Everyone and everything has a story. The Helden Distillery's story starts about 20 years ago when, at the age of 17, our Lead Distiller, Pieter van Helden was first exposed to the concept of distillation. After falling in love with what the distillation process can do, he gradually matured from producing hobby level fruit brandies (locally known as "mampoer") to focusing on the art of whisky. With a passion for Africa and innovation the concept of African Style Whisky was born in 2017, and the Helden Distillery was founded in 2018.
With the name Helden meaning "heroes", this distillery marries the best of the founders' heritage and their love of South Africa.
To artfully establish new styles of whisky whereby we can bring the joy of the whisky experience to a wider audience. This will include a focus on the innovative use of wood in the maturation of our single malt and single grain spirits. We will also focus on producing unique African Style whiskies, combining African malted grains and African wood maturation, resulting in a novel style of whisky. These products will form the basis of offering a unique bespoke whisky co-creation service.
Our distillery is located in the picturesque Vredefort Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage area, being the world's largest meteor impact site. The Distillery is on the grounds of our brewing partner, The Dog & Fig Brewery. They will assist us in the preparation of our malt washes. This location also gives us access to the unique flora of the Vredefort Dome landscape, some of which is used in our products, especially our Gin.
The Helden Distillery has a passionate team. The founding Van Helden family contributes two members - Pieter, the Lead distiller and Maureen, the Communications Officer. The team includes Sean Barradas, the owner of The Dog & Fig brewery and his brewing team, along with the founding investors. The high skill level of the team can be seen in the fact that between the founding team members they share at least 5 doctorates in both Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. This team is further supported by our dedicated employees, such as Reason Matewe.