West Coast spirits company Reefton Distilling Co is seeking to raise $3.5 million to fund its move into a bigger production facility to increase its manufacturing capacity and support its expansion overseas.
The South Island company, founded by Reefton local Patsy Bass about 15 months ago, produces gin, vodka and liqueurs. It is gearing up to produce a single malt whiskey, once it moves into a new distillery later this year.
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Reefton Distilling Co is gearing up to launch its capital raise round on online investment marketplace Snowball Effect in coming weeks, seeking funds in return for about 30 per cent of the company on offer. It seeks a minimum investment of $5000 per investor.
The company, whose sales for the current financial year are on track to deliver more than $1.3 million in revenue, is seeking a total of $3.5m, and a minimum of $2m.
Bass, who is managing director, told the Herald the company had received more than 400 expressions of interest to invest.
The company initially got off the ground in October 2018 following an earlier raise of $1.38m.
Capital raised this time around will be used to scale the business. It would be spent on buying a larger production facility, the fit out and working capital, Bass said.
"It will [allow] us to take the opportunities in front of us, and to look at export," she said.
"We are growing exponentially, and that's without export. We've had huge demand."
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Reefton Distilling Co produces four gin products, a vodka and two fruit liqueurs, made out of botanicals and fruits sourced from the South Island.
The company leases the 200sq m building it is in currently, but hopes to relocate production to a "significantly bigger" property. It will keep leasing the current property in Reefton township as a cellar door. "We're looking at securing our own facility, that has got potential for our long-term home, especially once we're producing our whiskey."
This year the company would be focused on "settling into the new premises", getting its whiskey developed and exporting its first product overseas, Bass said.
It has its eye on export to Australia, Britain and Ireland.
"We would struggle to meet the volumes that have [been] indicated to us from our current premises so we really need to increase our capacity."
New Zealand's gin market is booming, with domestic sales up more than 30 per cent in the last year, driven by artisanal, higher-end product and gin being considered trendy.
Little Biddy Gin, which targets the "affluent baby boomer generation and their adult children of drinking age", has been flying off the shelves this year. Bass said its product was considered the country's fastest growing gin.
"We couldn't have imagined how well it was going to go. It feels like New Zealand has taken this business and Little Biddy Gin to heart."