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2019/02/14

On the banks of the old Umgeni ...

One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, a clever combination of alchemy and chemistry led to the rise of a rum distillery on the banks of the old Umgeni River. The rum has long gone, and today in its place stands NCP Alcohols, an internationally recognised and award-winning producer of high-quality neutral alcohol.

To mark the occasion in 2018 and to start the festivities, a small batch of gin was produced and bottled for staff and customers.

Over the years, NCP Alcohols built up a reputation for having a dedicated workforce producing world-class products. Managing Director Peter Starling considers it a privilege to have been at the helm for 18 years and is proud of the achievements of the close-knit team. Of course, many people contributed along the way, and strategy and focus also had to be revised to take learnings into account.

“Distillation activities started in 1868 right here on the banks of the Umgeni River. Over time the science of distillation has become more refined, and the capacity of the plant has increased, resulting in the NCP Alcohols of today,” he says.

Starling is clear about the company’s purpose: to produce the highest quality alcohol. And we, the current custodians, have a responsibility to improve year by year, he says.
The next major project, and the most ambitious in the company’s history, is to increase capacity and improve energy efficiency by converting from molasses to maize feedstock. Work is scheduled to commence in 2019 when final approvals are received. Naturally, the project will bring changes, challenges and disruptions during the construction period.
NCP Alcohols’ loyal customers are part of the successful formula. They include well-known blue-chip local and international companies in the beverage, toiletries, food and medical fields.
Social responsibility is part of our DNA. The company has been an active and leading player in preserving and beautifying the natural surroundings to meet accepted environmental standards. NCP Alcohols has also been involved with its neighbouring communities; every year employees empower and improve the community in which the company operates.
NCP Alcohols also gives students and trainees opportunities to gain valuable work experience on the plant.

And strengthened by our connection to the AlcoGroup, NCP Alcohols achieves international accolades year after year.

Alchemy is a process of transformation and creation – precisely what lies beneath NCP Alcohols’ rich history! From 1868 when the first rum distillery in South Africa was built on the site by Monsieur Phillippe, a Mauritian engineer working in the budding Natal sugar industry, to the modern, state-of-the-art distillation facility on site today, NCP Alcohols’ achievements are unmatched.

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