1000 Hills Distillery
Did you know that Rwanda is known as the “land of a thousand hills” because of its beautiful, mountainous landscape? 1000 Hills distillery is named after this phenomenon and is East Africa’s first craft distillery. It produces five unique, premium “Made in Rwanda” liquors: Vodka, Gin, Rum, Single Malt Whisky, and coffee-infused liquors. The 1000 Hills craft distillery is also nestled in the heart of Rwanda’s coffee region. This led to the creation of their associated coffee brand, Rwanda Bean, which produces some of Rwanda’s most famous roasted coffee, which is infused in their coffee liquors. In fact, whether it's using vanilla from Madagascar or spices from East Africa’s Zanzibar islands, 1000 Hills Distillery strives to source the majority of its ingredients from within Africa
Unlike most alcohol companies, social impact and sustainability is at the heart of the company! The company harvests about 1.5 million liters of rainwater annually to produce its fine liquors. Not to mention, it also partners with local development agencies, such as USAID and the local community to to reuse the methanol residue produced by 1000 Hills Distillery and other distilleries to make fertilisers that can help increase the crop production of local smallholder farmers, and also a low-cost mosquito repellent.
If you’re looking for delicious African liquors produced by environmentally-conscious African producers, 1000 Hills Distillery is your way to go!
Unique Selling Points:
• Considered some of Rwanda’s finest locally-made liquors.
• Co-owners of Rwanda bean, which produces some of Rwanda’s most famous roasted coffee.
• Liquors infused with locally grown African ingredients.
• Siginificant and positive impact on improving the local community and protecting the enviornment.
Ares Aetos South African Wineries is a premium South African wine brand that produces uniquely-flavoured wines. Their wine covers 24 cultivaters borne from selected Stellenbosch vineyards, South Africa’s foremost wine-producing region, which holds a high concentration of highly esteemed wine estates. Ares Aetos produces both branded wine for consumers and unlabelled wine for business clients. It specialises in producing bespoke wines for its consumers and clients. With partnerships in six leading vineyards in Stellenbosch, Ares Aetos can customize its orders to meet the specifications of its clients and handles both large and small orders. It also offers the services of producing, bottling and branding the wines according to its clients’ needs.
Ares Aetos Wineries is led by Sihle Nyokana, a vibrant, ambitious young woman born and bred in Cape Town, South Africa. This makes her one of the few black trailblazers in South Africa’s majority-white wine industry. She holds a Diploma in Business Management and Entrepreneurship and is an alumnus of the prestigious Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network.
Looking for a black-owned, quality South African winery in South Africa’s most popular wine region to source your wines? Look no further than Ares Aetos!
Unique Selling Points:
• Black female-owned winery.
• Premium wine.
• Bottling and branding services.
• Ability to create bespoke wine flavours for clients.
Artclub and Friends
Artclub and Friends is a unisex fashion label from Cape Town, South Africa. Artclub and Friends was founded by Robyn Keyser in November 2016. Robyn’s intention was to build a brand that produces clothes made by artists, for artists. Artclub is also 100% youth and women owned, including most of the manufacturers.
These youthful, female artists strive to keep Artclub and Friends fully sustainable. They use a small production line to reduce waste and only organic materials which are grown or made within Africa.
They also ensure its clothing are top-quality to ensure durability. All their denim is pre-washed and softened and all the seams are taped to ensure garment longevity. Their clothes are also verstalie – designed to be worn by both genders, and adaptable to personal tastes as well as seasons, for example, they add adjustable straps and sleeves to many of their designs.
This had led to Artclub and Friends becoming one of the coolest fashion brands in South Africa and is worn by some of South Africa’s biggest DJs and music artists.
Unique Selling Points:• 100% female and youth owned.
• Use only organic materials.
• All items durable and adaptable.
• Popular with some of South Africa’s biggest music artists.
Gun Bay wines were officially launched by Andrew Ing at the Hong Kong Wine and Spirits Fair in 2019. Gun Bay is a South African wine brand on a mission to raise awareness about South African wine in China and connect the two countries through its wine. Fun fact – the name Gun Bay is a play on the Chinese word “Gan Bei” (干杯), which means “Cheers” or “Bottoms Up.” Their wines of distinction are bottled in premium packaging that is designed to match Chinese consumer tastes
Gun Bay produces full-bodied, fruity wines borne from Cape Town’s globally renowned and acclaimed wine region. Gun Bay’s winemakers select the Gun Bay grapes from prime vineyard blocks in the diverse terroir of the Cape Winelands. For this reason, Gun Bay’s wines are as unique and award winning as the region itself. The Cape Town winelands are characterized by the granite foothills merging into undulating shale hills with many different soil types, and as it sits at the nexus of the cold waters of the Atlantic and the warm Indian Ocean, this leads to the slow, optimum ripening of grapes to produce the fruity flavor characteristic of Gun Bay wine. This unique combination makes this area a winemaking treasure zone.
Unique Selling Points:
• Grapes selected only from Cape Town’s prime vineyards.
• Full-bodied, fruity flavours.
• Adapated to suit Chinese consumer tastes, including the brand name and packaging.
• Strives to promote South African wine in China and connect the two countries.
Holden Manz is a South African winery situated on a 22 hectare farm next to the Franschhoek River 300 meters above sea level in the famous Cape Valley wine region. With three different soil types and a marked seasonal climate, the estate’s vineyards are perfectly suited to produce ultra-premium wines made for the discerning wine connoisseur.
As an exclusive grower of red grapes, the Estate only cultivates its top 16 hectares under vineyards, notably Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot.
With average production sitting at 100 tonnes of manually harvested, high quality grapes, an intimate approach with emphasis on ‘attention to detail’ is maintained throughout. Around 130,000 bottles are produced per year of which 60% are exported.
The wine is produced by world-renowned winemaker, Thierry Haberer, whose family has been producing wine for three generation. His wines have won both local and international awards, including at the USA Sommeliers Choice Awards and the Chenin Blanc Natinal Young Wine Award.
The winery is also environmentally friendly with its recent addition of 65 kW of solar panels which has significantly reduced its energy consumption – a big step in its ongoing commitment to sustainable production practises.
Unique Selling Point:
• Ultra-premium wines made for wine connoisseur – Good batch size.
• Strong attention to detail to maintain quality (manually harvested grapes, small collection of wine varieties etc)
• Multi-award winning globally
• Produced by world-renowned winemaker
Ugandan coffee, in particular, is known for having some of the tastiest coffee in Africa due to its floral, fruity, nutty, and chocolaty aromas.
One company that is putting Ugandan coffee on the map in China is Kangumamu AGRO. Kangumamu AGRO is a coffee trading company and coffee farmers collective that was founded in 1994 by Kangumamu William to ensure that smallholder coffee farmers in Sheema District – a region in Uganda that is famous for its high-quality Robusta and Arabica coffee – received fairer prices for their coffee beans.
Today, Kangumamu AGRO has become one of the leading coffee trading companies in Uganda whilst still remaining a family run company. Now led by Frandan Tumukunde, a social entrepreneur who grew up in a smallholder coffee growing family in Sheema District, Kangumamu AGRO has now built enough relationships to source coffee from almost every high-quality coffee-growing region in Uganda, which is then sold directly to coffee roasteries and trading companies in both Uganda and internationally to ensure smallholder coffee farmers across Uganda receive a fair wage for their work.
Kangumamu AGRO also provides training for over 4,000 coffee farmers in Uganda to ensure the highest quality is produced across Uganda.
CEO Tumukunde’s dream is to one day run coffee shops across China where Chinese people will come to enjoy the uniqueness of Uganda’s coffee. He also hopes that through cooperation with China, Ugandan farmers can earn more profits and produce more value-added coffee to help Ugandan coffee become known worldwide
One of the most premium coffees is their Virunga coffee. Its defining features are that it has a single origin, is 100% Arabica, and medium roasted with floral, fruity, nutty and chocolaty flavours. Virunga coffee is said to bring energy and a uplifting mood to the drinker.
Unique Selling Points:
• Produces both high-quality Arabica and Robusta coffee.
• 100% fair trade practices.
• Funds a farmers’ collective that trains and supports thousands of farmers across Uganda.
• Floral, fruity, nutty, and chocolaty aromas.
Kazi Yetu means “our work” in Swahili because Kazi Yetu is creating jobs for women and improving the livelihoods of farmers in Tanzania. Kazi Yetu offers a range of single origin organic teas handpicked from the rolling foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Next, the tea is blended with exotic spices and herbs sourced from smallholder farmers across mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, and packaged by solely young women in Dar es Salaam.
From Kilimanjaor Black Tea to Lemongrass Moringa, Kazi Yetu’s tea blends have original flavours that contain no artificial ingredients. This also helps to maintain the medicinal properties of every natural ingredient in their teas.
Kazi Yetu also has a powerful social mission: to transform how tea has been traded in Tanzania. Tea in Tanzania is generally sold in bulk to companies in Europe and the US where it is procssed and sold back in Tanzania at a higher price. Kazi Yetu, is making it possible for Tanzania to produce and process its teas to keep the value-added within Tanzania, create jobs through the whole value chain of tea production, to grow the local tea market and at the same time help conserve the local environment.
Unique Selling Points:
• Single origin teas handpicked on Kilimajaro mountain in Tanzania. Spices and herbs are also all sourced from within Tanzania.
• 100% organic.
• Unique flavours.
• Employs only smallholder farmers and women to packge the teas.
Monks Gin is an award-winning South African craft, dry gin brand on a mission to create single-batch, premium gins and infusing them with African medicinal herbs. You can expect intensely flavour-forward botanicals, nine of them hand-picked locally and many endemic to the Cape Valley where they are based. Combined with crystal-clear mountain waters and the result is a rewarding one, featuring ripples of citrus, berries and Cape Buchu.
Driven by their love of their picturesque valley and their passion for African botanicals, coupled with their taste for artisanal gin, they began the Monks Gin journey by building South Africa’s first off-grid distillery late in 2017.
By hand-picking African flora from the mountains cradling the distillery, they masterfully infuse gin with the healing potential of African medicinal plants to manifest the magic that is Monks Gin.
Take, for example, one of their drinks, Mysterium which is infused with, among other things, the herb Sceletium, a natural mood enhancer sometimes referred to as the ‘pathway to the gods’, while Medella features blueberries, grown on the farm and well known as a vitamin-rich superfood high in antioxidants and an age old remedy even in Chinese medicine. If you are a lover of fine gin and also have an appreciation for the therapeutic benefits of medicinal flora, Monks Gin is the drink for you.
Monks Gin has also received many presigious awards for its gins including the World Gin Awards, double gold at the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirit Award, and gold at the South African Craft Gin Awards
Oye is a Kenyan footwear and accessories brand focused on producing exquisite African leather products for the world. Oye means good in the Samburu dialect of Northern Kenya and the brand hopes to exemplify this trait by producing environmentally conscious and high-quality leather products that pay homage to their African roots. Oye uses age old African techniques like hand-beading and sandal making, whilst adapting the emerging design trends in the current fashion market.
The brand also has a strong impact on its local community by mostly employing women and youth in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi. By employing talented but underserved artisans between the ages of 26 and 40 in the Kibera area, Oye is ensuring that youth, and women in particular, have jobs. All products are handcrafted by local, skilled crafts people who have years of experience and in some cases 10 years of experience to ensure all Oye’s products are the highest quality
In addition to this, Oye also uses sustainable production methods to reduce waste such as the use of upcycled denim fabric to reduce leather waste or only producing on an order-to-order basis. Ultimately, Oye is good for the African chique lover, good for the workers, and good for the environment.
Unique Selling Points:
• High-quality leather.
• Age-old African techniques used to produce the products, such as hand-beading.
• Traditional beading designs from Kenya.
• Positive contributors to local society by employing local artisans, women and youth.
Yenaé is an African high fashion jewelery brand that is changing the narrative about Africa. By using Africa’s exquisite craftsmanship, creativity, and local resources in its jewlery designs with a twist of modern appeal, Yenaé is a trailblazer in its field by highlighting a positive narrative about Africa through high fashion jewelry.
Each design shares the heritage of the featured country, ensuring local and traditional knowledge is not lost. For example, their Woriro (Wo-Ree-Ro) necklace takes you to Northern & Southern parts of Ethiopia. Traditionally worn by Wollo women from Northern Ethiopia. It signifies an item of beauty and is a customary gift given to a bride on her wedding
Despite not being operational for a long time, Yenae has quickly captured the attention of global names in the fashion world such as Vogue and Vanity Fair. They already sell in over 14 countries, as well as in over 30 states in the US.
The story of its founders is also inspiring. Yenaé is co-founded by two female Ethiopian- Americans and jewelry lovers – Seble and Felekech (Fei) – who started out as high school friends in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After a similar journey through life and a move around the globe to the US, they co-founded Yenaé, a high fashion jewelry brand at the intersection of fashion, culture and storytelling.
When one shops at Yenaé, not only are they shopping for a piece of jewelry, they are also helping reshape a consumption pattern that moves away from away from fast fashion to a more sustainable fashion industry. Furthermore, Yenaé strives to contribute to the local economy in Ethiopia and across the continent. For example, they source raw materials such as semi-precious stones and have them processed by local artisans to keep the value-added within the African continent and contribute to Africa’s economic growth.
All products are 14k gold plated/rhodium, plated over brass, hypoallergenic, nickel and lead free. They’re also hand polished and painted with precision. Many pieces are also made with semi-precious gemstones, such as quartz and chrysoprase from South Ethiopia
Unique Selling Points:
• Each design tells a piece of African history.
• Sources raw materials such as semi-precious stones locally.
• 14k gold plated.
• Featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and more