Along the banks of the Berg River in Wellington, with sweeping views of the Hawekwa and Groenberg Mountains of the Western Cape, is the 130-year-old James Sedgwick Distillery. And for the past quarter of a century, the man in charge of the only commercial whisky distillery in Africa has been Andy Watts. "My career didn’t start with any intention of becoming a master distiller," says Watts, who grew up in Yorkshire, England. "I came to SA in 1982 as a professional cricketer and, after two seasons of back and forth, decided to make SA my home." As part of his cricketing contract, Watts worked part-time for sponsor Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery (SFW), which appointed him full-time spirits blending manager in 1984. In the late 1980s, Morrison Bowmore Distillers invited him on a technical exchange programme to Scotland, where he worked at the Glen Garioch and Auchentoshan distilleries. He also spent time at the legendary Bowmore distillery on the Isle of Islay. "I got to meet and work wit...

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