Meet the Maker: Dry Dock Liquor
As a Joburg based gin blogger, I am always on the lookout for new gins to taste and feature, but I recently realised that I have not shared any of the awesome locations where these fine spirits can be procured.
I heard about Dry Dock Liquor through word of mouth some time ago and decided to pop into their store and see what was on offer. Situated in Parkhurst, this bottle store has a lovely boutique feel about it. I chatted to one of the owners; Martin Pienaar, to get some insight behind this exclusive venue.
“We felt that Parkhurst 4th Ave was so trendy and had such a great selection of boutiques and restaurants, that it was a shame that there was no liquor outlet catering specifically to the needs of Parkhurst residents. We jumped at the opportunity to buy the store and revamp it into something fitting for this upmarket and discerning clientele. We are passionate about growing employment in South Africa and work with a youth employment incubator, Harambee, to source our talented young staff. These youngsters are from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and were previously unemployed.”
Just some of their extensive gin collection
Dry Dock Liquor may be slightly more wine oriented but their gin collection deserves an honorable mention. A shelf in the middle of the store hosts some of the finest local and international gins that you can think of. From the Cape Town Pienaar and Sons, Six Dogs, Boplaas Craft gin, Bloedlemoen and Geometric gin, to the Joburg Flowstone and Ginologist and even the internationals like Malfy and Aviation. They even have the newest Monk's Mary Jane gin which I've been dying to try. I love the range and their prices which made it hard not to leave with armfuls of bottles.
Monk's gin's latest release - Mary Jane
Dry Dock pride themselves on being the first in Joburg to stock the more exclusive gins as is the case with their latest beauty -Autograph Gin, a premium gin that is hand crafted from botanicals grown in Bosman’s Crossing in Stellenbosch. I am yet to see this gin stocked anywhere else in Joburg.
Martin goes on to explain “We are differentiating ourselves by offering a trendy and vibrant store with experiential buying through tasting different products and learning more about what’s on offer through regular tastings with winemakers, Gin distillers and industry experts. We try to support emerging brands and craft merchants wherever we can. We also put a lot of effort into making sure that our staff are knowledgeable about the products that we offer, we do this by attending courses, tastings and through interactions with the winemakers and distillers.”
A view of some of their shelved gins
I did end up having a fabulous chat with one of their staff members whose gin knowledge was refreshing as he led me through the variety of gin bottles on display.
In terms of trends in the gin industry, they are experiencing creative and artistic influences in gin production. "Craft gin distillers express passion and inspiration, producing small quantities of hand-crafted spirits. Gin lovers are spoilt for choice with interesting cleverly infused botanicals, creating distinct scents and tastes.”
Dry Dock Liquor has recently launched their Captain’s Choice Gin Club of the Month which features a personally curated craft gin which is packaged with the perfect accompaniments and delivered right to their door.
“We’re passionate about finding unique locally crafted gin, that’s not readily available. Our Captain’s Choice Wine and Gin clubs offer exciting products, uniquely sourced which surprise and delight customers on a monthly basis!
Gin consumption is rapidly growing in Parkhurst, accounting for nearly a quarter of our turnover. Young buyers are definitely becoming more discerning and participate enthusiastically in our gin tasting events. Our customers have shown particular interest in supporting locally produced craft gins.”
Latest package from the Captain's choice gin club
Dry Dock Liquor plan to continue sourcing new and exciting products for their customers who are looking for something different.
One of my favourite services that they offer, is weekly tastings which are not only fun but also help consumers make the right choice when they purchase their alcohol.
“We are also suppliers to private functions and corporates. Our vast range of products and personal service enables us to provide an extensive function service for corporates and private events. Ours is a tailored service that starts with professional assistance in planning the event, to beautiful crystal glasses and knowledgeable bar staff to create a memorable event.”
All in all, Dry Dock Liquor goes above and beyond what it means to be a liquor store and I believe they have a long and boozy future ahead of them.