As combinations go, it’s not an obvious one. But there is nothing obvious about Elephant Gin.
Following the footsteps of 19th century explorers and their botanical discoveries, the founders of Elephant Gin spent time travelling across Africa and experimenting with ingredients to combine the exotic flavours of the continent. With a mutual passion for gin, Robin & Tessa Gerlach crafted a world-class London Dry and Sloe Gin products that truly capture the spirit of Africa. But creating an outstanding gin was only the beginning of their story…
The gin journey originated with the great initiative of giving back to the land and in particular the African elephant as it is facing the threat of extinction. In fact, every year more than 35,000 African elephants die due to poaching – that’s one elephant every 15 minutes!
Elephant Gin donates 15% of its profits of its bottles to elephant conservation charities including Big Life Foundation and Space For Elephants. At Big Life Foundation in Kenya, they currently support 35 anti-poaching rangers, covering anything from logistical support to rangers salaries, rations or equipment. The rangers’ work is crucial for the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem as they work tirelessly to protect elephants, rhinos, lions and other animals from poaching and retaliatory killing due to human-wildlife conflict. In fact, these brave individuals are out in the wild every day and night, living in the remote outposts, undertaking daily foot patrols, tracking and arrests poachers and providing security.
Together with Space for Elephants Foundation, Elephant Gin has funded an education centre in South Africa, called The Wildlife Spirit. The main purpose is to educate local youth and adults in the area on their country’s wildlife and environment, as well as give local and international visitors an opportunity to learn about elephants including their intelligence, importance in the ecosystem and need to protect them for future generations.
Located in the Lobombo mountains, the Wildlife Spirit offers an a breath-taking view on lake Jozini and activities on elephants, ingenious plants, local arts & craft, elephant-dung-paper making and more. In this area unemployment is rife and attractive for poachers to getting information and assistance from local communities. The strategy of The Wildlife Spirit is to get communities involved by creating employment opportunities and make them aware of the value of wildlife by educating and showing them of how to earn a living by working in conservation.
And last, but definitely not least, 15% of the miniature bottle profits support another foundation – The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). The 50 ml mini gins feature a baby elephant with a milk bottle on the label and support DSWT’s mission to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned elephants. Elephant Gin funds contribute to round-the-clock specialist care of the orphan elephants with proper nutrition, veterinary care, a human family of full-time keepers and well-constructed and maintained stockades for safety and shelter at night.
Up to date, Elephant Gin has contributed over EUR 450,000 to its partner foundations through the sales of its bottles as well as fundraising events. By working closely with the foundations, Elephant Gin ensures that the donations arrive on the ground and are contributed to select projects that are mutually agreed upon. In order to keep up to date on the progress and developments, the Elephant Gin team regularly visits the foundations.
From its use of rare African botanicals to its staunch charitable focus, this is a maverick gin brand that stands well apart from its competitors. As important as the drink itself are the company’s efforts to help save the African elephant from extinction. And the gin itself is just as forward-thinking: made in Germany with African botanicals that create an exceptional flavour that has won the company many awards, including Double-Gold at the Worlds Spirits Award 2018. Each bottle is custom-made, while each batch named after an elephant that the foundations help to protect or a famous tusker.
Robin Gerlach, asked what would he like the legacy of Elephant Gin to be, says:
“Gin is not just about the gin itself. It carries a message that we like to spread as far across the world as possible. Our generation has the responsibility to keep this planet intact and make sure that our children and children’s children are able to experience the same landscapes and wildlife we know today. We have dedicated our efforts to the African elephant who has made a particular impact on us. If we don’t actively fight elephant poaching today, this magnificent animal that has lived for millions of years will be extinct in less than 12 years. A shocking realisation!
That said, there are a number of other species that are nearing extinction due to mankind. So take whatever you are passionate about, may it be elephants, rhinos, the local water or children in need, and do your part to spreading awareness and helping to save this planet. It is the only chance we have got!”