Sxollie Hustles to the Top

Proudly South African cider brand SXOLLIE has made its first mark on the global stage, bagging three coveted awards at the prestigious International Cider Challenge held in London in April.

Competing against hundreds of ciders from a dozen countries, SXOLLIE strutted off with a Gold medal – and the title of Supreme Champion – in the sought-after Design and Packaging category.

“We work hard to get our branding right, but we never dreamed we’d beat out cider brands from across the world,” says Laura Clacey, who co-founded SXOLLIE together with husband Karol Ostaszewski in 2014.

But South African cider lovers certainly aren’t surprised.

Before the crown cap has been popped, street-smart SXOLLIE grabs your attention. There’s no run-of-the-mill labeling here; each and every SXOLLIE bottle is screen-printed with its eye-catching ‘X’ mosaic, lending texture, tactility and an urban aesthetic inspired by the ethnic pottery designs synonymous with southern Africa.

“We wanted to capture something that is unique to the continent, and present it in a modern African fashion,” says Clacey, adding that key to SXOLLIE’s success is the sheer simplicity of the colourful design. “A lot of cider brands try to cram too much onto the label. We decided to let the brand and the product speak for itself; to let the bottle be eye-catching on its own.”

However, it wasn’t only SXOLLIE’s striking packaging that caught the judges’ attention. SXOLLIE sets itself apart from other South African cider producers through its dedication to personality-packed single-varietal ciders. That single-minded focus paid off at the International Cider Challenge with a coveted Bronze medal for the SXOLLIE Golden Delicious cider.

“Entering the Golden Delicious this year was really just a test run to see where we landed, so we’re absolutely thrilled about bringing home a medal,” says Ostaszewski “Our cider-making techniques are improving all the time, so we’re confident of a silver or gold medal next year.”

SXOLLIE certainly found itself in fine company at this year’s International Cider Challenge, with the panel of judges’ praising the high standard of entries across the board.

While SXOLLIE swaggers onto the global cider stage, its inherent connection to the pulsing heart of Africa has been a key ingredient in the stratospheric growth of the brand over the past 18 months, says Clacey: “From both a branding and flavour profile we’re trying to fly the flag for South African cider. We don’t believe you always have to look abroad for inspiration. We wanted to show that South African brands can make an impact, and that local products that are proudly African can achieve great things on the international stage.”

SXOLLIE certainly put some of the traditional cider-making nations in their place with their supreme champion win, and is fast blazing a streetwise cider trail across the globe. The brand is currently available in premium restaurants, retailers and bars across South Africa and the United Kingdom, and will this year begin exports to both the United States and Singapore. This year also sees SXOLLIE crank the cider revolution up a notch with the release of its maiden Granny Smith single-varietal cider.

This revolution may not be televised, but you’ll definitely want to have a SXOLLIE in your hand as it unfolds into 2016.

For more information visit www.sxollicider.com, follow @sxollie on Twitter and follow @sxolliecider on Instagram