Prior to creating Hope you lived and worked in London, UK. What made you relocate to South Africa, and what do you like the most about life on the African continent?
So we are originally from South Africa and met at university here. We left together, driving up through Africa, and then ended up in London where we converted our legal qualifications and got fully immersed in London corporate life. It was only while taking a sabbatical year that we thought about moving back – and it’s a decision we certainly don’t have any regrets about. Although neither of us are from Cape Town originally (I’m from the Eastern Cape and Leigh is from Johannesburg), Cape Town was the place we had our hearts set on as it really is the foodie capital of South Africa and is of course surrounded by winelands, so it made sense on so many levels to base ourselves here.
How did you come up with the idea of making Hope gin?
We took a sabbatical from our jobs in London and spent 10 months travelling in a van around Europe. A month or so into our trip we had decided we didn’t want to go back to corporate life, and that it was time for something new. We spent a few months trying to figure out what we should do and made the decision to move back to Cape Town before we settled on the gin idea. It was after a few months in Spain, surrounded by so many drinking gin and tonics, that the idea for the gin was born.
What's the inspiration and meaning behind the name Hope and why was it shortened from the original name, Hope on Hopkins?
The initial inspiration was a bit of a laugh – our attitude was that we didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously, but were determined to jump into the new venture with both feet and not hold back, so we really just “hope like hell” that it worked. But then it made so much sense on other levels too: we’re right next to the Cape of Good Hope, and South Africa really needs to be filled with hope! The Distillery is on Hopkins Street in Salt River, and so initially we called it Hope on Hopkins, which was descriptive of where we were based – but realised that it can be a bit of a mouthful and so we decided to simplify and just be known as Hope.