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Hanneli van der Merwe: The tonic entrepreneur

Updated: May 13, 2019



Hanneli van der Merwe @hannelivd is the founder of Barker & Quin @barkerandquin which manufactures the finest Indian tonic water from all natural ingredients and spring water. Hanneli, who has a PhD in Oenology and spent years in the wine industry, discovered the world of craft gin and designer tonics on a business trip to Portugal. On her return to South Africa, she noticed that whilst the craft gin industry was rapidly taking off, there were no real local, natural, high-quality tonic waters to complement the developing gin industry. After much experimentation in her kitchen, she developed a tonic water with her own secret formula, which she sampled to the manager of a local gin bar. He immediately placed a huge weekly standing order, forcing Hanneli to quickly find a way to manufacture her tonic water at scale - and so Barker & Quin was born, which today she runs in partnership with her long-standing friend, Chris Wium. The business has been in operation for just over two years and has just recently started exporting to the UK. Hanneli tells us that she comes from a small town, Ladismith, and is the daughter of teachers, who would never in a million years have thought she would one day be running her own company but that anything is possible with the right kind of commitment.

We are inspired by Hanneli’s foresight in serendipitously noticing a gap in the local tonic water market and how she has successfully managed to turn it into a flourishing business, off the back of her own flavour creations.

Featured artist: Stefania Origgi@stefania.origgi

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