Weekend with CEO: Brennan's meditation baths and cooking ritual


In Mario Puzo’s ‘The Godfather’ (book), Don Corleone always wants to know whether his target is a ‘Sicilian’. What he means is: is he afraid of losing everything? Don knows there is not much he can do against a fearless opponent.

Brennan seems to fashion his life under the maxim of the Italian scudetto. The founder of Procera Gin (which focuses on the high-end market and produces 100 bottles a day for the local and international market) despite wanting to maximise his sales will still tell you to take it easy on Friday night.

He wants you to enjoy the whole weekend, not just part of it. Get too close to him, and you can pick up that whiff of adventure, that freshly inculcated and deliberately nurtured spirit of Gioia di Vivere.

He loves living, and he loves living well; the passion in him burns as hot as the sun down in Sicily at this time of the year, but his weekends are fuller because his decision-making is colder than a granita on a baking summer’s day.

The only glitch is he hates losing a day on the weekend.

Are you back at the gym?

I am a swimming guy. As an Australian, I guess that’s just in my blood. My wife and I live a few minutes from Le Mac, a commercial and residential property.

It's got a swimming pool on the 25th floor, which while swimming, you can catch the sun drowning over a gorgeous sunset of Nairobi. I also like rugby which I play with my friends every Wednesday, but swimming is my meditation. It’s my calm place.

What’s your ideal weekend like?

We get up on Saturday morning and what we love to do is go for a walk at Karura Forest with my wife. It clears the mind, and it’s such a beautiful place in Nairobi.

We’ll then have a lovely lunch in one of Nairobi’s must-go restaurants, ideally in the garden. Later, we head off for a game drive, preferably sipping on some Procera gin and tonic.


What’s a memorable Sunday?

Since we travel a lot, the only time my mind turns off is when I am cooking. Cutting vegetables and not mixing spices does that you.

Our favourite Sunday is what I call the Sicilian Sunday lunch. We set up a big table with 10 invited guests, sort of like those Italian Sundays with lots of bottles of wine.

Everyone brings something; everyone’s chatting and laughing. Perfetto. Have I told you about our Sunday family breakfast? No, not yet. Well, smoked salmon on bagels and red onions. That’s our ritual.

Early riser or lie-in?

I get up at 630am. I do 20-minute meditation and a bit of stretching.

What is the one thing you wish you could do better?

Read more books. It would be nice to sit in the backyard and just sit and read and have nothing to do.

What are you reading?

A book by the Dalai Lama. It is called Ancient Wisdom, Modern World; Ethics for the new Millennium.

Are you a sweatpants guy, shorts, or nothing at all?

We are pretty casual. Because of Nairobi’s great climate, shorts and tees anytime. But our favourite thing is that we have an actual bathtub in our backyard; I’ll send you a photo. [which he did].

Normally, I’ll have meditation baths in the morning and evening…you guess what I am wearing then. [chuckles]

Do you work over the weekend?

Yes, but slightly. It’s mostly events where we are doing tastings or food and gin pairings.

Netflix or nature?

Absolutely nature. I can’t remember the last time I watched Netflix. I don’t even have a TV in our house. Read a book. Further yourself.

What’s a treat you love to do?

We love going to Kilifi and spending quality time together. We bought a little bit of land which we are developing. Our happy place is swimming in those Kilifi creeks.

What time do you go to bed?

I am a creature of habit. Up at 630am, out at 1030pm.

What is the last thing you do before the lights go out?

I like to read a chapter of a book for 10 or 15 minutes. It helps to get thoughts out of my mind.

Give me a weekend hack that not many people know.

[chuckles] Uh, that’s a tough one. Make me make my weekends better. [chuckles]. Oh. It sounds a bit cliché but smoked salmon bagels on Sunday mornings are the best way to start your day. [laughs] But my ultimate pro tip: take it a little easy on Friday so you get to enjoy the full weekend. The weekends become more restful rather than getting to Monday and you are like oh no, I need a break!

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.