Mahala Botanical: A Healthy, Distinctive Alcohol-free Spirit

Founded in 2021, Mahala Botanical was inspired by Danielle Schoeman and Paul Scanlon’s desire to create a premium, healthy, and distinctive alcohol-free spirit.

Mahala was born out of a desire to create a premium, healthy and distinctive alcohol-free spirit in a booming category that offers little choice for consumers looking for quality sugar-free and alcohol-free alternatives,” said Danielle.

“Mahala,” meaning “free” in Zulu, is a premium craft spirit, that is free from alcohol, sugar, colourants, and artificial flavours. The product is triple-distilled in custom-made vacuum stills, with hand-sourced botanicals from the brand’s native South Africa (the business supports local workers, and CSR initiatives in the region).

Danielle Schoeman is a respected Master Distiller, and Paul Scanlon is a former Pernod Ricard Director.

Born and bred in Cape Town, South Africa, Danielle graduated from Stellenbosch University with a business degree, before entering the corporate world. However, she became increasingly fascinated with the process of making tequila.

Her passion grew, and eventually, she left office life for a farm in the Karoo, where she started to make her own tequila. In 2019, she established the Doña Distillery, with the dream of disrupting the global industry with custom-built vacuum stills (which were the only ones in Africa at the time).

Foraging botanicals from her family farm in the Cape, she experimented with various blends, until eventually, she discovered the perfect recipe. Using nine different botanicals (some of which are uniquely indigenous to the Western Cape), she created Mahala Botanical, – a flavoursome, premium, non-alcoholic spirit.

Intended to be mixed with a premium tonic, soda water or ginger beer/ale, upon opening a bottle of Mahala, the fragrant clove and cardamom becomes apparent, with subtle floral notes of the Buchu coming through from the indigenous fynbos of South Africa. 

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On the palate, Mahala first tastes of delicate spices, such as clove and pepper, with hints of Buchu, followed by subtle citrus notes from the orange and pelargonium citronella, and a herbaceous and citrus finish. 

By 2020, Doña had won multiple awards, including the trophy for the Best Low/No-alcohol Drink, the Best Ready-to-Drink, and a gold medal for their Vodka, at the prestigious Michelangelo International Spirit awards.

Paul joined the alcohol industry in 1996 as a Commercial Manager, and throughout his years, he ended up combining his passion for impeccable quality, the No/Low beverage category, and South Africa, by partnering with Danielle, to launch the Mahala brand in 2021.

Now, Mahala Botanical has announced its UK launch, bringing a new and exciting premium drinks option to the No-and-Low sector, for those who are seeking a healthy, alcohol-free option – that doesn’t compromise on taste.

The No-and-Low sector has enjoyed exponential growth, fuelled by an increase in more moderate, healthy drinking habits amongst consumers. Not only does Mahala provide an exceptional quality and depth of taste, but we also own the complete ‘farm to glass’ process, affording us an incredible opportunity to ensure incomparable quality at every step of the process,” said Paul.

A number of key retail partners are due to be announced soon, with the brand also being introduced to consumers, via a number of UK-wide tasting events and trade shows.

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