The year to break

unnecessary rules

1 January 2020: The start of a new year.

A clean slate, but also the time people scrutinise their plates and waistlines and vow to eat better, exercise more and just be better people in general. Of course. Till 3 January when the cake is too delicious and the gym too far.

For us, resolutions have taken on many shapes and forms and some escalated to positive change and growth for us personally, and for the brand.
The concept of resolutions is something I buy into, but I prefer goals and plans, instead of meaningless rules – i.e. a proverbial stick to beat yourself with.
In my opinion, if you do not have plans and goals for a new year, you are not moving forward. So, I would say it is a good thing to make new plans as you approach a new year. In the spirit of progress and growth.

Here are our anti-New Year’s resolutions – a list of favourite rules to break; a rule I never broke again and resolutions that translated to growth for Whistler:

I believe in breaking rules that are unnecessary

My grandfather used to own a salt farm in the Free State. A place call Florisbad, with a breath-taking natural spring, was located on his farm (about 45 km northwest of Bloemfontein and 47 km southwest of the town Brandfort). If you ask me, this is the most beautiful spot in the entire province. A total gem but, for some reason, it was always closed. You could not even pay an entry fee to be allowed on the premises. So, naturally, as kids, the most fun we could have, was to jump over that wall to go swim there.

Lately, rules I like to break pertain to my daughters

My wife is trying to get them into a sleeping routine – to get them to sleep and wake-up at set times, but I personally like breaking those rules – more time with dad! That is what I say.

A general rule I like to break, has to do with rum

Generally South Africans like to drink rum and coke. In my opinion that rule should be broken. Even though I drink rum with coke/cola occasionally, the biggest joy I get from our rum, is when I drink it on its own, or with another, unique mixer or combination. From this you get the most interesting cocktails – the recipes available on our website, a case-in-point. My favourite remains the Free State Sandstorm (rum and ginger beer, essentially).

Successful resolutions?

In the beginning of 2015, I made the resolution to start a business. At that stage not my brother, nor I or Stef knew what that business will be and what it would look like, but that is definitely a resolution we committed to that actualised, as that is the year we started the foundation for what is Whistler African Style Rum today.

A personal resolution I never broke

Once, a friend and I attended a New Year’s Eve party on one of those beaches near Mossel Bay (a Harbour town on the Garden Route in the Western Cape). I am asthmatic so I do not smoke, but I have smoked once. It was 23:40 that New Year’s Eve. Twenty minutes after that cigarette, I vowed to never smoke again. I have not smoked since.

Last year, the resolution was to create a limited-edition rum

That was the start of the Boplaas Barrel Exchange (A limited edition product we launched in 2019). That has since spun into three new product ideas, so there have been a few resolutions that stuck.

So, as we tackle this new year, our wish for you is that you be a rebel with a cause.
May you break unnecessary rules; drink rum without coke; drink in moderation, don’t drink and drive and remember to stop at stop streets.


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