Bain’s ‘fills gap’ in SA whisky market

24 July, 2018

Bain’s Single Grain Whisky has “filled a significant gap” in the South African whisky market according to master distiller, Andy Watts.

Bain’s was the first single grain whisky to launch in South Africa in 2009 and is made from South African corn (maize) and aged twice in first-fill bourbon casks for three years, and then a further 18 to 30 months.

“Jameson and Jack Daniel’s were the big international whiskey brands that returned to South Africa in 1994 after the democratic elections and they were hugely popular,” said Watts (pictured).

“I wanted to find a way of combining the sweetness of American whiskey and natural smoothness that comes with Irish whiskey, and single grain made the most sense.”

Prior to 1994, brandy was by far the most dominant spirit in South Africa but since then whisky has rivalled it for market share.

Watts added: “Bain’s has filled a significant gap in the South African market which lends itself to younger consumers.

“These young people are starting to drink more whiskey in South Africa and Bain’s is naturally smooth and sweet which works well this audience, even in the bar scene.”

The majority of grain whisky around the world is used as part of a blend but over the past 10 years there has been an increase in the number of brands bottling it as its own product.

“Many people see grain whisky as filler for a blend but it has so much more to offer, especially with the high temperatures we get in South Africa,” added Watts.

“The whiskey is matured 60km from Capetown, which means there is more evaporation that creates its sweet character.”

Owned by Distell, one of South Africa’s biggest alcoholic beverage companies, Bain’s remains one of the few grain whiskies in the country and won a Trophy at Drinks International's International Spirits Challenge in 2016.

Keywords: Bain's, Andy Watts

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