South African distillery unveils 80% abv gin

Feb 16, 2018by Owen Bellwood

South African distillery Pienaar & Sons has unveiled an 80% abv gin, called the Drought Edition Gin, which dramatically reduces its use of water in production.

The Cape Town-based distillery said that, at present, its gin comes off the still at 80% abv and that diluting the spirit down to 43% abv for bottling uses around 200 litres of water. However, Drought Edition Gin cuts out this dilution process and is bottled straight from the stills at 80% abv, helping the distillery to dramatically reduce its water usage. Andre Pienaar, Pienaar & Sons master distiller, said: “It started to seem quite silly when we were trying everything we could to save water in the distillery, that we were diluting gin only to see most of our customers pour double G&Ts. It seemed so pointless. “Over half a bottle of spirit at 43% alcohol is water. It’s not adding any flavour, it’s just diluting the alcohol to a sipping strength, and I imagine only a tiny portion of gin drinkers are enjoying it neat.” The distillery hopes that Drought Edition Gin will remind people of all the small steps they can take to save water. Pienaar said: “I am well aware of the fact that our industry uses a lot of water, and maybe the water saved through this initiative will hardly make a dent, but that’s not the point. "The point is that no-one, and no business is exempt from trying to make a difference in this difficult time. No matter how big or how small.” The new release is now thought to be the world's strongest gin and takes the title from Scotland's Twin River Distillery, which recently unveiled a 77% abv expression.