Meet the Maker: Ryan Phillips of BrewCraft
I’ve been obsessed with gin for long enough to believe that I have acquired at least some skills regarding the juniper drink. I am not yet confident enough to start distilling but I felt that I could at least attempt one of the easier methods. Namely – bathtub gin!
Now this term does mean a great many things (not distilling in your bathtub though), most referring back to prohibition days when bootleggers took leftover alcohol and infused it with botanicals (usually in the bathtub) to make gin.
I must be upfront and admit that distilled gin does taste far better to me but since I am taking baby steps, I purchased two gin botanical kits from BrewCraft so that I could craft my very own bathtub gin.
At the same time, I spoke to the owner of BrewCraft to find out a little more about what makes him tick and ideally get a few of my readers ordering from their store!
In real life Ryan Phillips is a construction quantity surveyor with a passion for the construction site atmosphere which usually comprises of evening braais and beers in the downtime.
Ryan: “I have always loved beer, rum and many other alcoholic drinks so it was possibly in the blood that made me want to start making my own beer and spirits. I did a little research and found that it was a great deal easier than people say hence I got started! This magnificent hobby of mine was started over 13 years back with my very first home brew beer, where I just fell in love and have not stopped since. Having friends over to taste/drink my beers and spirits started becoming more and more popular so they started asking me to help them get started and at that stage I brought in my first pallet of starter brewery kits and distillery kits from my supplier (still today) in New Zealand now called Bevie Craft Ltd.
We currently have two warehouses original one in Jet Park, Boksburg and the other in Techno Park, Centurion, PTA and at both warehouse we stock everything for a home brewer to get started brewing his/her own beer and/or making their own spirits, wines and cheese kits too!
We also distribute to lots and lots of smaller home brew stores throughout South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and many more to come!
Along with the beer brewing kits, BrewCraft also stocks gin botanicals which are particularly difficult to find if you are not a gin distiller yourself.
Some of their botanicals
Sam: Where you do get your botanicals from?
Ryan: We import from Italy, Spain and some locally
Sam: Who are the people that order from you the most?
Ryan: Good question, actually it really ranges from 20’s to 70’s but on average I’d say 30 – 40 are our best buyers. The ladies are loving the gins!
Sam: Do you get a lot of gin makers order gin items?
Ryan: Lots and lots of them and still growing!
Sam: Do you brew/distill yourself at all?
Ryan: Yip for sure … Sometimes a little too much – ha ha!
Sam: What is your go to alcoholic beverage of choice?
Ryan: I love Craft beers and mostly the big hoppy IPA’s and then I love a good rum & gin of course (P.S. Rum is going to be the next hit drink to follow gins!)
Sam: What do you love about your job?
Ryan: Hmm... tough to point out only a few things when I really love absolutely everything. The tasting of different samples of some delicious home brewed beers, gins & other spirits which clients drop off keeps that excitement, creativity and enthusiasm on a high!
I have to compliment The Brewcraft Team (staff) they are absolutely brilliant and I do believe that they enjoy their jobs too with a super team spirit atmosphere, almost like a little family which is a great part of Brewcraft’s success plus our friends (clients) see and feel our passion hence they enjoy it too.
It is in our phrase “your next brew is our passion”
PS: I also love a little whiskey in my coffee when working on a Saturday mornings :)
Sam: Who doesn't???
Ryan doing some good old fashioned sampling
Sam: Are there any interesting plans for the future?
Ryan: Well we passionate about saving the Rhino’s so all the funds raised and our events beer & spirits at both the Jet Park & Pretoria shops go towards the 10 baby rhino’s that we have adopted and contribute to monthly so we looking at holding a Home Brew Golf Day in August of which all the proceeds will going to our Rhino’s and maybe even be able to adopt some more. People can keep an eye open on our Facebook page for upcoming Beer and distilling events.
I DO have to be honest and admit that the gin botanical kit I purchased is not actually for home steeping (which is probably why it turned out so oddly) but if you ARE looking for a gin making kit then visit Love-Gin's website to purchase a set.
Do also check out the BrewCraft website for many more treats and goods that you can make and distill.
And finally to view my video on how I crafted my own peppery bathtub gin, you can check out the video below.