First black-owned gin wins big

The Gin Box awards a R100000 bursary to Mayine Gin – the first black-owned gin brand. Here, Jean Buckham, the owner of Gin Box and the idea originator and donor, celebrates with one half of the winning team Luvoyo Jongile. Picture: Supplied

June 13, 2018

SOUTH Africa’s first “Gin Business Bursary” has been awarded to Mayine – the country’s first black-owned gin brand.

Since the arrival of SA’s first blackowned gin brand, Mayine Gin, a lot has happened for Luvoyo and Nodumo Jongile. In an inspiring and exciting series of events this weekend, the husband and wife team from Khayelitsha were awarded a R100000 bursary to help grow their business, culminating in a trip to London’s Juniperlooza Festival next year on World Gin Day to tell their story and promote their brand to the rest of the world.

“The SA Gin Business Bursary is the first of its kind, not just in South Africa, but in Africa, from what we know. “And it will be the first of many, as we plan to support one up-and-coming artisan within the gin industry every year in this programme,” the idea originator and donor, Jean Buckham, owner of SA’s Premier Craft Gin Club, The Gin Box, says.

The R100000 will cover a wide variety of sponsorship funding and skills development across craft gin with some of the industry’s leading distillers, as well as an integrated entrepreneur development programme from startup school valued at R19000, four sponsored marketing and sales trips to Johannesburg, gin industry festival and expo tickets, attendance at all Cape Town’s Heavy Chef marketing seminars, oneon-one social media and PR training, and a video rig to document his journey online. Launched on World Gin Day, this weekend, Saturday, June 9, in which Jongile attended his first promotional event with The Gin Box in Illovo, Johannesburg. The bursary will conclude 12 months later as he will be flown, allexpenses 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.

Jongile said that he was so excited to receive this support in so many areas of development. “To continue to improve and perfect my gins will be one thing, but to receive the guidance in how to grow my business quickly and improve my marketing is another. Nationwide and international exposure is something that I simply didn’t expect. I can’t thank the Gin Box team enough. They didn’t even tell me they were planning it.”

Buckham said: “Since we launched The Gin Box 10 months ago, we have seen gin explode in South Africa – there are 140 gin brands already – and our subscription boxes delivered nationwide have been sold out every month bar one, since we started in August 2017.

“Throughout, 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 Luvoyo and take his great talent to new heights. It’s going to be a super year ahead for him.” “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 receive love from 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.”