Pongracz flows at the Skybar, upstairs from The Piano Bar
10 Questions For: Lasse Presting of Cape Cola
If you could taste Cape Town, then the Mother City would probably taste like the new cool drink Cape Cola
Lasse has created a proudly Cape Town, conscious product, using stevia instead of sugar, mindfulness instead of mass production, and social responsibility instead of greed.
1. Who is behind Cape Cola?
Cape Cola is a trendy new drink from Cape Town. Behind it currently are Palle, Julian, Janosch, Michael and me (Lasse). I started about two to three years ago with a fixed idea and the people I’ve just mentioned have supported me for about a year now.
I grew up in Göttingen, Germany, and about five years ago I landed in Cape Town. I immediately felt very comfortable here and met Michelle, a beautiful South African. For these reasons, I stayed in Cape Town. Michelle and I are now happily married with two wonderful children (two and four years old) and Cape Town is our home.
Palle, Julian, Janosch and Michael study or work in Germany. Although they support me from a distance, they have all visited Cape Town and share the same vision of making Cape Cola a reality. With their support, Cape Cola is taking steps of being able to stand on its own feet.
2. Have drinks always been your passion?
As an experienced hotel specialist, I have always had a great interest and passion for all kinds of drinks. I observe the markets and trends very carefully, especially for refreshment drinks. In Germany, there has been a very marked trend towards craft beverages, as well as cola. Here in Cape Town and South Africa I have been able to quickly observe that this is not the case so far. In my new home country, I am particularly fascinated by the possibility of creating a new and distinctive cola taste, which is also a sustainable and social product.
3. What makes Cape Cola so special?
It is of special concern for us to work sustainably and socially. We ensure this through three core characteristics:
Natural Flavour: we use local and natural raw materials, which helps create the individual taste of the cape and gives our Cape Cola a distinctive natural and refreshing taste. We use Stevia and birch xylitol in order to keep the sugar content as low as possible.
Regional Rootedness: we want to ensure the bond to Cape Town. We work exclusively with local producers and partners and make sure that they share our values. We also want to strengthen the working conditions and labour market in Cape Town.
Social Responsibility: we also see our responsibility to support social projects and to promote equal opportunities.
To this end we are planning, among other things, to set up an association that will fund social projects in South Africa through a share of the revenues of each sold bottle of Cape Cola.
4. Do you have a plan to become internationally known with Cape Cola?
We are still at the beginning of our trip. The first bottles are currently being produced and will be distributed free of charge at some shows in cooperation with Galileo Open Air Cinema. We want to get feedback from people to find out how Cape Cola tastes and get a vision of what we should optimize for the near future. It is important to us that people feel (and taste) Cape Town, to understand our vision - and share it. Then we are closer to our goals. Therefore, the point is not whether we would like to achieve an international reputation but rather we want to strengthen the market here in South Africa, grow organically and face the challenges here.
5. Do South Africans have a different taste than Germans?
You can see this by comparing South African and German menus. South Africa for example, has many fresh fruits, which have only been available in Germany for a few years. The same is true for the cola nut or the honeybush, both of which we use, which naturally provide an authentic and refreshing taste for Cape Cola. If you look at fashion and trends on the streets, there are some similarities between the two countries; striving for individuality and the appreciation for handmade products is highly valued in both countries.
6. What do you think Germans could learn from the South Africans?
I often experience a great serenity in South Africa, which can make life here very pleasant and quiet. This special attitude towards life is somehow missing in Germany.
Basically, I believe that cultures can always learn something from each other. And perhaps a handmade cola with a regional touch, which tastes very good, is a great shared lesson.
7. What makes Cape Town and South Africa so unique to you?
Cape Town lives by its diversity: People, cultures, sights, food and the gastronomy, as well as the bar scene.
8. What is your absolute favourite hot spot in Cape Town?
Difficult to say, there are so many highlights. But there are many classics: Blouberg Beach, Clifton Beach, Bo-Kaap, Kirstenbosch, the Winelands, Cape Point and Simon's Town. I've told my brother that a paraglide jump off Lion's Head must be exceptional. I hope to be able to do this as soon as possible.
9. What do you miss most from home?
My friends, family and the bad weather. No, jokes! There are days when you want to be in the place where you grew up.
10. Do you have a top tip for our readers?
Definitely explore the West Coast and the Swartland, there are many undiscovered vineyards in those areas. And, definitely go to the next Galileo shows and enjoy a Cape Cola. If you would like to purchases Cape Cola you can at Charles Café, Hugo Rastery, The Mill & Press, Stelkor pharmacies, and The Grillfather.
Photographs: Mauro Matalone
CapeTownMagazine.com’s 10 Questions project gets to know some of the Mother City’s most creative and inspiring people. From television personalities and musicians to politicians and entrepreneurs, we find out more about well-known and up-and-coming Capetonians. You can follow #CapeTownMag10Q on Twitter and Facebook to track recent interviews or read more here about our other awesome 10 Questions candidates.
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