A trip to Wellington to visit the James Sedgwick distillery is a treat, because it involves enjoying great whisky, spectacular food and an opportunity to learn from Andy Watts, the master distiller and general manager.

Last year the distillery underwent a major revamp and is now a state of the art facility, with all the bells and whistles, but importantly not losing the human and personal touch needed to craft a fine product.

South Africa is a massively important whisky market and it’s great to see a leader in South Africa achieving the award it just has. Here is the press release from drinks giant Distell:

The James Sedgwick Distillery, situated at the foothills of the Bain’s Kloof Pass in the Boland town of Wellington, has been named Best Brand Innovator in Whisky Magazines’ Icons of Whisky competition. The award is in recognition of the state-of-the-art facilities at the distillery as well as the innovative whiskies produced here.

The Icons have been established to acknowledge the people and the places behind the world’s best whiskies and an independent panel compiles a shortlist from the entries received for the various categories.  The winners are chosen by vote and this year, only a few votes separated the winners from the rest of the pack.

According to Andy Watts, manager and master distiller of The James Sedgwick Distillery, it is great to see South Africa now seriously competing against the best in the world.

“The award reflects the global nature of the whisky industry and today, people are taking note of countries such as ours, realising South Africa has the facilities and skills to produce exceptional whiskies.”

Watts is only the sixth manager in the distillery’s 125 year history. Under his watchful eye the production facilities were recently upgraded and a new tasting room was created. Watts, has since his appointment in 1991 as manager of the distillery, been instrumental in shaping a South African whisky platform. He has established many firsts for South Africa on the whisky front with a single malt and a 100% locally blended whisky for the Three Ships brand and more recently the first single grain whisky, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky.

The distillery is named after Captain James Sedgwick, who settled at the Cape as a purveyor of quality liquor, tobacco and cigars and in 1886 his company purchased the buildings which today house the distillery.

The award-winning whiskies produced include the Three Ships whisky range of Select, Premium Select 5-year old, Bourbon Cask Finish, the limited edition Three Ships 10-year old single malt and the 100% single grain Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky.

And…if you want to contact anyone, here are the details:

DATE                         28 March 2011

ISSUED BY               De Kock Communications (DKC)

ON BEHALF OF       The James Sedgwick Distillery


Andy Watts, master distiller,

Liezl Dippenaar, brand manager (021) 809 7000

Linda Christensen, DKC (021) 873 2199