South African alcohol-free spirits brand announces UK launch

Mahala Botanical, an alcohol-free spirit created in South Africa, has announced its UK launch, aiming to bring a new and exciting premium drinks option to the No/Low sector for those who are seeking a healthy, alcohol-free option that doesn’t compromise on taste or quality.

Awarded the prestigious Trophy for Best No/Low Alcohol Spirits at the 2020 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards, Mahala – meaning “free” in Zulu – is also free from sugar, gluten, colourants and artificial flavourings.

Created and co-founded by master distiller Danielle Schoeman using a unique triple-distillation process in her custom-built vacuum stills, Mahala is made using nine hand-sourced botanicals, many of which are indigenous to South Africa and some of which are foraged from Danielle’s own farmland.

Danielle said: “Mahala was born out of a desire to create a premium, healthy and distinctive alcohol-free spirit in a booming category that offers little choice for consumers looking for quality sugar-free and alcohol-free alternatives.”

South African alcohol-free spirits brand announces UK launch

Image: Mahala Botanical

Teaming up with former managing director of Pernod Ricard South Africa, Paul Scanlon, the pair began to develop Mahala during the global pandemic and with the vision of creating an outstanding spirit to be enjoyed mindfully.

Unique within the category, the entire production process for Mahala, from the creation of the base spirit, to the packaging and labelling, takes place at Danielle’s Doña Distillery in Cape Town, South Africa. The Distillery employs previously disadvantaged employees, supports local workers (such as The Sparrow Society who work with Mahala to create product display bags) and contributes a percentage of its sales in South Africa to The Botanical Society of South Africa, which champions biodiversity conservation in South Africa to protect the extraordinary plant diversity and ecosystems.

Paul commented: “The No/Low sector has enjoyed exponential growth, fuelled by an increase in more moderate, healthy drinking habits amongst consumers. Not only does Mahala provide an exceptional quality and depth of taste, but we also own the complete ‘farm to glass’ process, affording us an incredible opportunity to ensure incomparable quality at every step of the process.”

Intended to be mixed with a premium tonic, soda water or ginger beer/ale, on opening a bottle of Mahala, the fragrant clove and cardamom become apparent, with subtle floral notes of the Buchu coming through from the indigenous fynbos of South Africa. On the palate, Mahala first tastes of delicate spices such as clove and pepper, with hints of Buchu, followed by subtle citrus notes from the orange and pelargonium citronella, and a herbaceous and citrus finish.

Mahala is currently available to purchase online at (£27) and through a carefully-selected range of retailers, including Master of Malt and SPIRIT.ED (formerly 31DOVER), with the brand also being introduced to consumers via a number of UK-wide tasting events and trade shows. 

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