If you’re seeking unique attractions in Kigali, Rwanda, that blend craftsmanship, scenic beauty, and a commitment to local communities, look no further than the 1000 Hills Distillery. Founded in 2014 by two passionate individuals with a deep appreciation for exquisite whisky, breathtaking vistas, and a strong desire to collaborate with local communities, this distillery stands as a testament to the art of craft spirits.
The story behind this establishment is as intriguing as the spirits it produces. Originally, the founders contemplated the idea of starting a vineyard, but serendipity led them down a different path—one that would ultimately result in the creation of exceptional craft spirits.
One might wonder why Rwanda was chosen as the home for this endeavor. The answer lies not only in the nation’s remarkable resilience but also in the opportunity to source high-quality ingredients locally, thereby supporting micro and small businesses within the community.
Since its inception, the 1000 Hills Distillery has crafted six distinct “Made in Rwanda” spirits, each with its own character and flavor profile. These offerings include a Coffee Liqueur, Vodka, Light Spiced Rum, London Dry Gin, Macadamia Nut Liqueur, and Single Malt Whisky. Additionally, the distillery is known for its range of infused coffees, using its liquors to create delightful blends.
What sets this distillery apart is its unwavering commitment to social impact. Throughout the triple distillation process, various by-products are generated. The distillery has forged partnerships with leading international development agencies in Rwanda, offering technical training to smallholder farmers. These farmers learn how to maximize the use of distillers’ residues to boost crop and livestock production. Moreover, the distillery collaborates closely with local government entities to transform Methanol by-products into a cost-effective mosquito repellent. The aim is simple: to extend a helping hand to as many people as possible using available resources.
The 1000 Hills Distillery was established by an American expatriate in 2014 and proudly stands as the sole distillery in Rwanda. For those who associate Kigali with beer and wonder about things to do in the city related to spirits, this distillery offers a compelling answer. While the tradition of alcohol distillation was not deeply rooted in the country, the founder dedicated considerable effort to engage with the government. These discussions not only paved the way for the distillery but also contributed to shaping the industry’s regulations, drawing from his experiences elsewhere.
Visitors to the distillery have the option of two captivating tours: one focused on the distillery itself or a comprehensive tour that includes a delightful tapas experience at the on-site restaurant. During the distillery tour, guests engage in a casual, informative discussion about the intricate processes behind crafting various spirits. This enlightening experience culminates in a brief tasting session, allowing you to savor the flavors and aromas of the spirits produced here.
Adding to the allure of this distillery is its idyllic location, nestled atop one of Kigali’s picturesque hills. The panoramic views of the valleys below make it a perfect spot for a sunset drink or an enchanting dinner, even if you choose not to partake in the tour.
For travelers returning from the Volcanoes National Park after an awe-inspiring gorilla trekking adventure, a visit to the 1000 Hills Distillery provides an excellent way to spend a few free hours before late-night flights. You’ll have the opportunity to learn the secrets behind the creation of Whiskey, Vodka, Gin, and a coffee liquor while taking in the beauty of Rwanda’s landscapes. And who knows, you might leave with a bottle or two of these exceptional spirits as a cherished souvenir of your journey.