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Procera, Kenya’s first craft distillery, was founded in 2018 by financier-turned-distiller, Guy Brennan. The name ‘Procera’ comes from the African juniper – Juniperus procera – that makes up the heart of their spirits. Growing only above 1500m sea level and indigenous to the Kenyan highlands, Juniperus procera differs from the Juniperus communis berries that have been the mainstay of gin production so far. They grow on trees rather than shrubs, with richer essential oils from being warmed under African skies, and a bright, nutty flavour. Also differing from their temperate counterparts, African juniper berries are indicated to be ripe when the families of baboons start feasting on them. Brennan is the first to commercialise procera berries, and in partnership with the Kijabe Forest Trust, hope that this will encourage the planting and reduce felling of procera trees, preserving the biodiversity of the forests. Other than a touch of Macedonian juniper, Procera is made using entirely African ingredients, which include acacia honey from Somalia and mace from Zanzibar. Even the sugarcane which makes up its neutral spirit is sourced from Kenya. Distillation is carried out in a Müller 230L Aromat pot still, with each step focusing on preserving the freshness of the botanicals, which are put into a pillowcase and steeped overnight – like a big, boozy tea bag – to extract flavours that could otherwise be lost if added only at the point of distillation. The quality of Procera is carried through in every part of their process, with a focus on Kenyan craft. The instantly recognisable bottles, distinguished by their coloured dots, are hand-blown at Kitingela Hot Glass, with palm wood stoppers and leatherwork. All of this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the gin drinkers of the world, with Procera quickly becoming a name synonymous with premium gin, gracing the shelves of high-end bars and even Alessandro Pallazi of Duke’s Bar in London declaring it his “desert island gin”.

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