South Africa is seeing dynamic growth in the luxury drinks category as the demand for high quality drinks and an appreciation of premium brands increases. In South Africa, we are following global trends that include a movement towards more natural ingredients – a shift we are seeing throughout the food and drink spectrum of late.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist, Stephen Sparrow, created Snow Leopard Vodka after being struck by the plight of the big cat, which is threatened by hunting and habitat destruction.

He set out to create a product and brand which mirrored the beauty and majesty of its namesake with the aim of helping to save the snow leopard from extinction.  Conservation became a key part of the Snow Leopard Vodka business, with 15% of all profits donated to the conservation group Snow Leopard Trust UK.

Snow Leopard Vodka is perfectly aligned with the growth in the call for premiumisation and natural ingredients.

Snow Leopard Vodka, while devoted to the preservation of one of the world’s most threatened species, is also a rare animal in its own right: it’s the first luxury vodka to be made from spelt grain, an ancient grain farmed in the Egypt of antiquity and now sparsely cultivated in Central Europe. Untouched by genetic modification and offering a unique flavour, spelt grains add a complex and deep tone to the flavour profile of this vodka, gently enhanced by the pure, natural spring water that forms its base.  

Snow Leopard Vodka is distilled six times at the centuries-old Polmos Lubin Distillery in Poland, a process which brings out fresh floral and anise aromas, and a rich, ultra-smooth taste with hints of vanilla.  The vodka’s delicate flavours are subtle enough to not distract from its identity as a vodka spirit, making it a great choice for inclusion in long drinks or cocktails. Not surprising, then, that it won a Gold Medal at the 2014 International Spirits Challenge.  The Snow Leopard Vodka website offers some great suggestions, including The Conservation Martini, the Pink Panther and the Silent Roar. 

“We are excited to introduce this truly unique spirit to the South African market and believe the compelling product story coupled with its rare quality and luxurious credentials will resonate with the South African consumer who continues to seek brands which are not only lifestyle and occasion appropriate but are also underpinned by quality and substance.” Explains Mac Mabidilala the Edrington Marketing Manager in Africa whose portfolio boasts some of the world’s best loved Scotch whiskies, including The Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and Highland Park.

Image: Supplied

Wade Bales is the Founder of The Wine Society

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