be in a year’s time and what will unfold. It’s great to see an African gin make it. And the warm reception we have received thus far has been overwhelming, we even receiving love as far as European and American countries. When Mayine Gin makes it, it will mean job creation and skills development. The support we have been getting across the country has been truly phenomenal and this is exactly what up-and-coming businesses need at the moment.”