Otago Daily Times

Reefton spirits firm looks to raise $3.5m


REEFTON: 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 whisky, once it moves into a new distillery later this year.

The company will launch its capitalrai­sing on online investment marketplac­e Snowball Effect in coming weeks, seeking funds in return for about 30% of the company. It seeks at least $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 $3.5 million and a minimum of $2 million.

Ms Bass, who is managing director, told The New Zealand Herald the company had received more than 400 expression­s of interest to invest.

The company got off the ground in October 2018 after raising $1.38 million.

Capital raised this time around will be used to scale the business.

It would provide a larger production facility, the fittingout and working capital, Ms Bass said.

‘‘It will [allow] us to take the opportunit­ies in front of us, and to look at export. We are growing exponentia­lly, and that's without export. We've had huge demand.’’

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 but hopes to relocate production to a ‘‘significan­tly bigger’’ property. It will retain the current property, in Reefton township, as a cellar door.

‘‘We're looking at securing our own facility that has got potential for our longterm home, especially once we're producing our whisky.’’

This year the company would focus on ‘‘settling into the new premises’’, developing its whisky and exporting its first product, she said. It had its eye on Australia, Britain and Ireland.

New Zealand's gin market is booming. Domestic sales were up more than 30% in the past year, driven by artisanal, higherend product and gin being considered trendy. — The New Zealand Herald

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