Because braaing is thirsty work, Jan Braai has partnered with Sugarbird to create a “Sugarbird and Friends” craft spirits showcase, counting down to the celebration of National Braai Day.  This will be  SA’s first craft spirits showcase to contain multiple types of spirits.

Celebrating the South African culinary tradition of uniting around fires and holding braais on Heritage Day, this countdown calendar aims to build excitement throughout the month of September by offering heritage spirits from some of South Africa’s best craft brands for enjoyment every day of “braai month”.

From aged potstill heritage brandies, to fynbos and London Dry gins, a range of rums, Karoo agave, sipping vodka, a unique African whisky, and even a piquant chilli sauce and limited edition brandy from Jan Braai himself, you get to sample and enjoy a different brand and spirit every day, culminating in National Braai Day on 24 September.

“This year, National Braai Day falls on a Friday, which means we actually have three days over that weekend on which to light a fire and make dishes from fish to steak and chicken, definitely a potjie and maybe even some vegetables over the coals.” said Jan Braai. “Everything tastes better on the braai and now, thanks to our spirits countdown calendar, you might well discover a new favourite drink, ready to share with friends and family.”

The 24x40ml pack boasts Sugarbird’s products – its fynbos gins which won Sugarbird the 2021 Best Gin in SA award from US-based Luxury Lifestyle Awards, its 14-year-old potstill brandy, plus its long-awaited rum, launched in this pack.

Sample the fresh cucumber notes of Pienaar and Son Empire gin, multi-award winning Die Warm Rasta Rum from De Vry (as well as their farm-grown vodka), Hope’s Rhum Agricole made from squeezed sugarcane, exciting and irreverent new-comer ‘Ja Nee Fok’ brandy, and Boplaas single grain bourbon cask whisky.

Kindred Spirits launches their Howler Dark Spiced Rum and their “Lean on Me” Cape Dry Gin, to celebrate the better times ahead.

There are three “surprise” slots for gins and three for brandy where you will be delighted with names like Inverroche, Monks, Ginologist, Wilderer, Mirari, and heritage potstill brandies like Sydney Back’s 15-year-old, Oude Molen’s 14-year-old XO – and even a Groot Constantia single barrel VSOP usually only available at the cellar door.  Tasting notes and perfect serves are included on the inside of the numbered “door” (numbered for the date in September from 1 to 24), which opens to reveal your spirit mini.

Follow live on Instagram each day from September 1 to September 24, when @JanBraai himself will talk you through the nuances of the liquid of that “countdown” day and suggest pairings around the braai.


“We enjoy encouraging exploration of new and exciting tastes – life should be about discovery,” said Sugarbird’s MD Matt Bresler. “As we’ve shown with our gin and brandy “Sugarbird and Friends” showcases, South Africa is producing a myriad of interesting and well-made spirits. Sugarbird hopes that with collaborations like the Jan Braai spirits countdown, we are helping customers to celebrate these in an accessible way.”

The Sugarbird and Friends/Jan Braai Spirit calendar is available online at Takealot and Smous Online from R629.