South African Bar Designs Given The Thumbs Up By The Creator of London Olympic Games Torch

Van Ryn’s Distillery in Stellenbosch hosted the FINE BRANDY bar design competition, where top three entries in the running to create the ultimate bar experience were selected.

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Some of South Africa’s best designers including interior designers Piers Mansfield, interior designer Andrea Kleinloog, fashion designer Gavin Rajah and the London based South African textile designer, Sindiso Khumalo were shortlisted in the top 10.

There were also three wild card entries by Simona Hendey, Altus Van Ziyl and two CPUT final year design students, Yolandi Kotze and Yonan Du Toit.

South Africa’s most innovative brandy bar designs were scrutinised by Jay Osgerby, the designer of the 2012 London Olympic Games torch.  Osgerby received the Order of the British Empire for services to design in October.

“We were looking for a bar which enhances the consumer experience at tasting events held by FINE BRANDY. BY DESIGN, a collection of premium potstill brandies – Oude Meester Demant, Van Ryn’s 12 Year Old Distillers Reserve, Klipdrift Gold, Flight of the Fish Eagle and Collison’s White Gold,” said Caroline Scott, brand manager for FINE BRANDY.

She continued “We are seeking to change perception of brandy as an after-dinner drink to one that is recognized as an international award-winning spirit which is versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways”.

Distillery Tour and Barrel Making

While the 10 finalists were presenting their designs to the judges, we were taken to a tour of the distillery.   We were taken through the history of the distillery, the processing of the bandies and the

We then had a demonstration with the barrel maker, it is quite fascinating to see how barrels are created.   More importantly, it was refreshing to witness the passion and dedication that go into creating the barrels or even maintaining them.

Brandy Tasting

After the tour, we got a bit of training into how to taste brandy and what to look for when tasting one.  We tasted the award winning Van Ryn’s 12 year old brandy and paired it with chocolate.  This you have got to do!

Pairing with Sushi

I am not a fan of Sushi and have never attempted to try it.  However, when we were given insight of what to expect for lunch I realised that certain ingredients are not traditionally used in creating Sushi were mentioned. I knew I had to try this one out.  We paired it with the Van Ryn’s 10, 12, 15 and 20 year old brandies.  Both the food and bandies were amazing!

Jay Osgerby Skype Presentation

Jay Osgerby joined us on a Skype presentation and took us through the whole process of putting together the 2012 London Olympic Games torch ~ from conception to relay!  He drew parallels between the FINE BRANDY bar design project and the creation of the Olympic torch.  “You were also marrying symbolism, reflecting quality, beauty and craft, “he told the designers via Skype.

Announcement of the Finalists

Three finalists were named as the front runners for the R50 000 prize:

  • Furniture designer Peet van Straaten
  • Interior design student, Yolandi Kotze
  • 3D visualisation designer Ryan Roberts

The overall winner of the bar design competition will remain a secrtet until the bar is brought to life at the 2014 Design Indaba.

Follow @FineBrand_SA on twitter, check out some of the views below:

About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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