The winners were revealed on Monday during an awards luncheon hosted at Western Cape Premier Alan Winde's official Leeuwenhof residence in Cape Town
Selected from 40 entries as the overall winners were Tinashe Nyamudoka and Kumusha Brandy, in the category of new market development; Coetzer Hanekom and De Mas Kalahari Fynetjie Rosegold brandy, in the category of new intrinsic; and, Michelle Coates for the Blend-Your-Own-Brandy kit, in the category for consumer insights.
Each winner takes home R30,000 and receives mentorship from industry stalwarts in launching their own brandy brand.
Speaking at the event, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Agriculture Ivan Meyer said: "It is an honour to host some of our globally recognised and award-winning brandy industry stakeholders for the announcement of the winners of the South African Innovation Challenge."
"To the winners, congratulations on having won and being recognised for your efforts. It is my hope that it gives you the necessary platform to develop your skillset and play your part in further placing South African brandy on the world map. You should be very proud of what you have achieved, and I look forward to seeing what you will further accomplish."
He added that the brandy industry, as well as broader agriculture, are essential for job creation in the province, which is why it is so important to acknowledge innovation and excellence and promote it on a global scale.
South African Brandy Foundation director Christelle Reade-Jahn also congratulated the trio on their outstanding achievement. "The competition was very well supported and the submissions we received were superb, which shows that there's no shortage of passion and talent when it comes to South African brandy."
"While only three could be winners in the end, the results certainly bear out the view that this truly home-grown and excellent spirit has a bright and positive future," she added.
Entries for the South African Brandy Innovation Challenge were evaluated by a panel of six independent judges whose focus was on innovation and the expansion of markets to new consumers. From the total of 40 entries received, a top 10 were selected through a rigorous whittling process.
A pitching den was then set up where entrants had four minutes to share their innovative idea with the panel. They then had to answer questions from the panel and the top three were chosen.