South African businesswoman produces “Vryheid” gin from Norfolk distillery

Shaun and Lindi Hancke. Picture: Square Pepper Photography

Shaun and Lindi Hancke. Picture: Square Pepper Photography - Credit: Archant

It was while cleaning a chicken coop at her Wymondham home that a South African businesswoman came up with the idea of producing and bottling her own gin.

Vryheid, the gin which is produced by South African businesswoman Lindi Hancke from her Wymondham ho

Vryheid, the gin which is produced by South African businesswoman Lindi Hancke from her Wymondham home. Picture: Square Pepper Photography - Credit: Archant

Lindi Hancke, who moved to the UK in 2007 with husband Shaun under the Highly Skilled Migrant program, said she had always enjoyed gin and was thinking about starting her own businesses at the time.

'I had accepted a voluntary redundancy package from the company I was working for.

'While cleaning out the chicken coop I spilled my gin and while looking at the glass I started thinking of making my own.'

Mrs Hancke said her family had a long history entwined with some unique wines and spirits.

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'The first encounter is written in 1705 when my great ancestor on my father's side bought part of a wine estate in the Western Cape province in South Africa,' she said.

'Although the estate is no longer owned by our family, to this day it still produces fine South African wines.'

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Her mother's side of the family also has a long history in grape farming for brandy and wine producers in the country.

She said husband Shaun had grown up assisting his grandfather with producing wine and 'mampoer', a type of moonshine.

'He learned how to distil mampoer that could remove nail varnish,' she said.

After setting her sights on producing a gin, she spent a year researching ingredients that would be used in the final product.

'It is quite a scientific process and if not done properly you will end up with a cloudy gin,' she said.

After converting a workshop at their home into a distillery and creating more than 10 prototype batches, she finally produced a batch of 24 bottles in November last year that she was satisfied with.

The gin is called Vryheid, an Afrikaans word meaning freedom, and is available from four outlets in Norfolk.

'I think the quality of our product is really good and makes us stand out from the rest,' said Mrs Hancke.

'It's a really lovely gin that is very unique.'

Jerome Lambert of Bijou Bottles praised the gin. 'You don't need to be a good salesman to sell such a good quality product,' he said.

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