The James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, home of proudly South African Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, and its Founder Distiller, Andy Watts, both took the world titles as Sustainable Distillery of the Year and World Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year at the 2020 Icons of Whisky Awards held annually by Whisky Magazine in London. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the awards were released live on social media.

Beating competition from all producers across the globe ranging from Scotland, America and Ireland to Australia, these awards prove that South Africa is at the forefront of whisky making.

The James Sedgwick Distillery situated in Wellington, Western Cape, is also currently a source of distilling alcohol to support the country’s fight against the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Andy, Founder Distiller of Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, says innovation has been key in the success of South African whisky.

“Bain’s was launched in 2009, long before single grain whisky became a trend around the globe.  My vision for this whisky was to offer consumers something truly South African made with 100% South African maize and quite uniquely double matured for a period of five years in casks previously used for the maturation bourbon. This together with our warm South African climate which accelerates maturation, resulting in an exceptional smooth whisky with extraordinary flavour, makes the whisky truly one of a kind. And in its own right, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky has been awarded as the World’s Best Grain Whisky twice at the 2013 and 2018 World Whiskies Awards, segmenting our country’s reputation for making world-class whisky.”

The distillery, the only commercial whisky distillery in Africa, has been at the forefront of innovation with state-of-the-art equipment and ingenious sustainability projects. In addition to the recent Icons of Whisky award, the James Sedgwick Distillery was recognised with the prestigious Green Company of the Year award hosted by the BIG Awards for Business towards the end of 2019.

“Making whisky is not just about the liquid. It’s about finding ways to lessen the impact on the environment,” says Watts. “Over the years we have implemented a number of initiatives that include recycling spent grains, which is high in protein, for animal feed; treating waste water firstly through an anaerobic digester and then further through a reverse osmosis (RO) plant,; the first part of water treatment recovers  methane gas which is brought back into the process  in order to reduce coal usage; the second treatment through the RO plant results in an approximately 35% of the water being re-used as process water (cooling and boilers) Collecting the CO² emanated during fermentation for use in carbonated drinks is a further initiative.”

This years’ Icons of Whisky Awards has been a tremendous win for South Africa with Big Five Duty Free awarded as the Whisky Icon – Travel Retailer of the Year and WhiskyBrother as the Whisky Icon – Single Outlet Retailer of the Year.

@BainsWhisky | #BainsMoments | @TheWhiskyMaker

Megan Pedro
Megan Pedro

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