One of Cape Town’s first gin distilleries, Hope on Hopkins, has transformed over the years and bloomed from a business built with crossed-fingers to a gin-lovers dream that has exceeded hopes and expectations.

Now this pioneer distillery has a brand new look and feel both for their tasting room and their bottles that amplifies their sophisticated gin creations.

The view from the Hope Distillery.

Hope’s approach has always been incredibly hands-on, from its origins as a small-batch distillery started by husband and wife team Leigh Lisk and Lucy Beard, to the fact that the owners live on the premises and oversee the operations closely. Their experiential tasting room offers a real up-close-and-personal taste of the brand. 

Located in the industrial Cape Town area of Salt River – a suburb that in the past decade has become a hub for creative enterprises and entrepreneurs – it’s a state-of-the-art facility with homely charm.  

“Initially, our priority was to get the distillery up and running, but once it was well established we were able to turn our attention to the tasting room. We wanted to reflect the spirit of our products and bring a more distinctive yet modern look to the space,” explains Lucy. 

The new look and feel of the Hope gin bottles.

The upgrade of the tasting room goes hand-in-hand with Hope’s new branding look and feel, reflecting a crisp and contemporary new aesthetic. The new space is comfortable yet refreshing with touches that offer visitors a different experience to other distilleries.

A botanical experience table allows guests to touch, smell and even taste the various botanicals that go into making the exceptional Hope gin.

“It’s important to us to support local, and so we sourced from some of our favourite South African designers and artists,” says Lucy. New chairs and bar stools from Houtlander – whose simple and contemporary silhouettes align with Hope’s brand identity – complement existing tables by James Mudge. Cork barstools and lampshades from Laurie Wiid Van Heerden from Wiid Design (who also designed the new botanical table as well as the three bottle cork display units) are offset by a piece by Paul Edmunds, and lighting is from artisanal brand Hoi P’loy – known for its retro aesthetic – while the coffee tables were custom designed by KNUS Home Décor. It’s a harmonious but eclectic mix that shows off some of South Africa’s talent in action and conveys the same cool, unpretentious attitude of the Hope brand itself. 

Another view of the beautiful Hope tasting room.

The new and improved tasting room is the public-facing side of what is primarily a functional working distillery, and allows visitors to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of the products, as well as experience a guided tasting of Hope’s portfolio of spirits. The Tasting Room is open for tastings and bottle sales on Saturdays from 12pm to 5pm (the distillery is also open for bottle sales from Monday to Friday). 

Tasting experiences at Hope are fun and informative and allow gin-lovers to possibly meet the makers while appreciating their GINtastic offering. While it is casual and informal it is also educational and no guest leaves without having learned something new.

“We include our three primary gins, and then a limited release edition, whatever we’re working on at that time – it allows us to offer something unique to visitors to the tasting room, something that’s not available widely,” says Lucy. 

The tasting set up at Hope Distillery.

We truly appreciate the personal touch and passion apparent in each step of the tasting experience. From carved Hope trays displaying neatly placed miniature corked bottles of gin to the unique limited edition gins on offer. You could visit Hope once a month and have a different experience or savour a new gin creation available for a limited time only. If that isn’t convincing enough their pricings are extremely competitive offering a tasting of three gins for just R120 and a tasting of four gins for R150.

“People are welcome to try our agave and vodka spirits, but we find most people come to enjoy the whole experience that goes hand in hand with gin – the garnishes, the tonic. It’s a ritual, a tradition,” says Lucy. 

Its not only an enjoyable way to spend your afternoon but also an eye-opening experience showing just how much goes into making gin from the process to the ingredients and equipment.

Cat-lovers can also look forward to a visit from the resident cat. Cheese and charcuterie platters are available to enjoy with your tasting should you wish to spend a little longer savouring the flavours. While walk-ins are more than welcome but booking is recommended during the busier season or for larger groups.

Contact: 021 447 1950

Address: 7 Hopkins St, Salt River, Cape Town, 7925

Website: www.hopedistillery.co.za.

Article written by

Aimee Pace

Aimee is an avid gamer, enthusiastic yogi and animal lover. Addicted to anime, coffee and plant-based meals. Current favourite pastimes include, sewing and learning Japanese.