At what experts call the “Oscars of Whisky”, the South African whiskey retailer WhiskyBrother was awarded Retailer of the Year at Whisky Magazine s annual Icons of Whiskey Awards in London.
A panel of experts annually judges the event during which international industry leaders, producers, promoters and retailers compete against each other.
An overwhelmed Marc Pendlebury, founder and co-owner of WhiskyBrother, described the award as a great honour.
“It’s hard to imagine that everything started in 2009 with a simple whiskey blog and Twitter account. I wanted to broaden my knowledge of whiskey and share my experiences with other South African whiskey lovers.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the brand and company to grow to the point where it takes a place on the international stage and garners international awards,” says Pendlebury.
WhiskyBrother competed against retailers from around the world, including Scotland, the USA, Ireland, Japan and Europe, for the prestigious award.
The business opened its doors in 2012 with one store in Hyde Park and has since added stores in Bryanston and Bedfordview to the portfolio.
WhiskyBrother is Johannesburg’s first dedicated whiskey bar with over 1500 exclusive whiskeys to sample.
According to experts, one of the offerings that sets WhiskeyBrother apart from other retailers is their exclusive whiskey releases.
The whiskies, which the team selects from casks, are not available anywhere else in the world and offer local whiskey lovers unique whiskeys that would otherwise never be bottled.
Currently, WhiskyBrothers releases an average of 20 single casks each year and is on track to reach its 100th release milestone in the next 12 months.
Thanks to the great demand, they now have a full-time brand ambassador who hosts an average of four tasting events per week nationwide. WhiskyBrother are also the organizers of The Only Whiskey Show, an annual whiskey festival that is presented in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Pendlebury believes WhiskyBrother’s success lies in never losing sight of their goals or forgetting why they do what they do.
“Whiskey is what we love – the wonderful products, the people who produce and enjoy them, and the wonderful places and stories of those distilleries,” says Pendlebury
“Although the business has grown over the past decade, the drive and love is still the ‘why’ and motivates our team to deliver world-class expertise and service.”
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