Founded in 2002, Whisky Live has been running on passion for the past 14 years and counting. Support from the Whisky industry is unparalleled in enabling the team to deliver the world’s biggest Festival of its kind and it’s the focus on Whisky education and quality eventing that keeps 20 000 South Africans flocking to the annual events. Whisky Live delivers 3 Whisky Live Celebrations in Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban to 10 000 visitors while a further 10 000 whisky lovers attend the Whisky Live Festival in Johannesburg.
The team is committed to supporting Whisky category growth not only by offering a platform to all Whisky brands at the Celebrations and the Festival, but also by launching Whizzky, an application that entices consumers to ‘Discover Fine Whiskies’ by scanning labels or searching by name or region and getting information delivered into their hands within seconds. Whisky Live communicates regularly with whisky lovers through newsletters. We offer Bespoke Whisky Tastings and Whisky-themed concepts to corporate clients and produce them – no event is too big or too small. We source special, once-off Single Malt and Cask Strength Bottlings for our Whisky Collective members.
We are united in our love of the golden spirit and our passion for the people and the brands that we have the privilege of working with daily.
Having attained his BComm Honours he started his advertising/ media career at the SABC in the late 1980s. Ken Varejes is well-known for having started Comutanet in the 1990s and building it into the largest commuter media company in South Africa. He then left to found Primedia Unlimited, the innovative arm of Primedia in the Out of Home arena, where he ran multiple businesses ensuring a build of the largest grouping of OOH businesses in Africa in his 11-year tenure as CEO. His wide network in the marketing and advertising world has helped in the strategic direction of the Whisky Live business.
Working at the then Lever Brothers in the 1980s, John moved to the UK to work for Diageo and eventually returned to South Africa where he founded The Really Great Brand Company, a successful liquor distributor that built brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Moet & Chandon and Hennessey in South Africa. John is well-respected in the liquor industry for his in-depth understanding of consumer segmentation. He is also a Keeper of the Quaich, a society for service to the Whisky industry.
Starting as Station Manager at Tuks FM while at University there, Annelie has project managed multiple events while at Hilltop Live, including the Hugh Masakela Jazz Festival in Soweto. She then moved to BMW as Events Manager, building her reputation of excellence in execution, particularly of premium events. She joined the Whisky Live team in 2014. Annelie holds a BComm Honours in Marketing.