The country's newest alcoholic drinks firm hopes to grow annual revenue beyond $2 million within the next 12 months, tapping into the growing low and no alcohol drinks market.
Alcoholic sparkling water manufacturer Native Sparkling began in June, and so far has raised $200,000 as part of its series A equity raise to stoke growth.
The Wellington-based social enterprise, which donates 10 per cent of its profits to organisations dedicated to New Zealand conservation, hopes to raise a minimum of $500,000 from a number of high net wealth individuals.
Company co-founder Guy Hobson was unable to name its ideal investors, but said it had received interest from certain wealthy individuals.
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Native Sparkling plans to use raised capital to promote its conservation efforts with Squawk Squad and Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre through a nationwide marketing campaign. It also wants to increase stockists, Hobson said.
A look at New Zealand's conservation efforts was the push Hobson, 27, his brother Matt and university friends Luke McBride and Andrew Courtney needed to think up a business concept that they could run and donate proceeds from.
"What we were conceptualising at one stage was not actually an alcoholic drink but looking at something that was millennial-focused and something that was trending overseas, and bringing that to New Zealand," Hobson told the Herald.
"We started to look at the stats around environmental conservation. We worked out that there were only one in 10 adults that actively helped conservation projects last year, and that hasn't improved since 2014.
"We started to see a big disconnect between people enjoying their environment but actually doing something about it to support it. Where Native was essentially born was that we saw statistics that eight out of 10 adults consumed alcohol on a regular basis."
Native Sparkling claims to be the first ready-to-drink (RTD) New Zealand drinks company to be labelled "hard sparkling".
Hard sparkling or "hard seltzer" - carbonated alcoholic beverages - are blowing up in popularity in the United States due to the belief that they are healthier than traditional RTDs. These drinks are typically distilled with sugar cane as an alcohol base instead of malted barley resulting in lower sugar and carbohydrates contents.
Hobson said the founders settled on a hard seltzer drink for the business as it was inline with the changing consumption trends towards zero and low-alcohol products and millennials now choosing to drink less.
"Millennials aren't looking to get written off every Friday and Saturday, and that's where we start to come in ."
Native Sparkling's fruit-flavoured drinks are sold in 160 stockists across the country, most in the lower North Island. It also sells by the keg and is on tap in about 60 restaurants and bars in Wellington and Auckland.
It has donated $2000 to various conservation causes in the past six months and also sponsors "socially-minded" band Dolphin Friendly.
The company wants to expand into Asia "using Kiwi-centric flavours and branding", and replicate the commercial success of Canadian hard seltzer brand White Claw.
"We want to see the brand grow, and have recognition as a brand that has a genuine impact to conserve the native species in New Zealand," Hobson said.
He said he believed there was ample opportunity in the global RTD drinks market, estimated to be worth over US$200 million. "We're hoping to grow into a $2 million [revenue] company in the next 12 months and then beyond that with exporting opportunities we want to become a Garage Project situation but in the RTD space.
"Based off of what some of the other [companies] have done in two years - without having a social presence - it is realistic."