Get to know Danielle Schoeman, Master Distiller, Doña distillery... Who are you? Where are you from? And what do you do? My name is Danielle Schoeman - I am the master distiller at Doña distillery. We distill, bottle and label Mahala Botanical at our distillery in Cape Town, South Africa. What was your first job? My first ever job was at my at my dad’s liquor store - I think I was about 12 years old and I just helped pack the shelves and dust the “fancy” bottles. My first official job was at a bank in Canada. What is the most rewarding part of your job? Getting to create a product and seeing that bottle on the shelf - when I know what process we followed to pick the plants, distill the liquid, bottle and label each bottle, it honestly feels like a piece of me on the shelf. Who has been your biggest influence to get you to where you are today? My business partner Paul Scanlon who is the absolute backbone of Mahala and then on a more personal note, my family. Although when I told my dad that I was resigning my corporate job to make spirits, he thought it was a terrible idea, he has since been my biggest cheerleader and supporter. My mom has spent hours at the distillery helping us bottle if we are under pressure to make a deadline and my sister is always ready to have that needed pep talk when I am feeling overwhelmed or tired. She also has a great eye for design and loves to give her (sometimes unwanted) opinion. What is your favourite food and drink pairing? I absolutely love a glass of champagne or MCC as it is called in South Africa. The low sugar and high acidity means that it is quite easy to pair with most foods, but nothing better than a glass of MCC brut and a cheese board on a hot summers day in Cape town. What are the most important considerations when crafting your drink? Quality is extremely important. We truly believe in farm to glass, and I harvest some of the botanicals from our family farm, we ferment, distill, hand bottle and label each bottle at Doña distillery, We control the entire process to ensure absolute quality at every step of the process. What is your favourite bar? My favourite bar is a small boutique wine bar in Cape town’s city centre called Culture. I often meet friends there after work and they have free events where you can meet the winemaker or distiller and just talk to like minded people en taste great wines. What is your motto in life? Celebrate the small wins. Which celebrity would you most like to work with and why? Zoilani Mahola - she is a very talented South African singer and actress. She also supports mindful drinking and is an inspiration to a lot of young South African women. When are you happiest? I am honestly at my happiest on an early morning hike up Table mountain with my friends, stopping regularly for snacks, coffee and a couple of sunrise pictures of the beautiful mountain. If you were stranded on a dessert island and could have an infinite supply of three drinks; one is water, one is your own brand, what would your third be? Seeing as Mahala pairs really well with water, and I am on an island I can probably find a nice garnish growing somewhere for the perfect serve, my 3rd drink would probably be a coffee - I can’t start my day without it.
 Danielle Schoeman lowdown news and insights
 

 Get to know Danielle Schoeman, Master Distiller, Doña distillery...

  1. Who are you? Where are you from? And what do you do?

My name is Danielle Schoeman - I am the master distiller at Doña distillery. We distill, bottle and label Mahala Botanical at our distillery in Cape Town, South Africa.

  1. What was your first job?

My first ever job was at my at my dad’s liquor store - I think I was about 12 years old and I just helped pack the shelves and dust the “fancy” bottles. My first official job was at a bank in Canada.

  1. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Getting to create a product and seeing that bottle on the shelf - when I know what process we followed to pick the plants, distill the liquid, bottle and label each bottle, it honestly feels like a piece of me on the shelf.

  1. Who has been your biggest influence to get you to where you are today?

My business partner Paul Scanlon who is the absolute backbone of Mahala and then on a more personal note, my family. Although when I told my dad that I was resigning my corporate job to make spirits, he thought it was a terrible idea, he has since been my biggest cheerleader and supporter. My mom has spent hours at the distillery helping us bottle if we are under pressure to make a deadline and my sister is always ready to have that needed pep talk when I am feeling overwhelmed or tired. She also has a great eye for design and loves to give her (sometimes unwanted) opinion.

  1. What is your favourite food and drink pairing?

I absolutely love a glass of champagne or MCC as it is called in South Africa. The low sugar and high acidity means that it is quite easy to pair with most foods, but nothing better than a glass of MCC brut and a cheese board on a hot summers day in Cape town.

  1. What are the most important considerations when crafting your drink?

Quality is extremely important. We truly believe in farm to glass, and I harvest some of the botanicals from our family farm, we ferment, distill, hand bottle and label each bottle at Doña distillery, We control the entire process to ensure absolute quality at every step of the process.

  1. What is your favourite bar?

My favourite bar is a small boutique wine bar in Cape town’s city centre called Culture. I often meet friends there after work and they have free events where you can meet the winemaker or distiller and just talk to like minded people en taste great wines.

  1. What is your motto in life?

Celebrate the small wins.

  1. Which celebrity would you most like to work with and why?

Zoilani Mahola - she is a very talented South African singer and actress. She also supports mindful drinking and is an inspiration to a lot of young South African women.

  1. When are you happiest?

I am honestly at my happiest on an early morning hike up Table mountain with my friends, stopping regularly for snacks, coffee and a couple of sunrise pictures of the beautiful mountain.

  1. If you were stranded on a dessert island and could have an infinite supply of three drinks; one is water, one is your own brand, what would your third be?

Seeing as Mahala pairs really well with water, and I am on an island I can probably find a nice garnish growing somewhere for the perfect serve, my 3rd drink would probably be a coffee - I can’t start my day without it.