Procera is an exciting gin producer based in Nairobi. The first craft distillery in Kenya was founded in 2019 by Australian financier Guy Brennan.
Procera is named after juniperus procera, the only juniper species indigenous to the southern hemisphere. Also known as African juniper, the berries are grown at high altitude (1,638 metres above sea level) in the Kijabe Forest under the relentless African sun. Whereas most gins are typically produced from common juniper (juniper communis), Procera Blue Dot was the first to be made from its namesake.
The team at Procera harvest the berries at the end of the short, mid-year rains, 70km from the distillery. To prevent fermentation, the juniperus procera is air-dried for one week before being flash frozen.
Master Distiller Roger Jorgensen – who is widely considered an African craft distilling pioneer – uses a self-taught technique to produce Blue Dot, the first gin made by Procera. Designed to be served in a Martini and a favourite among London’s elite cocktail bars (such as the Connaught Bar and Dukes), Blue Dot contains nine other botanicals sourced from across Africa. These include pixie orange and Swahili lime from Kenya, Somalian acacia honey, cardamom and mace from Zanzibar, Madagascan pink peppercorn, Moroccan coriander and orris root, and Selim pepper from the Ivory Coast. The local botanicals are all distilled in Jorgensen’s 230-litre Müller pot still.
Procera produces two other gins. Red Dot – a limited vintage release of numbered, hand-engraved bottles – has a heavier botanical profile and is designed for Negroni, Red Snapper and Martinez cocktails. Oyster shell, locust bean, seaweed, tea, mace, myrrh, honey, orange, lemon and coriander join five African peppers (selim, black, elephant, alligator and ashanti) in the botanical make-up.
The top offering, Green (New) Dot, is a far more stripped back gin. The “one-tree expression” is made from juniper berries, juniper bark and juniper foliage.
Conservation is an important part of the Procera philosophy. The company partners with local organisations to safeguard the surrounding landscape. The team is also hoping their pioneering work will result in a designated “African Dry Gin” category. This would mean only gins distilled in Africa, using African juniper and botanicals could be named as such.