The Ladismith Story
A Town Is Born
Ladismith was formally founded in 1851, when a large portion of the farm Elandsvallei was purchased, subdivided and developed. It was named after Lady Juana Smith, the Spanish born wife of the then Governor of the Cape, Sir Harry Smith. It was later renamed Ladismith in 1879 to avoid confusion with Ladysmith town already established in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.
The Ostrich Feather Crash
Over the years, the town experienced the ups and downs of agricultural roulette, with much of its fruit and vegetable crops being uprooted to farm Ostriches, during the height of the global feather craze. While this brought riches to the town for a number of years, when the market for Ostrich feathers finally crashed, so too did the economy and prosperity of Ladismith.
In order to address the economic troubles of the town, The Ladismith Co-operative Winery was formed in 1939 as a means to service the distilling needs of surrounding farms, with dwindling resources. This brandy was then sold on for further distillation and sale by the brandy authorities. At its height, the co-operative reached upwards of 150 members, and included a cheese farm.
The town reverted to its traditional strengths of grape growing, wine making and brandy distillation, to help drive its dwindling economy forward in the toughest of economic times. The distillery still exists today and continues to do what it always has, produce the highest quality Cape Brandy.