The James Sedgwick Distillery operates as the only commercial whisky distillery in Africa, home to the internationally acclaimed and award-winning range of Three Ships and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky.
Set in the picturesque Cape Winelands region of Wellington, approximately 55-minutes from Cape Town, the Distillery is the representation of the true passion and craftsmanship of South Africa’s whiskies with some of the world’s finest malts and grains
Three Ships is a brand of blended and single malt whiskies crafted at The James Sedgwick Distillery. Over the years it has developed from being just one variant to now having a core range of two blends, a 10-Year-Old Single Malt as well as annual special releases and limited editions as part of the Master’s Collection.
All the variants have become regular award winners on the world whisky competition stage with gold’s, double gold’s and trophies with their 5-Year-Old Premium Select blend bagging the title of “World’s Best Blended Whisky” at the 2012 World Whiskies Awards.
As part of a consumer centric marketing strategy, Three Ships Whisky launched a new positioning territory: ‘Made exceptional, made here’, and the brand has timed this well, as we have seen a resurgence in home-grown appeal and love for the country. The brand launched the latest in the Master’s Collection, the Three Ships Whisky 8-Year-Old Oloroso Cask Finish, first with a live sale followed by a limited offering at selected retail outlets to great interest and success in September 2018.
In 2009, the Distillery launched Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, South Africa’s first Single Grain Whisky and the only whisky in the world to be made from 100% sun-kissed South African grain. This variant has witness incredible interest and popularity from around the globe in the past (almost) 10 years. Bains has bagged the title of “World’s Best Grain Whisky” twice – first in 2013 and again in 2018. The whisky is now available beyond the South African boarder in the USA, UK and Germany.
A special release, the Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky 15-Year-Old, the first in the Founder’s Collection, will be available at Global Travel Retail just in time for the festive season.
Both, Three Ships Whisky and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky are products of the James Sedgwick Distillery, the only commercial Whisky distillery on the African continent and in 2015 and 2018 awarded the “Rest of the World” Icon as Distiller of the Year (Whisky Magazine 2015 & 2018 Icon Awards). The products are currently showing growth year to date versus history over the same period.
Three Ships Whisky brand has had good traction in SA, with consumers responding well to the new positioning and the brand growing ahead of plans. Of interest, is a campaign that began close to the end of the year, highlighting exceptional South Africans. The 1st in the series, showcasing Ballerina Kitty Phetla, had over 85,000 views on social media in week 1.
Bain’s has also seen good traction in South Africa on top of its World’s Best grain Whisky Award at the World Whiskies Awards.
The team, led by Master Distiller Andy Watts, now in his 35th year in the industry, have been instrumental in the development of the South African Whisky industry. Hard work along with the innovation behind both brands have seen Andy win the title of Global Icon Master Distiller / Master Blend of the Year 2018 (Whisky Magazine 2018 Icon Awards).
There has been a significant growth in the South African whisky segment above that of the whisky category in general. Consumers are moving away from a show attitude. They are beginning to understand the importance of style rather than age and seek out different kinds of finishes as shown interest in the Master’s Collection. The New World Whisky Category is gaining significant attention in South Africa as consumers come to realize that whisky is made world-wide and not only in a select few countries.
The authenticity of a brand, its story and more importantly intrinsic value of the liquid is more than ever a key deciding factor in whisky consumption.