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Producers of ‘Little Biddy’ unveil plans for expansion

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Reefton Distilling Co. producers of ‘Little Biddy’ New Zealand’s fastest growing gin brand unveil plans for expansion.

Just fifteen months on from opening, Reefton Distilling Co., the producers of Little Biddy Gin, unveil their plans for expansion as they prepare to meet growing demand and maximise opportunities.

Reefton Distilling Co. is experiencing insatiable demand for their products, all of which scooped silver and/or bronze medals within six months of opening the doors (at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the inaugural New Zealand Spirits Awards).

With their retail customers regularly advising that they are their number one NZ gin brand and that Little Biddy Gin simply flies off the shelves, it seems that Reefton Distilling Co. have achieved yet another goal ‘to be the No. 1 New Zealand craft gin in the $80+ category’.

Sound counsel and unwavering support

This has been an exceptional start for founder Patsy Bass, who knew that to get her idea off the ground she would need sound counsel. Her first thought was to phone a dear friend and now shareholder Sir David Levene to see if he might be willing to provide feedback on the Reefton Distilling Co. business case.

With a relationship that goes back over twenty years, since they were both involved at Outward Bound New Zealand, Patsy knew that Sir David would be the perfect business mentor, ask the right questions and be direct with his advice.

Sir David and his team have been unwavering in their support of Patsy and Reefton Distilling Co. and continue to be instrumental in their success.

Other shareholders also share the same steadfast belief in the business, for many it’s the ethos and culture of the company and its part in creating jobs and helping to revitalise a regional town that is the drawcard.

A growing demand for artisanal and boutique products

That belief has not been misplaced, this is a company who knows what it is doing and where it is going.

The growth in gin sales, particularly craft gin, has been strong in New Zealand - up over 30% in the last year-REF1., with a growing demand for artisanal and boutique products.

The provenance and story behind Reefton Distilling Co.’s pure water sources and unique, fresh West Coast botanicals play a large part in positioning their brands. Freshwater springs provide pure water sources used in their products, and botanicals are foraged fresh from the rainforest immediately prior to distillation. These native botanicals are rinsed and vapour infused in the still (rather than distilled individually and blended), which is a truly artisan method requiring their distillers to constantly monitor and adjust for seasonal variations.

One of the few grain to glass distilleries in New Zealand, Reefton Distilling Co. make their own neutral spirit. Although this process is time consuming, it is proving particularly popular in the ultra-premium market.

Due diligence on larger premises nearing completion

Reefton Distilling Co.’s Managing Director, Patsy Bass, believes that the time is now right for the business to move to the next stage. "Little Biddy Gin is already widely available throughout New Zealand and discussions have commenced with premium distributors in several export markets." She added "However, we need larger premises to meet demand and maximise the opportunities open to us."

The business has quickly outgrown their current space and now has new premises under contract, with due diligence nearing completion. This new site will allow Reefton Distilling Co. to fulfil their plans as they work towards the creation of a range of innovative new products, including the production of their much-awaited Moonlight Creek Whisky.

The new facility will meet the immediate and longer-term needs of future growth including a brewhouse where they can more cost effectively produce their neutral spirit. In time they will use West Coast Manuka smoked Distiller's Malt to create one of their Moonlight Creek Whisky products.

This larger site will also allow for supplementary infrastructure such as a mechanical bottling plant, bonded stores to house products during maturation, and additional complimentary initiatives that are expected to create further employment in the town over time.

Securing a future for Reefton

Reefton Distilling Co. has been an active participant in the revival of Reefton and the West Coast. Their small batch premium distilled spirits are made on site in an historic building in the heart of Reefton. From here the company offers a range of tours and tastings, allowing visitors to share in the rich history behind the crafting of their uniquely New Zealand products. The visitor book is already filled with accolades from travellers from all over the globe, with their online presence sharing their story farther afield.

Visitor numbers to the town continue to grow and Reefton Distilling Co.’s purpose remains to produce premium New Zealand spirits and fruit liqueurs in Reefton, to create jobs and provide a tourist attraction. Whilst production will move to new premises within wider Reefton, the company will retain a cellar door and retail shop in the town centre.

High Demand for product and share equity

With the company’s book value growing and a number of new products in development, Reefton Distilling Co. Managing Director Patsy Bass today announced that "following the closure of our pre-emptive share offer to existing shareholders pre-Christmas, we can now provide others with the opportunity to invest".

Having successfully raised the upper end of the maximum capital requirement (1.385M) through their Snowball Effect Investment Offer in March 2018, Reefton Distilling Co. is currently preparing to raise up to 3.5M in capital from both private and wholesale investors via Snowball Effect’s online platform.

This offer will see Reefton Distilling Co. raise capital to; purchase land and buildings, expand their production capacity, employ additional staff and continue their investment in branding, sales and marketing to support growth.

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