Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Successful capital raise for Reefton Distilling Co.

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

West Coast start up Reefton Distilling Co. is gearing up to produce premium quality spirits from the middle of the year after a successful capital raise through their crowdfunding equity offer.

Co-founders and Directors Patsy Bass and Sean Whitaker said that they were "absolutely thrilled", by the optimism and support from their investors, many of whom are a part of the local West Coast Community. They went on to announce that as at 10pm (NZST) on Sunday 4th February, the Equity Offer had raised over $1,125,000.

The minimum target required for a successful raise to enable the business to open and begin production, was $1,050,000.00. Having raised this amount, the company has elected to continue to keep the offer open for up to a further three weeks until 26th February 2018 with a view to raising the maximum amount of $1,500,000.00.

Funds from the capital raise will be used for the fit out of the distillery, equipment, staff, and working capital. Patsy Bass noted that "we expect that we will need to raise additional capital to scale up operations further after the first 12-18 months of production".

Cellar door and craft distillery

The company disclosed that they have secured premises for their operation right in the heart of Reefton. The cellar door and craft distillery will be located on Broadway, Reefton’s main street, in the former Department of Conservation Building, a high-profile site which is also home to Reefton’s Visitor Information Centre.

From here the company plan to offer a premium cellar door, retail outlet and tasting lounge where customers can sample and purchase spirits and buy merchandise. The space will also feature a display of historic whisky jugs and will tell the vision and story around the distillery.

Creating new employment opportunities for the West Coast

Patsy, who was born in Reefton and lived on the site of the former Westland Brewery, advised that the company has already received keen interest from prospective employees. She went on to comment, "we are looking to create six new jobs for the West Coast in our first year of operation, including our core team which is made up of operational roles for Sean, as Head Distiller, and myself as General Manager."

Patsy added, "we will advertise other vacancies as they become available via our Facebook page, our website and in local papers". She then explained, "part of our ethos is to be able to create new employment opportunities for the West Coast and more openings will become available as we scale up."

First Spirits

When asked when they expected to produce their first batch of spirits, Head Distiller, Sean advised that, "we have already completed a lot of the groundwork and our stills will be installed between now and May with production of our first batch of spirits underway in mid-2018. Our first offering will include a premium range of gin and liqueurs which will be available from 2018."

Of course, many are interested in the production of the first Whisky and Sean went on to add "our first whisky will be "out of the barrel" in 2021. We’ll have both scotch and bourbon styles on offer."

Sean advised how each batch of spirits will be individually labelled to enable customers to trace the provenance of every ingredient from the water, to the grain, to the aromatics, botanicals, and the barrels.

"Given our ability to produce unique and traceable batches of spirit, we will offer customers a tailored spirit service for a minimum order of 70 finished bottles. We will also offer Bourbon and Whisky customers the option to purchase their own barrel of spirits and store it for them until they deem it mature enough to bottle."

Local businessman and Reefton Distilling Co. shareholder Ross (Rosco) Moore has purchased the first shareholder’s private cask of Moonlight Creek whisky. The empty cask was delivered to the town for Rosco’s school reunion last weekend and signed by attendees. It will be filled mid-year before being stored in the distillery until he’s ready for it to be bottled. "We expect a high attendance rate at the next reunion" Patsy quipped.

The Brands

Make no mistake, Reefton Distilling Co. have not only put a huge amount of thought and effort into the production of their premium spirits, they are very focussed on creating their brand and marketing their products.

Sean said, "our premium products will be complemented by a world class brand which draws on the purity and ruggedness of the West Coast region".

Taking their inspiration from local characters, their "Moonlight Creek" Whisky range takes its name from George Fairweather Moonlight - a legendary gold prospector.

"Little Biddy" premium Gin - pays homage to Bridget Goodwin, also known as "Little Biddy" or "Biddy of the Buller", 1813-1899. Bridget Goodwin, defined the word 'rebel', a well-known whisky drinking, smoking, 4ft tall, female gold prospector.

Optimism, enthusiasm, and a can-do attitude!

To those familiar with the history of the West Coast, the story of Reefton Distilling Co. has a strong connection to that of the Pioneers of old; it has all the enthusiasm of the gold rush, the dogged determination of those early pioneers like George Fairweather Moonlight and the foresight of the Reefton population of the late 1880’s.

It was these local Reefton visionaries - who after witnessing a demonstration of electric light at Dawson’s Hotel, by young engineer Walter Prince - went on to take a chance on the young man’s scheme of piped electricity for the town. In an example of an early crowdfunding exercise, they raised the capital, formed a company and made history - as in 1888 Reefton became the first place in the Southern Hemisphere to have a public supply of electricity.

Commenting on this Patsy Bass said, "so as you can see, there is something about the spirit of the Coast and its people, they have always had belief in themselves, a can-do attitude and they are not afraid to get behind a new idea. Reefton was an entrepreneurial and prosperous place in its early days, and we in turn plan to add the success story of Reefton Distilling Co. to the history books"

All articles and comments on have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.