In a first for South Africa, specialist whisky retailer, WhiskyBrother has been awarded as the Global Multiple Outlet Retailer of the Year at the 2023 Icons of Whisky announced in London by Whisky Magazine.
The South African retailer competed against retailers from across the world including Scotland, America, Ireland, Japan and Europe, in two rounds of judging, for this prestigious accolade.
Known as the Oscars of Whisky, the annual Icons of Whisky awards international industry leaders, producers, promoters and retailers, judged by an esteemed panel of experts.
This is the second international award for WhiskyBrother – the first in 2021 when they were awarded as the Global Single Retail Outlet by the same competition, presented online due to COVID-19.
WhiskyBrother opened its doors in 2012 with one retail store in Hyde Park and today owns two additional in Bryanston and Bedfordview. They launched Johannesburg’s first dedicated whisky bar in Sandton which has over 1500 exclusive whiskies to taste, and have an online store that delivers nationwide, with the largest selection of premium whiskies for purchase, including frequent limited editions and exclusive releases.
Their exclusive whisky releases are one of the offerings that set WhiskyBrother apart in the South African landscape. Selected by the team directly from the casks, the whiskies are not available anywhere else in the world and offer local whisky lovers unique whiskies that would otherwise never have been bottled. Currently, WhiskyBrother release on average 20 single casks each year and are on track to reach its 100th release milestone in the next 12 months.
In addition, due to customer demand, they now have a full-time brand ambassador who hosts an average of four tastings each week nationwide, and organise The Only Whisky Show, a yearly whisky festival in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
An ecstatic Marc Pendlebury, founder and co-owner of WhiskyBrother, is humbled by the recognition.
“It is hard to believe it all started from a simple whisky blog and Twitter account in 2009 to further my whisky knowledge and share my experiences with fellow South African whisky-lovers. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect the brand and business to grow to this extent, to the point where it has established itself on the international stage and can bring home global awards!”
Marc believes that the success of WhiskyBrother is a result of never losing sight of why they do what they do.
“Whisky is what we love – the amazing products, the people that produce and enjoy them, and the wonderful places and stories from those distilleries. And as much as the business has grown over the last decade, this passion and love still serve as our ‘why’ and drive our team to offer world-class knowledge and service. This makes everything we do authentic, which has clearly resonated with local whisky fans, who have seen the value we offer and have chosen to support us in all our whisky endeavours.”
“Doing business in South Africa is not easy, and there have been some very tough operating years, but we are proud to say we have quite literally overcome floods, fires and global pandemics, and have not only managed to survive but grow. I am personally so thankful for my wonderful team and our amazing customers. None of this would be possible without them.”
WhiskyBrother is currently working on a soon-to-be-announced project that will see the business expand into its first international market.
Whisky is always better shared so visit WhiskyBrother online, at one of their retail stores or for a dram at their dedicated whisky bars.