New Zealand's largest independent, dedicated cider producer, Hastings-based Zeffer Cider Co, has now raised about $3.6 million in just over a year as it continues local and international expansion plans.

After last year successfully raising $1.2m in a first capital funding round, the company has now surpassed its latest goal and raised another total of $2.4m - $600,000 more than it had originally targeted.

"This round of capital raise is significant for our business and allows us to grow our footprint in the Chinese market, continue to drive growth within the local cider market, and to propel Zeffer towards becoming a $10m+ revenue company from 2021," chief operating officer and chief financial officer Greg Small said.

"We are also excited about opening our cider-door and taproom in October this year, allowing us to showcase our products to the local Hawke's Bay community and visitors to the region.

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"I expect the team at our Fernhill cidery to grow from eight currently, to 10 for this summer and up to 14 over the next two years. Alongside this, we are currently recruiting for a tap room manager to oversee our new on-site offering."

Zeffer Cidery, Fernhill, SH50. 2 July 2018. NEWS Business. Photograph Warren Buckland Hawke's Bay Today.
Zeffer Cidery, Fernhill, SH50. 2 July 2018. NEWS Business. Photograph Warren Buckland Hawke's Bay Today.

The latest capital raise, which was Zeffer's second successful capital raise through online platform Snowball Effect, marks a landmark point for a company that started nine years ago selling bottled cider at the Matakana Farmers Market.

Speaking from China, Zeffer chief executive Josh Townsend said the capital raise was critical for company's next steps.

Ultimately, the company's strategy was based on "four key growth pillars", he said.

Part of that entailed driving domestic growth and gaining a larger share of New Zealand's high-end cider market.

"We want to do this by working with and supporting key retailers to develop the premium end of the cider market."

The new funds would also help execute the company's focused export strategy.

"We have over 200 accounts currently pouring Zeffer in China and we want to grow our footprint in this market through a focused sales approach. We have recently recruited a Greater China sales manager to drive our team in market and I am over in China with him now working on our strategy."

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The company also aims to develop the contract manufacturing arm of the business at the former Crossroads winery site, which could be used to develop and manufacture products for other beverage makers.

"In October this year we are launching our Zeffer Bar and Tap room on site so consumers can experience and sample Zeffer at the place it is made. We are excited to finally be able to open our doors to the Hawke's Bay public and visitors to the region.

"We have received overwhelming support from both our existing and new shareholders, who we are excited to welcome into the Zeffer family. They've joined us at a really significant time in terms of our growth trajectory."