Cape Fynbos Spirits

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Sugarbird® has been making waves with their innovative sales techniques, as well as the quality of their products. They were awarded three Gold awards at the 2023 awards for their gin, and we were keen to find out more about this innovative company.

Please tell us when your company was founded and some of its history.

A story about Sugarbird® Cape Fynbos Spirits would not be complete without a mention of the globe’s smallest yet easily the richest flora and fauna biosphere, the Cape Floral Kingdom. It is this region that has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the extraordinary and memorable flavour notes of our craft spirits range. The journey began in 2017 with the Original fynbos gin. Today our award-winning range spans from four distinct varietals that make up the Sugarbird signature gin offering, an 14-year pot still brandy and a Cape Fynbos rum.

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Some of Sugarbird's gins.
Please tell us about some of the unique features of your company.

A spirit of innovation, bold experimentation and a desire to collaborate have been core to the Sugarbird® company strategy from the outset. We are especially proud of our collaboration with fellow gin distillers and producers in South Africa to produce multi-brand mini gift packs - a world first! The concept has been replicated in the brandy product category and during Festive 2022, we launched a multi-spirit craft collaboration. “Sugarbird® and Friends” has become a household name, offering value to the consumer through choice and variety.

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Lean on Me, glitter gin - Snow globe gin.
What do you think are some of the unique products you have?

Sugarbird's role as a major player in the exclusive craft spirits gifting market began in the lead up to Festive 2018 with Sugarbird® Festive Gin Baubles. 6 tons of gin sold in as many weeks. Gin Eggs for Easter and Gin Crackers for Christmas were among the bespoke gifting initiatives that followed, along with the popular collaborative mini gin gift boxes. The most recent unique gifting product is Safari glitter gin - a glittery Cape dry gin in a Safari-themed bottle, which makes a stellar gift idea from Africa for any gin enthusiast.

Please tell us what is unique about your production/manufacturing process, and your philosophy around this.

The contribution of scientist and company co-founder Matt Bresler, and his obsession with fynbos and local flora (many ingredients are sourced from his own garden!). One of the earliest and most striking ingredients of his experimentation was Agathosma betulina, a species of fynbos called ‘buchu,’ long known to locals for a host of medicinal properties, unique aroma and flavour profile. He has since combined these with species of Pelargonium, kapokbos (wild rosemary) honeybush, Protea, Erica and rooibos. The combinations are distinctive, yet subtle, and always strike a balance between citrus and floral notes that has become the hallmark of Sugarbird® spirits. RnD, innovation and creation are the drivers but ‘Matt’s Garden’ as we now affectionately refer to it, has become the genesis of all.

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Little gin bottles that can be used as Christmas decorations.
What do you think is your distinct advantage or reason for your success?

We’re a small but mighty team in a commodified craft spirits market, with an unwavering commitment to innovation, collaboration and invention. We approach all tasks as though we have already defied the odds and carved a niche for ourselves. As a close-knit unit, we wear many hats, embracing versatility and adaptability as our guiding principles. Our collective eagerness, boundless passion, true grit and determination has consistently catapulted us to success, and we take the view that we’d be best served to embrace every opportunity we can to bring an enterprising craft spirit invention to market.

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Christmas crackers for grown-ups.
How do you see your company or product on the global stage?

Sugarbird Cape Fynbos Spirits is more than a spirits company, we have succeeded in diversifying our offering through both bottled spirits and bespoke gifting ranges, and in 2020, we further diversified with the launch of Kindred Spirits, an accessible spirit range not afraid to ‘say it like it is.’ We pride ourselves on imparting not just a taste of Africa, but a taste of the truly authentic, that which makes them, along with the many more to follow, true Kindred Spirits. Kindred Spirits as a brand proffers a curated African craft spirits experience because an African Spirit is always better, shared.


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Advent calendar with 12 different gins.

In what countries can your products be found?

With so much interest in our bespoke and collaborative gifting offerings, the export market was not front of mind for us - such that we only set our sights abroad in 2021. Today, Sugarbird products can be found in much of Southern Africa, parts of Europe, Canada, USA, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australasia. In Australia, we are fortunate enough to enjoy a direct route to retail.   The festive hype surrounding our Sugarbird gin crackers has led to record sell-through rates, across Australia, at liquor retailers such as Dan Murphy’s and BWS year after year.

Please tell us if you have any innovations in the pipeline for the future.

Well, that would be telling, but we will always create and innovate, it is in our lifeblood, and will always remain a key focus.

Contact details:

Contact person: Philippa de Lange

Email Address:

Contact Number: +27 (0)82 418 0010