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An SA dream come true? Brandy ‘n coke on tap!

Johannes le Roux, founder and MD of Brannas Draught, said 30 bars in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Jo’burg were already serving the company’s mix of brandy and cola that is poured from a bar counter tap just like a beer.

His company, which released its first batch of brandy and cola in February, has now set itself the ambitious target of having the mix on sale at 500 establishments nationwide by June next year.

The draught will soon go on sale at pubs around Ellis Park rugby stadium in Jo’burg, and the company is also in talks to have it sold in bars in the vicinity of Newlands.

The 26-year-old entrepreneur said the more people heard about Brannas Draught, the more they liked the idea. “It is as if a light clicks on, when you tell someone about brandy and cola on tap.”

But far from being novelty value only, Le Roux said his draught had many selling points; it’s faster and easier to serve than pouring an individual brandy and Coke, comes out of the tap at an ideal 3ºC, and is relatively cheap, with a recommended retail price was R20 for 340ml.

Le Roux, who studied property investment at UCT and later worked in advertising, said the idea to create a pre-mixed brandy and cola on tap came to him while he was working as a barman. He and colleagues noticed that sales of brandy were falling.

“Instead of thinking, ‘brandy is going down’, we thought we should try and reinvent it and make it more relevant to people like us, a new generation of consumers.”

He put together an investment proposal and approached friends for funding. “I said, ‘this idea is going to be huge, let’s do it and see where it goes’.”

After securing seeding investment, Le Roux and his colleagues still had to create the brandy and cola draught. They first approached a flavouring house to develop the cola. Instead of trying to recreate the exact taste of Coca-Cola, they decided to craft a cola with a citrus taste, as this “tasted best”.

“The next step was to source brandy,” said Le Roux. “We worked with the craft distillery in Grabouw to formulate the brandy specifically for Brannas Draught.”

They also made sure to trademark the name Brannas Draught. “(The name) comes from being a student in South Africa. That’s what we called brandy and Coke. Brannas is a word that young people can relate to.”

Students from the University of Stellenbosch were then given the opportunity to the test the first batch. Le Roux said they gave it the thumbs up, which led the team to set up a production facility in Stellenbosch.

“Once we had everything, we just started producing and selling.”

The company had focused on using social media and word of mouth, rather than traditional advertising to a create buzz around the product.

“We feel quite strongly that the marketing is as important as the product. We wanted to create content that spoke to young people again,” he said.

Caption: Arno van der Merwe, barman at The Shack in Cape Town, shows how to pour a Brannas Draught.