Musgrave Crafted Spirits, best known for its pink gin and as one of the first local brands to launch premium craft spirits, is taking on the brandy category with the launch of two new products – Musgrave Copper Vanilla and Musgrave Copper Black Honey.
Both infused pot still brandies, the Musgrave Copper launch is the result of a collaboration with Distell and its multiple-award-winning brandy brand Van Ryns.
Musgrave Crafted Spirits founder Simone Musgrave, explains her decision to enter the premium brandy category; “Building Musgrave Crafted Spirits means not only disrupting traditional categories, but also aligning with the best in the business. We were approached by the SA Brandy Foundation who are driving innovation and transformation in the premium brandy sector. This particular category has been struggling for some time now with relevance and needed re-energising. After delving into trend research, this felt like the right move.”
Musgrave then engaged with Distell and its expert team from Van Ryns to assist with the development and supply.
She comments, “The fact that South African brandy, and in particular Van Ryns brandy, is the most awarded brandy in the world, made it a no-brainer for me to collaborate with.”
Innovation in dark spirits
In a press release, Musgrave Crafted Spirits states that today’s consumers are drawn to the tales behind their liquor, the interesting names, quality of small-batch liquids and the beautiful packaging of boutique brands. South Africans have seen over 400 story-rich brands grace the shelves in the gin category since 2016, with fascination and fancy found in infusions, flavours and botanical blends.
Now, this innovation is happening in dark spirits too, where an increasing number of South Africans are fatigued by a cluttered market. The rise of dark spirits is in its infancy, and Musgrave Crafted Spirits hopes to pave the way for consumers to try something new and exciting in the premium brandy category.
Pot still brandy’s popularity is on the rise and this homegrown spirit has finally turned a corner, with Nielsen Statistics recently revealing an increase in volume of 4.7% for brandy and Cognac between 2016 and 2017 in the off-consumption market.
The desire for authenticity and interesting alternatives to mainstream brands is feeding SA’s growing craft culture. An explosion of craft gins, whiskeys and rums are pushing boundaries on flavour and creating their own brand stories. Much the same way that Musgrave Crafted Spirits encouraged a celebration of gin 4 years ago, the company now wants its foray into dark spirits to introduce new occasions and ways to drink brandy, in hopes of banishing traditional misconceptions and associations to brandy-drinking.
Flavour profile
Simone Musgrave describes the new Musgrave Copper as a brand that aims to “Act like cognac, talk like whisky, drink like brandy, spend like champagne, boom like gin, sell like vodka.”
Musgrave Black Honey Copper is deep caramel in colour and boasts complex savoury flavours, and a winter African Honey is used to allow a subtle sweetness to shine. Musgrave Vanilla Copper is an easy-drinking brandy flavoured with fragrant vanilla, leaving a hint of figs and dried fruit towards the end.
Musgrave Copper is crafted to be the “bourbon” of brandy, states the liquor company. It’s a luxurious, made-to-mix, infused brandy with subtle flavours and a distinctly African palate.
“Celebrating the continent is very much our focus. We have access to a winter honey, collected by local communities within the national parks of Zambia. Vanilla represents so many of our Indian Islands around the coast of Africa. These stories, coupled with the savoury and sweet flavours of this brandy, seemed the perfect fit to celebrate these ingredients,” says Simone Musgrave.
Christelle Reade-Jahn, director of the SA Brandy Foundation comments on the Musgrave Copper launch, “Musgrave Spirits has always led in terms of innovation and pushing the envelope. Simone and her team analyse and strategically approach the spirits market, and this allows the team to dissect target markets and create solutions that intrigue new users in the various categories. So too is the case with the innovative new flavours brought to market under the Musgrave Copper brand.”