South Africa’s vodka consumption is projected to increase by 20 percent this year. Distinkt Premium Vodka, a Black owned vodka brand is poised to take advantage of this growth.
Distinkt was created by four entrepreneurs from Kagiso, a township west of Johannesburg. They are led by Sibusiso Sibisi, a chemist and distiller who is in charge of production and sourcing ingredients. He says the raw materials used (potatoes, fruits, wheat and grain)are sourced in South Africa from farms and “a Black startup owner trying to make it in the industry.” The other team members take care of marketing, financial management and other technical work.
Currently South Africa’s R96.5 billion ($6.17 billion) alcohol market is saturated with international vodka brands such as Smirnoff, Absolut and Grey Goose. Sibusiso says he has always wanted to create a brand that is 100% Black owned. “I bounced many ideas around with my partners and we decided that for several reasons, alcohol would be the best bet. It appeals to everyone from young entry-level employees to company executives. Plus, it is easier and faster to produce compared to than other types of alcohol.”
“It only takes a couple of hours to combine the raw materials, boiling them in extreme temperatures and eventually fermenting for up to six hours. Next is the filtration process which is done three times. The distillation process takes two hours and is done thrice to ensure that the right quantity of alcohol has been used.”
He added, “Lastly this is a multi billion dollar industry and a way to make sure that all this money spent from Black pockets stays and circulates within the Black community.”
Sibusiso says he has always believed in Black products and this brand represents the end of the mindset that African made products are inferior. When asked about the growing “Buy Black” movement in the US and if something similar is happening in South Africa, he said “There has been one for years now through an initiative known as Proudly South African. The consciousness behind buying South African goods and using South African services is growing phenomenally”.
He says an added advantage is that South African radio stations have now started to play 90% South African music. This is helping to promote and enforce national pride.“How Africans think now is different from how they thought 10 years ago. A big revolution is happening.”
Distinkt Vodka manufactures their product in a small lab that they own. They also produce in a lab located in the University of KwaZulu-Natal where Sibusiso currently works. “This lab is owned by a chemical incubator which also assists in analysis at a subsidized cost. We are currently furnishing our new built plant and lab in the North of Pretoria in Gauteng Province South Africa and should be starting operations in a few months” he says. Once in their new plant, they expect to produce at least a one thousand bottles a day.
When asked what separates Distinkt from the many other vodka brands in South Africa, Sibusiso stated, “It is youth owned, 100% Black owned and manufactured with the African consumer in mind. It is a premium Vodka of the highest quality and is attractively priced. But most of all Distinkt Vodka is a lifestyle movement, a consciousness movement and a self appreciation movement. Distinkt Vodka is an African Premium Vodka like no other in the entire world.
The brand is currently in the process of getting accreditation from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and South African National Accreditation System accreditation (SANAS). “Quality is our utmost priority. This is why we have scheduled Distinkt Vodka to go on shelves only when all the required certification has been acquired.”
Distinkt will be hitting the commercial market in September and they plan to eventually introduce flavored Vodka.