Hope on Hopkins Distillery: a small-batch distillery in the industrial heart of the Mother City

After toiling away in the bustle of the City of London for nearly 15 years, ex-lawyers Lucy Beard and Leigh Lisk abandoned the rat race to follow the sun. The couple eventually found their way back home, to South Africa – after falling in love with craft gin in the Mediterranean - and refurbished a rundown warehouse in the heart of industrial Salt River, creating the Mother City’s first distillery. It is in this small urban haven that the two of them work (and live), dedicating their lives to the age old process of batch distillation with their two faithful stills - Mildred and Maude – the first stills to be licensed in the City of Cape Town.  Mildred and Maude are gleaming stainless steel, very much in keeping with the industrial heartland of Salt River, and a breakaway from the traditional copper pot stills used by other distillers in South Africa.

Lucy and Leigh collaborated with esteemed South African craft distiller, Roger Jorgensen, to formulate Musgrave Gin, based on botanicals chosen by Musgrave Gin founder, Simone Musgrave. Juniper and coriander are steeped in neutral spirit, which is then finely distilled in Mildred, with a basket containing the rest of the botanicals sitting in the path of the vapour and delicately infused into the spirit. 

Lucy is the distiller, as she has the knack for flavours and aromas and has developed the skills required to make the all important “cuts” in the spirit runs.  Leigh keeps the equipment up and running and clean: the cold reality of running a distillery is that it is 90% cleaning and 10% distilling!

To see what a distillery looks like in action, Hope on Hopkins Distillery offers distillery tours by appointment.  Gin and vodka tastings will follow in the next few months.  Follow HopeOnHopkins on Twitter and Instagram for an insight into distillery life or visit www.hopeonhopkins.co.za or HopeOnHopkins on Facebook for more information.

Hope on Hopkins Distillery

7 Hopkins Street

Salt River

Cape Town 7925