Local brewer of agave spirits aiming to change SA culture around tequila


61 days ago

South Africa is renowned across the world for the quality of its wines.

But a homegrown version of tequila is also making its mark.

Capetonian Sarah Kennan started the company La Leona three years ago.

RELATED: Local 100% Agave spirits, La Leona, inspired by Mexico but made in SA

It produces a range of Leonista 100% Karoo agave spirits.

On The Money Show, Kennan explains why the company can't call its award-winning product tequila.

It's a little bit like champagne - you can't call it champagne if it's not made in France... You can't call it tequila if it's not made in Tequila town in Mexico

Sarah Kennan, Founder - La Leona

We call it 100% agave spirit.

Sarah Kennan, Founder - La Leona

Not being able to market the spirit as, simply, tequila is a challenge she acknowledges.

But everybody who knows a good-quality tequila or mescal knows that it is 100% agave spirit.... When they see 'agave spirit' they usually know that it's indicative of being tequila or mescal.

Sarah Kennan, Founder - La Leona

Asked about the distinctive branding, Kennan says they wanted an African look inspired by Mexico.

Getting the product recognised internationally is about education, she says.

Kennan changed the way she perceives and drinks tequila on her own trip to Mexico.

It's no longer a shooter experience; it's slow-sipping like a whiskey; it's like making beautiful margaritas.

Sarah Kennan, Founder - La Leona

I wanted to bring that same culture that I was inspired by to South Africa, and make it in a traditional way.

Sarah Kennan, Founder - La Leona

We're always trying to change people's experience around tequila... It's a positive experience.

Sarah Kennan, Founder - La Leona

Cultivating the plants for use is an 8-12 year process, but completely worth it says Kennan.

The spirit you get from the agave is very unique, very high energy. What's great about the plant is it grows in arid conditions... It grows symbiotically with wild animals or sheep... The farmers in the Karoo grow it as an emergency food for the animals...

Sarah Kennan, Founder - La Leona

For more info on the Leonista range, visit www.leonista.myshopify.com.

Listen to the conversation with Kennan in the audio below:

This article first appeared on 702 : Local brewer of agave spirits aiming to change SA culture around tequila

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