South Africa’s gin craze fuelled by an exciting new distillery called Poetic License

Just when South Africans started to wonder if the modern-day gin craze is fading, the powers that control consumer trends said:  “Hold My Gin!”

An exciting new independent small-batch gin distillery has opened its doors on the Cape West Coast in Port Owen, Velddrif.  “Poetic License Distillery” has already made its mark in England and is now launching in South Africa – bringing its bold flavoured gins to the local market.

Gin is not a passing fad in South Africa and it doesn’t seem as if it will be ditched any time soon as the latest fashionable drink of choice. It is still a huge trend in the UK, and here in SA we have exploded onto the market with exciting variations of this alcoholic beverage that has been around for centuries.

Here’s to the Wild Spirits

The Poetic License gins, which include Northern Dry, Old Tom, Strawberries & Cream, and Fireside Spiced Gin, are botanical-heavy to make sure the flavours come through undiluted – with hand crushed “wild” botanicals making the distilling process a true craft.  

In addition to the regular range of gins, Russell Foster, owner of Poetic License Distillery South Africa, says that the distillery will be producing limited batches of gin “rarities” on occasions.  “In the UK Poetic License periodically produces a new batch of limited release gins liqueurs in a unique flavour, with only 1000 bottles available. These usually sell out within a week due to tremendous demand and no further batches are ever produced in that same flavour. At Poetic License Distillery South Africa we will also produce rarities using the unique botanicals found in this diverse country.”

Foster, who also has various other business interests in the area –  including a craft brewery, two restaurants, a luxury boutique hotel and is currently busy with the construction of a new medical centre in Velddrif, which will open on April 2020 – advises that the distillery team will be made up of Renaldo Fourie, the Head Distiller, assisted by Wilhelmina Fourie as Junior Distiller.  The front of house will be managed by Thys Stander with a staff complement of six working in the bar and retail sections. Richard Laing will head things up at Poetic License as the General Manager.

Head Distiller, Renaldo Fourie, who spent time in England at the UK based Poetic License Distillery in order to learn the ropes, explains that he fell in love with the process of distilling during his years at an agricultural school in Jan Kempdorp, and was soon distilling anything that had the potential to yield alcohol.  He followed this with his BSc from Stellenbosch University with a focus on Specialised Oenology. After graduating he worked at Gentleman Spirits (Triple Three distillery) in Stellenbosch before taking up a position as a Distillation Technologist for Distell. During his time with Distell Fourie completed his Diploma in Distilling through the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, and was a content author for the Brandy module for the IBD.  He is currently busy with my Master’s degree in Distilling through the IBD.

Fourie says that South Africa’s gins can compete on the global stage, with Poetic License standing tall amongst them.  The Poetic License gins offer a flavourful, bold, fragrant and balanced gin.”

Did Someone Say Gin Cocktails?

The double-storey distillery with its covered verandah is situated in the beautiful waterside Marina Centre in Port Owen and will offer distillery tours, gin tastings, gin pairing experiences, a retail area with all the gins available for sale – as well as related merchandise, and a bar which will serve a huge array of gin cocktails and light snacks.  For heartier meals visitors can pop into neighbouring Charlie’s Brewhouse to enjoy its extensive menu.

When visiting the distillery, Foster and Fourie recommend trying the Poetic License Strawberry and Cream Gin, perfectly mixed with Elderflower Tonic and garnished with fresh strawberries over ice – a welcome treat on a warm evening.

Poetic License is opening its doors to the public from 12 October and will be open every day seven days a week from 10 am – 10 pm.  (There will be no retail sales of gin available after 19h00 weekdays or on Sundays) For more information contact +27(0)22 125 0568 (ext.3) or email You can also follow them on Social Media @PoeticLicenseZA.



Issued by Fusion Design on behalf of Poetic License Distillery

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