Booze ban's effect on women in the industry needs more attention - Gin pioneer
Inverroche Distillery pioneered the use of indigenous fynbos in producing gin to become a major South African success story.
Established in 2011 in the smallish Western Cape town of Still Bay, the company now sells its craft gins in up to 15 countries around the world.
Inverroche co-founder and creative director Lorna Scott detailed the ripple effect of their success in an article for Daily Maverick.
Not only did our growth as a woman-owned business allow us to employ local people – 70% of whom are indigenous women who are heads of households – but it also created a ripple effect for pockets of growth in other areas of the local Still Bay economy... allowing the hospitality and related industries to flourish.Lorna Scott, Co-founder and creative director - Inverroche Distillery
Bruce Whitfield interviews Scott about the far-reaching implications of the lockdown alcohol ban.
A lot of industries have developed alongside us, and so the impact is so much broader than just directly on us as a single business.Lorna Scott, Co-founder and creative director - Inverroche Distillery
Scott says this is typical of how the value chain in the alcohol industry has been impacted. (She's managed to prevent any job losses amongst her own staff)
She's particularly concerned about the women affected - from tavern owners and breadwinners to brand owners themselves.
It's a multi-sectoral impact... First of all there's been a direct impact on the people... and the value chain going down... It's agriculturally linked; there have been losses in many of the industries that depend on on us - coffee shops, restaurants...Lorna Scott, Co-founder and creative director - Inverroche Distillery
... and even transport companies. We use local suppliers to bring our packaging from Cape Town and take the product across the country.Lorna Scott, Co-founder and creative director - Inverroche Distillery
And remember, many of the brand owners in the gin industry as in the craft beer industry are also women. The impact on women in particular is something that's very dear to my heart and doesn't get as much attention as it ought to.Lorna Scott, Co-founder and creative director - Inverroche Distillery
A key impact of lockdown has been on the company's exports, which had been expedited by a shareholder deal with France-based industry giant Pernod Ricard.
More broadly Scott says, the historic deal represented a vote of confidence in the future of South Africa and also in the continent's women entrepreneurs.
Going back almost a year now, we had this historic deal with Pernod Ricard ... Being a global concern it also represents me being able to access markets across the globe, which was always the intention with my brand... We've lost summer... It's probably in the region of R25 million that I've lost so far...Lorna Scott, Co-founder and creative director - Inverroche Distillery
It's not just [Pernod Ricard's] the relationship with me - at the time when it happened it was historic not just for me. A global company made a commitment to say 'Despite the terrible economy in South Africa we have so much faith in this brand that we're going to invest here'.Lorna Scott, Co-founder and creative director - Inverroche Distillery
All that has now been put on the back foot. How on earth do I make up the lost trust and all those wonderful relationships with not only my new partner but looking at all the potential new opportunities that we've just opened up in Europe and in America?Lorna Scott, Co-founder and creative director - Inverroche Distillery
She does, however, believe that the unique nature of her brand is strong enough to maintain global interest.
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