While life and sport may have taken a back seat during the COVID-19 Lockdown, there was still huge opportunities for local heroes to win awards in their respective fields.

Queenstown-based soft drink producer, Twizza, has just done so scooping Double Gold, Gold and Silver at the Aurora International Taste Challenge 2020 and placing another feather in their already proudly South African cap. The company’s premium mixer brand, Clark & Sons brought home a Double Gold for their Pink Tonic. While in the soft drink category, the Twizza family went up against 2 500 soft drinks, waters and energy drinks and came home with a Gold for the Energy Skhokho and the Energy Gemmer flavours, as well as a Silver for the Energy Espresso flavour

The Twizza Group Marketing Manager, Lance Coertzen said “Participating in the competition meant we had to meet some stringent criteria, and “the judges based their assessments on elements such as appearance, smell, taste, mouthfeel and aftertaste.”

Twizza is uniquely African

Twizza, much like the people who drink it, is uniquely African. As Africans, our moments and our experiences are particular to us as a people, and here at Twizza we encourage exploration and experience. The flavours put forward by Twizza are wholly representative of the African-centricity that Twizza embodies. Skhokho is named after the crust that forms at the bottom of the mielie meal pot, giving the impression that the drink gives you the ability to take what ever comes. The Gemmer flavour is that of a flame born in nostalgia, it takes your back, but gives you the energy needed to drive the future, and the espresso is a gentle vanilla that kicks you into over drive.

As a mixer, the Clark & Sons Pink Tonic is a refreshing beverage with subtle cucumber and berry flavours that converge to enhance the alcohol. According to Aurora, “the results of this year’s challenge showed that there is variety and quality variance hiding in plain sight, and that a professional evaluation of products some would classify as generic, can open a whole new world to people.”

“There are high-quality products nobody would expect, in categories such as water, energy drinks and juice. It is no longer necessary to just grab the cheapest or nearest container in a grocery store. The world is changing and producers who excel should be lauded, no matter how big or small they are.

” What puts Twizza on top is its own stringent testing and tasting measures that they put their products through before taking them to market. Each of their many flavours are individually tasted, rigorously tested and tweaked until perfection. “Only once each product has been developed to meet our standards, and the standards that our customers expect from us, do we release it in to the market. So, we were quite confident going in – however that doesn’t mean we weren’t nervous,” adds Coertzen.

“We have an eye for the latest technologies and efficiencies, and a demand for the best quality. We are also committed to sustainability, which is why we harness the heat naturally generated from the machines to dissolve sugar for the beverages. Our technology is also 25 per cent more efficient on power, an important factor to have in a country that experiences persistent power cuts.”

“All of this, combined with our dedication to local sustainability means that we are always ready to take on a new challenge, even when going head to head with the bigger brands in the market,” said Coertzen, “we will proudly display these awards on our products and look forward to a change where more South Africans #BuyLocal!”

he adjudicators, James Copeland, Jean Vincent Ridon and Georgio were brought together by wine industry guru, Celia Gilloway, as the convenor of the event and together they had to taste over 2 500 glasses of the best beverages on display, and were enthused to taste the moment with Twizza!