Through a combination of local ingredients and a process similar to the methods used to make traditional spirits, African Spirits produces a range that carries the wild aromas of Africa.
Living on the banks of the “Bullfrog Pan” in Benoni, the only bullfrog sanctuary in the world, Grandfather Joe, nicknamed Popeye, used to distil his annual mampoer run with close friend and neighbour, Jan.
It was during the 60s and the 70s that they distilled their own mampoer. The two men would disappear early in the morning to the home distillery in the corner of a small holding where no woman, nor child were allowed. They processed their apricot mash, testing and tasting it until late in the afternoon when they would return home in good cheer, while holding each other upright, with a bottle of newly reduced mampoer in hand.
The legend of Oupa Joe fascinated his grandchild, Jan Harm, who in 2017 started distilling spirits. But with very limited knowledge and primitive equipment, the result was disastrous.
Deciding to learn the tricks of the trade, Jan, along with his brother Fritz Jnr and his brother-in-law Frans, attended formal training to master the art of distilling spirits.
Today, African Spirits (Pty) Ltd. is a family-owned business run with all hands-on deck.
In remembrance of how it all began, African Spirits will be naming one of their blends “Bullfrog”.