Andri du Plessis and Nic Janeke are the creative spirits behind New Harbour Distillery, experimenting with new botanical flavours, and offering mixology courses in their Gin Lab tasting room
How did your business start?
We were both in the corporate world and just knew that we needed to change to something more creative and “out of the box”. With vodka and gin you can put your own stamp on it and be as imaginative as you want to be.
Why did you choose this area for your business?
We wanted to be as close to the CBD as possible and Woodstock offered the correct zoning we needed at an affordable rate. We really do enjoy the potential Woodstock offers – it’s already a creative hub and it seems that the growth is exponential.
How did you find your premises?
We are located in a new development called Mason’s Press, which we saw advertised on Gumtree.
Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
It’s the same concept as The Woodstock Exchange, with all kinds of artisan manufacturers located on the ground floor and designer/agency office space on the upper levels. We do not need a massive space to produce our product, and although from the start our focus was production rather than retail orientated, the other artisan retailers here attract passing trade and a creative community, bringing new customers to our tasting room.
Who are your neighbours?
A quaint little ice cream shop called Moro Gelato, which makes the most amazing gelato, including a few gin-flavoured gelatos.
What are the rental/ sales prices like in this area?
We are renting at a rate of R84/m2 excluding VAT, and it works out to about R10,000 a month.
What is your shop footprint?
We’ve been quite astonished at the number of people who pass by the distillery on a daily basis. We get around 30 people a week interested in buying gin or vodka directly, besides those we supply regularly.
Do you have any expansion plans?
Our dream would be to buy an old abandoned warehouse closer to the harbour. We love the industrial area and there is still so much potential, especially in lower Woodstock.
Do you operate online as well?
Our new website launching this month will enable our customers to book tours, tastings, make their own gin, and take part in lab mixology courses, as well as order directly from us.
What’s your most popular item?
Because of the gin craze at the moment, we find that the gin gets more interest from restaurants and liquor stores. Our next gin will be launching at the Johannesburg Gin & Tonic Festival and has a secret South African ingredient no one has ever used in any beverage, which makes us quite excited.
New Harbour Distillery
082 550 3421
Words: Kit Heathcock