This South African Distillery Is Saving Water by Making Ultra High-Proof Gin

A distillery in Cape Town, South Africa, created the world’s strongest gin while conserving water in the midst of one of the most severe droughts in the country in decades. The Pienaar & Sons distillery is calling the 80-percent ABV liquor Drought Edition Gin.

Drought Edition Gin uses 200 liters (just over 50 gallons) less water than the company’s flagship 43-percent ABV gin by skipping the dilution process. Instead of bringing the spirit to a proof most customers are familiar with, Pienaar & Sons bottles the gin straight from the still.

“It started to seem quite silly when we were trying everything we could to save water in the distillery, that we were diluting gin only to see most of our customers pour double G&Ts,” master distiller Andrew Pienaar said, according to The Spirits Business. “It seemed so pointless.”

Part of the inspiration is that only a small portion of gin drinkers are drinking it neat, Pienaar said. Consumers using Drought Edition Gin would simply use a smaller amount of the concentrated spirit. The undiluted spirit saves water while simultaneously usurping Strane’s London Dry Gin, which was briefly the strongest gin at 76-percent ABV, and Twin River Distillery’s “Uncut,” a 77-percent ABV gin, for the title of world’s strongest.

Pienaar & Sons isn’t doing it for the title, though. South Africa has declared a national disaster in Cape Town, as well as other areas of the southern reaches of the country, because of a two-year drought. The city of 4 million is facing a water shortage, which could culminate into water rationing on what is being called “Day Zero.” Recently, according to Reuters, Cape Town pushed back it’s Day Zero from May 11 to June 4 because people have cut back on water consumption.

“I am well aware of the fact that our industry uses a lot of water, and maybe the water saved through this initiative will hardly make a dent, but that’s not the point,” Pienaar said. “The point is that no one, and no business, is exempt from trying to make a difference in this difficult time. No matter how big or how small.