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A story of Hope

Hope distillery is a micro-distillery nested in the hustle and bustle of Salt River. It is a hidden gem, as the first licensed small batch distillery in Cape Town, set up by a husband-and-Wife team Lucy Beard and Leigh Lisk. South Africans who had lived in London for many years, working as lawyers and living in London life to the full, they decided it was time for a change and packed up after one too many rainy English summers. They took a year off and went travelling in a camper van around Southern Europe and Morocco with the expectation to return to desk jobs but quite the opposite happened...

During their adventure and after spending some time in Spain during the peak of the gin craze, they decided to try their hand at distilling. Leigh had owned a pub (the Rat and Parrot in Grahamstown, South Africa), which is where the couple had

met, so they knew a little about the drinks industry, but at that stage the closest they had got to spirits was serving and drinking them!

Setting up the distillery in Cape Town came with its challenges, Hope was the first distillery to be licensed by the City of Cape Town.

They ordered their equipment at the end of 2013, bought a run-down warehouse. During the big renovation of the new distillery, the equipment arrived, and Leigh and Lucy eventually started experimenting in September 2014.

For a Gin to be called a Gin it needs to be distilled with juniper berries, which add their oils (and therefore flavour) to the spirit. The essence of any gin is juniper, and it is this botanical that provides the Gin with it's unique smell and taste.

What makes gins interesting is that in addition to juniper, a whole range of other botanicals can be used. Botanicals come in different species of seeds, herbs, roots, fruits, berries, spices, nuts that contribute flavour and aroma to the Gin.

Leigh and Lucy have grown their Hope family and now distill a wide range of gins, for themselves and for 3rd party. After taking on one “contract” gin, the couple realized it was a great way not only to establish themselves as a well-respected distillery, but also to allow them to play around with recipe development and different botanicals. More than half the fun is in the recipe design.

Twelve different gins are currently produced by the Hope team and no two of these are alike. This has allowed Leigh and Lucy to get a mastery of different botanicals. The couple have also grown their business to now include a cocktail bar called Strange Love, which is open in the mezzanine level of the distillery and is open on Thursday and Fridays 5pm- late. Read more here

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