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Birth of WEST COAST DISTILLERS

The idea was born on what has become known as ‘The Gin Plane’.

Thirty thousand feet in the air, travel vibes, a good few gin and tonic’s and open-minded conversation is where it all started. Shane and Shaun were flying from London to Croatia for a bit of a ‘working holiday’ trip, we may have had different agendas for our trip when we took off, but by the time we landed we were very much on the same first page of a new idea.

To be honest we don’t really remember how we got onto the topic but as soon as we did the idea just grew and grew. By the end of the three hour flight we had outlaid the foundation for the very business plan we are still working off. A combination of two old friends traveling to a new place and the flowing G&T’s made for the perfect recipe. South Africa’s craft distilleries were on the rise and with Shaun’s already successful Cornish Distillery, we had all we needed to make this idea into a reality.

When we got off the plane, we decided to revisit the idea after the gin wore off; just to make sure it wasn’t just ‘fuelled up talk’. The next morning it didn’t take long to agree and just three months later we were putting in our application for the licence to start a distillery in South Africa’s Cape West Coast.

It all happened so fast, with so many pieces of the puzzle just falling into place that we knew we were on the right path. The stars are aligned! 

 

About West Coast Distillers

WCD is a new company, started mid 2017, by two long time friends with a passion for new adventures, good quality spirits and hard working ethics. The combination of their respective skills, business experience and the mutual respect that comes with a 20 year friendship lays a strong foundation for WCD.

Our ethos at this point is simple; To produce good quality, great tasting spirits with a passion for keeping unique and interesting at every turn.

Our goals are huge. We intend to take our humble beginnings to great heights. Unfortunately we can’t give away much in terms of where we see ourselves because that will reveal too many secrets of our plan ahead, so all we can say for now is ‘stay tuned and watch this space’ …

WCD is nestled in the very picturesque town of Langebaan, Western Cape, South Africa. A beautiful place that borders the West Coast National Park and is home to the one of the country’s most popular ocean holiday destinations. The clean and protected lagoon waters of the national park attract an increasing number of new residents and visitors annually. WCD fits in perfectly with the relaxed but adventurous lifestyle on offer in Langebaan as well as the entire West Coast.


ABOUT SHAUN & SHANE

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Long time friends that have travelled many corners of the world together. These two have so many stories from the adventures they have had over the last 20 years. Never a dull moment they get together, and West Coast Distillers will be no different. Both guys are hard workers, already running successful businesses with passion. They know how to ‘play hard’ too, and can’t wait to turn this new venture into a unique and interesting addition to the trade.

The combination of respective skills and experience between Shane & Shaun makes for a great team that are sure to produce some fantastic and innovative results in the Craft Distilling industry.

 

Shane Smith

Sailor of the seven seas, entrepreneur & businessman. Shane’s life has always revolved around the ocean, from surfing, diving and fishing to becoming a professional sailor. He travelled the world for a decade, sailing his way around the globe before settling back in South Africa.

Shane now lives in Langebaan, Western Cape, with his wife and two kids. He is the owner and director of Sail Due South; a company comprised of a Yachting Academy, Guest House & Tours division where he can pass on his passion for both sailing and adventure.

Shane has now jumped into the ‘deep end’ with the start-up of West Coast Distillers and is really enjoying the learning curve of running a distillery. Shane runs the business end of the company while learning all he can about the trade from our Master Distiller, Shaun Bebington.

 

Shaun Bebington

Shaun has been involved in the food and booze industry for the last 20 years. From waiting tables to get through uni in South Africa, to washing dishes after 14 hour shifts because no one else was prepared to. Shaun defiantly put in the long yards but the sweat and tears paid off 10 years ago when he took over his own bar; The Lukin, in in central London. 

Being in London during the first wave of the craft beer revolution and the current gin craze didn't go unnoticed by Shaun who two years ago quit the big smoke, moved to a quiet little village in Cornwall and stated making gin.

As much as he would've liked to slow down and enjoy the quieter side of life, Shaun being Shaun, continued to put in the hard work, the long hours and his distillery and gin continued to go from strength to strength.

Once again, not one to sit by idly, is now looking back home and into making gin using locally sourced and foraged South African ingredients – the West Coast Distillers way!